Vietnam War Films

"In war more than anywhere else in the world
things happen differently from what we had expected,
and look differently when near from what they did at a distance."
--Karl von Clausewitz

Air America
A traffic helicopter pilot is enlisted to work for Air America, a CIA airline flying contraband into Laos during the Vietnam War. While there, he learns that they are also shipping opium out of the country for the local drug lords. One of the few comedies about the war. Writers: John Eskow and Richard Rush, from Christopher Robbins' book. Stars: Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr.
Video - DVD

American Commandos
A group of Vietnam veterans are sent to the Golden Triangle as a special narcotics team. Writers: Ken Metcalf and Bobby A. Suarez. Stars: Christopher Mitchum and John Phillip Law.
Video - DVD

The Anderson Platoon
French documentarian Pierre Schoendorffer served as a combat soldier in Vietnam in the 1950s during France's quagmire. In the fall of 1966, he returned with a cameraman and spent six weeks with an American infantry platoon. This film, which won a 1968 Best Foreign Documentary Oscar, is stark and riveting. Commanded by a West Point graduate, Lieutenant Joseph Anderson, the 33-man platoon Schoendorffer traveled with was a cross-section of America.

Apocalypse Now (1979)
An American military assassin journeys up river into Cambodia on an assignment to find and kill an American colonel who has gone beyond the limits of the military's code of warfare. Considered by many to be the quintessential anti-war movie. Based on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Writers: John Milius, Francis Ford Coppola, and Michael Herr. Stars: Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, and Marlon Brando.
Video - DVD

"Apocalypse Now" Screenplay
The complete script online.

Bat 21
Starring: Gene Hackman, Danny Glover.
Gene Hackman is a fighter pilot in Vietnam. When he gets shot down behind enemy lines, he manages to hang on to his radio--and maintains contact with Danny Glover, back at the base. Hackman must rely on his own instincts--and the long-distance assistance of Glover--to work his way back to his own territory.
Video - DVD

Based on William Wharton's transcendent novel of the same name, this film is about many things: friendship, war, and, of course, birds. The framing device is an effort by a horribly scarred combat soldier (Nicolas Cage) to break through to his best friend, Birdy (Matthew Modine), hospitalized after seemingly being driven mad by fighting in the Vietnam War.
Video - DVD

Bob Hope - The Vietnam Years (1964-1972)
Always at the top of his game on the road, his devotion endured through the sixties and seventies, when American Troops were deployed to Vietnam. This 3-disc set captures Hope’s most memorable moments as he performed for the troops from 1964 - 1972.

Born on the Fourth of July
Powerful and realistic story of Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic, who joined the Marines as a gung-ho recruit and came back home paralyzed. He then endured an ordeal of physical and mental rehabilitation before becoming an antiwar activist. Writers: Oliver Stone and Ron Kovik, from the memoir by Ron Kovik. Stars: Tom Cruise, Willem Dafoe, Caroline Kava, and Raymond J. Barry.
Video - DVD

A Bright Shining Lie
Based on Neil Sheehan's controversial book about the making of the Vietnam war, this HBO production is told from the perspective of Lt. Colonel John Paul Vann (Bill Paxton), one of the original military advisers sent in 1962 to prop up the fledgling South Vietnamese army against the Viet Cong.
Video - DVD

Bullet in the Head
In 1967, on the way to the wedding of a friend a young man is accosted by a local gang member. Later, the three friends administer justice, in the process of which the gang member is killed, so they leave Hong Kong to avoid the police and the gang. They run black market supplies to Saigon and get embroiled in the war, being arrested as Viet Cong, then later captured by the Viet Cong, and find that their friendship is tested to the limits as they try to escape.
Video - DVD

Casualties of War
A soldier watches helplessly as his squad kidnaps and rapes a Vietnamese girl; later he manages to bring the squad to justice. Writers: David Rabe, from a New Yorker article by Daniel Lang. Stars: Michael J. Fox and Sean Penn.
Video - DVD

Cease Fire
Writer: George Fernandez from his play "Vietnam Trilogy." Stars: Don Johnson and Lisa Blount. A veteran is still disturbed by his war experience fifteen years later, but he refuses to admit he has a problem until another veteran commits suicide.

