Set in Virginia in 1968, Gardens of Stone stars James Caan as Sgt Clell Hazard – a decorated combat veteran whose ambivalence towards the war in Vietnam (“It’s not even a war. There’s nothing to win and no way to win it”) and the military is combined with a romantic interest in savvy anti-war journalist Samantha Davis (Anjelica Huston).
Hazard is assigned to Fort Myer where his elite unit – the “Old Guard” – conducts military burials at Arlington National Cemetery.
He takes brash new recruit Jackie Willow (D B Sweeney) under his wing but the idealistic young soldier remains determined to serve his country in Vietnam, even as more and more flag-draped coffins arrive from the battlefront.
Against a backdrop of protest, uncertainty and violence, the war at home and the war abroad intersect with uncomfortable consequences.
The film was marred by the tragic death of director Francis Ford Coppola’s son, Giancarlo, in a boating accident during production.
Sgt Clell Hazard
Sgt Major “Goody” Nelson
James Earl Jones
Private Jackie Willow
D B Sweeney
Capt Homer Thomas
Mary Stuart Masterson
Sgt Slasher Williams
Dick Anthony Williams
Francis Ford Coppola