HomeEntertainmentSam Elliott Tells Why He ‘Always Felt Guilty’ About Not Fighting in Vietnam War

Sam Elliott Tells Why He ‘Always Felt Guilty’ About Not Fighting in Vietnam War

by Allison Hambrick
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 04: Sam Elliot attends the 91st Oscars Nominees Luncheon at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 04, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

Actor Sam Elliot is opening up about his lingering guilt over not serving in the military during the Vietnam War. In an interview on the Wtf with Marc Maron podcast, he discussed both the Vietnam War and his criticism for one major Oscar contender.

At a Glance

  • Sam Elliot said he regrets not serving in Vietnam.
  • He was a member of the National Guard.
  • A veteran told him not to feel guilty, saying he’d have done the same.
  • Elliot has choice words about one popular western.

Sam Elliot Talks Visiting Vietnam War Memorial

According to Elliot, he opted out of enlisting after seeing the vitriol the public held for soldiers at that time.

“Those guys that signed up because they felt a call to duty … and then they came home and got spit on and all that s—, that put me off from it,” the 1883 star explained. “But I always felt guilty about it, and then I got an opportunity to do a movie called ‘We Were Soldiers.’ I played a guy who served in four different military conflicts … and then I got an opportunity to go see the [Vietnam wall memorial] on the fourth of July.”

While visiting a Vietnam War memorial, Elliot had a chance encounter with a veteran.

“I’ve always felt guilty about the fact that I didn’t f—— go,” he continued. “I got into the National Guard, and I was one of the lucky ones. [At the memorial,] this guy in a wheelchair rolls over and he goes, ‘Hey Elliott, get over it, man. If I could’ve gotten into the National Guard, I’d have f—— been there, pal. Get over it.’ And I did. I did. But it took a guy in a wheelchair to tell me that it was okay.”

Elliot then added: “My mom said, ‘Please don’t [enlist to fight in Vietnam].’ This was in ‘67.”

Sam Elliot Roasts Power of the Dog, Fires Up Fans

Additionally, Elliot expressed his displeasure for Oscar-contender Power of the Dog. Being a legendary Western actor in his own right, Elliott was not a fan at all of what he was seeing from the Netflix film.

“I thought, ‘What the f—? What the f—?’ This is the guy that’s done westerns forever,” Elliott said. “[The cowboys] are all running around in chaps and no shirts. There’s all these allusions to homosexuality throughout the f—ing movie.”

Elliot also discussed how he felt director Jane Campion was a bad match for the western genre. He explained: “What the f— does this woman from down there, New Zealand, know about the American west? And why in the f— does she shoot this movie in New Zealand and call it Montana and say, ‘This is the way it is.’ That f—ing rubbed me the wrong way, pal.”