Coming Home
While her Marine captain husband is in Vietnam, a woman volunteers at a V.A. hospital and becomes emotionally and intimately involved with one of the patients. Her husband comes home, disillusioned by the war, and tries to cope with his wife's infidelity. Writers: Waldo Salt and Robert C. Jones, from a story by Nancy Dowd. Stars: Jane Fonda, Jon Voight, and Bruce Dern.
Video - DVD

The Cu Chi Tunnels
During the war in Vietnam, thousands of people in the Vietnamese province of Cu Chi lived in an elaborate system of underground tunnels. Originally built in the time of the French colonial occupation, the tunnels were enlarged during the American presence.

A young man killed in Vietnam unexplainedly returns home as a zombie.

Dear America - Letters Home from Vietnam
This classic HBO documentary features reenactments of actual letters written by soldiers during the Vietnam war. In each case, a famous celebrity voice (Martin Sheen, Michael J. Fox, Robin Williams, and others) reads the letters to us.
Video - DVD

The Deer Hunter
Three patriotic steel workers go to Vietnam and find that the experience alters their sense of self and community. One of the first and still most controversial major films about the war. Stars: Robert De Niro, John Cazale, John Savage, Christopher Walken, and Meryl Streep.
Video - DVD

"The Deer Hunter" Screenplay
The complete script online.

Distant Thunder
A Vietnam veteran who has been hiding with other vets in the mountains comes out when a friend commits suicide. He tries to join society by taking a job and getting to know the son he never knew. Writer: Robert Stitzel. Stars: John Lithgow, Ralph Macchio, and Kerrie Keane.
Video - DVD

Eastern Condors
An action film about a daring commando raid into Vietnam to destroy a munitions dump left behind by American marines.
Video - DVD

84 Charlie Mopic
For training purposes, a camera is taken on a "routine" patrol in Vietnam.
Video - DVD

"84 Charlie MoPic" Screenplay
The complete script online.

Entertaining Vietnam
Many of the entertainers who toured the Vietnam war were well known...but not all.

First Blood
A narrow-minded sheriff harasses a drifter without realizing that he is a Green Beret who has been shoved around by everybody since his return from the Vietnam War. The vet, John Rambo, resolves to fight back this time and demolishes the sheriff's town. Like John Wayne, Stallone never served in the military. Writers: Michael Kozoll, William Sackheim, and Sylvester Stallone, from the novel by David Morrell. Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, and Brian Dennehy.
Video - DVD

Flight of the Intruder
Pilots from an aircraft carrier off the coast of Vietnam resolve to bomb Hanoi and are shot down. Writers: Robert Dillon and David Shaber, from a novel by Stephen Coonts. Stars: Danny Glover, Willem Dafoe, Brad Johnson, and Rosanna Arquette.
Video - DVD

The Fog of War
Documentary about Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense in the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, who subsequently became president of the World Bank. The documentary will combine an interview with Mr. McNamara discussing some of the tragedies and glories of the 20th Century, archival footage, documents, and an original score by Philip Glass.
Video - DVD

For the Boys
Two USO entertainers tour the fronts in World War II, the Korean War, and finally Vietnam where the woman's only son is killed. Writers: Marshall Brickman, Neal Jimenez, and Lindy Laub. Stars: Bette Midler and James Caan.
Video - DVD

Four Friends
A telescopic view of the '60s.
Video - DVD

Full Metal Jacket
A group of soldiers develop dehumanized personalities in their training and it shows in their tour of duty in Vietnam. Directed by Stanley Kubrick.
Video - DVD

Gardens of Stone
A touching, insightful look at stateside military life during the Vietnam War.
Video - DVD

Go Tell the Spartans
Set in the early 60s. Lancaster is an advisory group commander who is starting to have his doubts about the war. He leads a group of experienced, disheartened soldiers to the defense of a useless, abandoned village that the French had once tried and failed to defend. Writer: Wendell Mayes, from Daniel Ford's novel, Incident at Muc Wa. Stars: Burt Lancaster and Craig Wasson.
Video - DVD

Good Morning, Vietnam
An Armed Forces radio disk jockey is a hit with the American soldiers and Vietnamese but antagonizes his superiors. Based on the life of Adrian Cronauer. Writers: Larry Brezner and Mitch Markowitz. Stars: Robin Williams, Forest Whitaker, and Tung Thanh Tran.
Video - DVD

The Green Berets
A Green Beret command defends a military outpost and kidnaps a Viet Cong leader. Typical hawkish John Wayne (who never served in the military) flick. Be sure to catch the final scene, when the sun sinks into the East. Writer: James Lee Barrett, from the novel by Robin Moore. Stars: John Wayne, David Janssen, and Aldo Ray.
Video - DVD

