Spike Lee's new Netflix movie Da 5 Bloods follows four Black veterans of the Vietnam War and one of their sons as they go back to the country almost 50 years after they fought there to recover the remains of their fallen squad leader, as well as a trove of gold they "repossessed" from a crashed CIA plane and stashed in the jungle. It's a wild ride that feels like three movies in one. It's a war epic, a heist thriller, and a polemical, historical meditation about Black American soldiers in Vietnam, fighting a war they had no stake in for a country that would continue to treat them with racism and neglect when they got home.
If you enjoyed Da 5 Bloods and are looking for something similar to watch, you have a lot of options, because there are so many different parts of the movie to choose from. This eclectic list features seven movies that thematically connect with all the different parts of Da 5 Bloods.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video (rent or purchase)
Released 25 years before Da 5 Bloods, this visually impressive, gruesomely violent thriller from the Hughes brothers features a heist and something to say about Black soldiers who fight for a country that doesn't give them what they're owed. Larenz Tate stars as Anthony, a Marine who serves several tours in Vietnam and is unable to provide for his family when he comes back, so he and some friends decide to rob an armored car in the Bronx.
Where to watch: Pluto TV
Thematically, this 1990 psychological horror thriller isn't super similar to Da 5 Bloods, but it's a Vietnam movie with a surreal, almost psychedelic style that's more like Da 5 Bloods in that respect than any other movie on this list. Tim Robbins stars as Jacob, a Vietnam veteran who's suffering from horrifying visions that might not be hallucinations -- they might be memories. The movie grapples with PTSD and the effects of the Army's destructive regimen of prescription drug distribution to soldiers, and is also extremely scary.
Where to watch: Cinemax
Spike Lee's other war joint covers similar thematic territory as Da 5 Bloods, but in a different conflict. This 2009 movie is about Black soldiers from the 92nd Infantry Division serving in Italy in World War II, fighting on behalf of a country that treats them as second-class citizens. Like Da 5 Bloods -- and a lot of Spike Lee's movies, including good ones -- it's kind of an overstuffed mess. It's not as good as Da 5 Bloods, but it's not as bad as its flop reputation suggests, and would make for a good 5-hour double bill with Da 5 Bloods.
Where to watch: Starz
No, not that Walking Dead. This Walking Dead came out in 1995, stars Allen Payne, Eddie Griffin, and Joe Morton, and tells a story about a strike team of Black Marines who are sent on a mission to rescue POWs from a Viet Cong camp. It was marketed as telling "The Black Experience in Vietnam." It's not as good a movie as the others on this list, but it features a very good original song by the rapper Scarface, "Among the Walking Dead," that's directly inspired by the movie.
Where to watch: Netflix
Da 5 Bloods isn't Netflix's first movie about veterans who don't feel like they got what they were owed going into the jungle to pull off a heist. No, that distinction goes to last year's Triple Frontier, in which Ben Affleck leads a crew of retired operators into the Amazon jungle to rip off a drug lord. On the one hand, Redfly and the boys have a point about how America let them down. On the other hand, they're very greedy!
Where to watch: HBO Max
The famous "We don't need no stinking badges" line is quoted in Da 5 Bloods, but "I know what gold does to men's souls" is the line that connects the movies spiritually. This 1948 classic stars Humphrey Bogart as Fred Dobbs, a down-on-his-luck American who leads a trio of prospectors into the Mexican wilderness and goes insane from greed and paranoia, destroying his soul in the process. Da 5 Bloods and Triple Frontier are both riffs on this legendary film.
Where to watch: HBO Max
There's not much to say about Francis Ford Coppola's epochal Vietnam movie that hasn't already been said, but it's another acknowledged primary influence on Da 5 Bloods. Paul (Delroy Lindo) is a lot like Fred Dobbs, but he's also like Col. Kurtz (Marlon Brando), lost forever in his own heart of darkness, and Desroche (Jean Reno) is like a distillation of the long interlude with the French colonists in the Redux version.
Da 5 Bloods is available to stream on Netflix.