While this film has some beautiful moments - mostly in the Polish community of the small Pennsylvania town - it is a vastly overrated melodrama. No one involved in the film had any experience in the Vietnam War, so there are patent misrepresentations - the bamboo cage torture, for instance, and the Russian roulette game. And it hinges on a pseudo-spiritual, but actually hoked-up notion about "one clean shot" that means . . . well, nothing. (There is also a scene in which all the Asians seem to be a mindless, hysterical mass - something sensitive viewers will find offensive.) It's sad that such talented performers gave their all to such a study in Wagnerian overkill, but their efforts don't come anywhere near redeeming the film.
Come on Hound! This is a fabulously funny, then poignantly tragic (but not without a final smile) piece of work. Pacino is incredible and acting completely out of character, and Hackman does his Hackman thing better than anywhere else. Studio politics kept this from being distributed properly, and that's one of the untold tragedies of Hollywood. Pacino and Hackman are as good as Redford and Newman - better in certain respects. Four bones plus a kibble treat.