Hamburger Hill
Re-creation of the 1969 battle involving the 101st Airborne Division. Writer: Jim Carabatsos. Stars: Michael Dolan, Anthony Barrile, and Michael Patrick.
Video - DVD

The Hanoi Hilton
Stars: Michael Moriarty, Aki Aleong and Paul Le Mat. POWs persevere for years in Hanoi's notorious prison.
Video - DVD

Heaven and Earth
Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Joan Chen, Haing S. Ngor, and Hiep Thi Le. A Vietnamese girl suffers at the hands of the South Vietnamese, North Vietnamese, and Americans during the war. Eventually she marries an American soldier and comes to America, but discovers that there is no utopia here either.
Video - DVD

Hearts and Minds
A documentary of the conflicting attitudes of the opponents of the Vietnam war.
Video - DVD

In Country
From Bobbie Ann Mason's novel. Stars: Emily Lloyd, Bruce Willis, John Terry, and Joan Allen. A girl struggles to learn about her father who died in Vietnam before she was born and about the war he fought in.
Video - DVD

In the Year of the Pig
Produced at the height of the Vietnam War, Emile de Antonio’s Oscar®-nominated 1968 documentary chronicles the war’s historical roots. With palpable outrage, De Antonio (Point of Order, Underground) assembles period interviews with journalists, politicians, and key military personnel and international newsreel and archival footage to create a scathing chronicle of America’s escalating involvement in this divisive conflict. The savage and horrific images speak for themselves in perhaps the most controversial film of de Antonio’s career, and the film he cites as his personal favorite.
Video - DVD

In 1930s Indochina, a woman manages her rubber plantation but loses her French lover, a naval officer, to her adopted Indochinese daughter. The lush scenery is spectacular. Stars: Catherine Deneuve, Vincent Perez, and Jean Yanne.
Video - DVD

The Iron Triangle
From a diary found on a dead Vietnamese soldier. Stars: Beau Bridges, Haing S. Ngor, and Liem Whatley. An American officer is captured by a young Vietcong, but when a Hanoi Communist official tries to claim the prisoner, the Vietnamese soldier and the American learn to work together to survive.

A Vietnam vet reunites with a war buddy, who suffers from survivor's guilt, and encourages him to put the war behind him. Writer: Stephen Metcalfe, from his play Strange Snow. Stars: Robert De Niro, Ed Harris, and Kathy Baker.
Video - DVD

Jacob's Ladder
A veteran learns that he was a victim of military experiments while in Vietnam and that he might actually be dead. Writer: Bruce Joel Rubin. Stars: Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Pena, and Danny Aiello.
Video - DVD

The Long Road Home: Vietnam Revisited, 1969
The story, photographed and written by a young Army photographer in 1969, reveals the beauty of South Vietnam and captures the customs of its people.

The Lost Command
French soldiers fail courageously at Dien Bien Phu and go on to fight for a losing cause in Algeria. Writer: Nelson Gidding, from The Centurians by Jean Larteguy. Stars: Anthony Quinn, Alain Delon, and George Segal.
Video - DVD

The Lover
An adolescent French girl becomes the lover of a well-to-do Chinese man in 1920s Saigon, but their love is forbidden by the social order of the era. Filmed in Vietnam. Not really a war movie, but well worth watching just for the spectacular Vietnam scenes. Writers: Gerard Brach and Jean-Jacques Annaud, from the novel by Marguerite Duras. Stars: Jane March and Tony Leung.
Video - DVD

Missing in Action
A former POW returns to Vietnam to confirm that American prisoners still exist by rescuing some of them. Pure fantasy. Writer: James Bruner, from story by John Crowther and Lance Ho. Stars: Chuck Norris, M. Emmett Walsh, Leonore Kasdorf, and James Hong.
Video - DVD

Two friends, Ralph and Scott live in a small minded town at the offset of the Vietnam war. While Scott's brother enlists, he and Ralph are outspoken in their opposition to the war. Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Kiefer Sutherland, Bruce Dern, Mariette Hartley, Winona Ryder.
Video - DVD

Off Limits
Two pros from the Criminal Investigation Detachment (CID) track down the killer of Vietnamese prostitutes in 1968 Saigon. Writers: Christopher Crowe and Jack Thibeau. Stars: Willem Dafoe, Gregory Hines, and Amanda Pays.
Video - DVD

Operation Dumbo Drop
Based on a true story about Green Berets and an elephant. One of the few comedies from the Vietnam War. Stars: Danny Glover.
Video - DVD

Path to War
Tells the inside story of how "the best and the brightest" advisors in the Johnson administration, including Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and special advisor Clark Clifford, counsel the President in the decisions that will lead to America's deeper and deeper engagement in Vietnam. Torn between those who recommend increased bombing to win, and those who advise a path be found to peace, Johnson watches as his presidency and his nation are torn apart by the deaths of young Americans overseas and the protests of those who remain.
Video - DVD

A gritty and emotional look at the lives of a platoon of American soldiers as they patrol, fight and die in the jungles of Vietnam as seen through the perspective of a young recruit.
Video - DVD

"Platoon" Screenplay
The complete script online.

Platoon Leader
A young officer, just out of West Point is sent to Vietnam, where the men don't respect him until he gets wounded and returns to be a wiser soldier and a better commander.

The Promise of Love
A woman who gave up college to marry her Marine boyfriend becomes a widow soon after her husband is sent to Vietnam.
Video - DVD

Purple Hearts
Navy doctor falls in love with feisty nurse in Vietnam. Stars: Ken Wahl and Cheryl Ladd. One of the few romances about the war.
Video - DVD

Rambo: First Blood, Part 2
John Rambo is removed from prison by his former superior, Colonel Samuel Troutman, for a top-secret operation to bring back POW's still held in Vietnam. Rambo's assignment is to only take pictures of where the POWs are being held, but Rambo wants to get the POWs out of Vietnam. Teamed up with female Vietnamese freedom fighter Co Bao, Rambo embarks on a mission to rescue the POWs, who are being held by sadistic Vietnamese Captain Vinh and his Russian comrade, Lieutenant Colonel Padovsky.
Video - DVD

Regret to Inform
This beautiful, shattering documentary by photographer Barbara Sonneborn began production in 1992 but was spiritually born in 1968 with the death of her husband and high school sweetheart, Jeff Gurvitz. Eight weeks into his tour of duty in Vietnam, Gurvitz was killed during a mortar attack at Khe Sanh while attempting to rescue a comrade. A tape-recorded letter he had just sent to his wife appeared in Sonneborn's mailbox some time after his awful sacrifice. Sonnenborn put it away and did not listen to it until her decision to make this film, which concerns the losses and agonies endured by women on both sides of America's disastrous military campaign in Southeast Asia.
Video - DVD

Saigon -- Year of the Cat
Two Westerners -- Barbara, bank employee, and Bob, CIA analyst within the U.S. Embassy -- meet a short time before the fall of Saigon.
Video - DVD

The Seige of Firebase Gloria
Sergeant Major Hafner leads his reckon patrol on a hellish trek through enemy territory, encountering alarming signs of Viet Cong activity. The unit finally reaches Firebase Gloria and finds themselves under siege by the Viet Cong and fighting for their lives as they wait for rescue from the army.
Video - DVD

Some Kind of Hero
A returning Black POW of six years finds that his wife wants to drop him, the military wants to ignore him, and society wants to forget him. Writers: James Kirkwood and Robert Boris, from the novel by James Kirkwood. Stars: Richard Pryor, Margot Kidder, and Ray Sharkey.
Video - DVD

A Story of Healing
In January, 1997, a team of five nurses, four anesthesiologists, and three plastic surgeons arrive in Vietnam from the United States for two weeks' of volunteer work.

"That Year In Saigon" Screenplay
This fresh Vietnam War comedy-drama, filled with colorful characters, snappy dialogue, and biting political commentary, centers around three twentysomething American women, who learn about life and love while working at the USO in 1971-72 Saigon.

Three Seasons
Three Seasons tells three tangentially linked stories. First is the tale of Kien An (Ngoc Hiep Nguyen), a lovely young woman who works picking lotus blossoms at a sanitarium. She becomes a scribe for its mysterious proprietor, Teacher Dao (Manh Cuong Tran), a leper who hides himself away in shame but whose soul is full of beautiful poetry. Then there is Hai (Don Duong), a gentle "cyclo" (bicycle ricksha) driver who falls in love with Lan (Zoe Bui), an alluring, feisty prostitute he sees coming and going from the big tourist hotels. Last, there is James Hager (Keitel), an ex-Marine who fought in the war and has returned to find the daughter he fathered many years before. There is also a charming plot about Woody (Huu Duoc Nguyen), a little street urchin who sells contraband out of a suitcase.
Video - DVD

In September 1971, a platoon of recruits arrives in Ft. Polk, LA, for infantry training before leaving for war. The final week takes place in Tigerland, a swamp similar to Vietnam. Jim Paxton has enlisted; he wants to experience everything and write books later. He befriends Roland Bozz, a cool Texan with a gift for getting into trouble and for helping misfits get discharges. At least one sociopath in the platoon hates Bozz, even as the sergeants grudgingly recognize his leadership abilities. As the platoon heads into its week in Tigerland, Paxton's body gives out, Bozz makes plans to go AWOL, and the sociopath gets hold of live ammo. Is the Louisiana swamp more dangerous than the DMZ?
Video - DVD

Uncommon Valor
An American colonel brings together the remaining members of his son's platoon for an attempted POW rescue sortie. Based on a true incident. Writer: Joe Gayton. Stars: Gene Hackman, Robert Stack, Fred Ward, and Patrick Swayze.
Video - DVD

Vietnam - A Television History
A six-year project from conception to completion, this eleven-hour DVD collection carefully analyzes the costs and consequences of this controversial but intriguing war. From the first episode to the last, it provides a detailed visual and oral account of the war that changed a generation and continues to color American thinking on many military and foreign policy issues.

The Wall
The story of three items left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall: a pencil holder, a sheriff's badge, and an electric guitar. Each item connects the living with the dead and are left as either memorials or to heal the wounds of war.
Video - DVD

War Dogs
Recounts the great untold story of the Vietnam War. Witness the emotionally powerful, real-life story of several thousand courageous dogs that fought with allied soldiers and saved countless lives.

The social upheaval of the 1960s was dominated by two events--the Vietnam War and the Sexual Revolution. And there is no question that the sweeping changes in sexual attitudes were fueled in part by the tension, danger and controversy surrounding the conflict in Southeast Asia. THE XY FACTOR travels from college campus protests to the bordellos of Southeast Asia to tell the multi-faceted story of the war and its relation to the Sexual Revolution. Activists and soldiers share their stories, revealing what they thought about the situations they suddenly found themselves in, and scholars detail how the war directly impacted people's willingness to be more adventurous sexually. Young, scared soldiers in Vietnam were introduced to a society with wildly different ideas about sexuality, while at home, the rise of the pill, the rejection of puritanical values and the popularity of the "live for the day" attitude totally reshaped the sexual landscape.Time travel back to the tumultuous years that changed sex in America forever.

The Year That Trembled
A flawless ensemble cast brings to life this powerful 1970s coming-of-age drama, war chronicle and unconventional love story set in the shadow of Kent State's turbulent events.
Video - DVD

Vietnam War Books at Amazon

Download Movies at Amazon

Memorable Quotations Store at Amazon (Home)

Vietnam War Screenplays

Vietnam War Destinations, Part 1

Vietnam War Destinations, Part 2

Vietnam War Destinations, Part 3

Vietnam War Destinations, Part 4

The Literary Hootch, Part 1

The Literary Hootch, Part 2

The Literary Hootch, Part 3

Vietnam War History, Part 1

Vietnam War History, Part 2

Vietnam War History, Part 3

Vietnam War History, Part 4

Vietnam War Research Material, Part 1

Vietnam War Research Material, Part 2

Vietnam War Research Material, Part 3

Vietnam War Research Material, Part 4

Vietnam War Humor

The Media

Vietnam War Quiz

Vietnam War Quotations



Political and Government Figures

Trips to Vietnam

The Vietnamese


Vietnam War Films

Vietnam War Fiction

Women Writers

Vietnam War Short Stories

Military Leaders

Vietnam War Documentaries



Vietnam War Poetry

The Wall

African-American Soldiers

Vietnam War Books, Part 1

Vietnam War Books, Part 2

World War II Films (Part 1)

World War II Films (Part 2)

Vietnam War Snapshots

Bonjour Vietnam

Memories Are Like Clouds

A Saigon Party:
And Other Vietnam War Short Stories

World War II Films (Part 1)

World War II Films (Part 2)

Civil War Films

World War I Films

Korean War Films

Vietnam War Documentaries

Military & War DVDs

Military & War Documentaries on DVD

Memories Are Like Clouds

A Saigon Party:
And Other Vietnam War Short Stories

General Creighton Abrams

Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN)

Bao Dai

McGeorge Bundy

Ellsworth Bunker

Declaration of Independence
of the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam
Ho Chi Minh's Speech,
Ba Dinh Square, September 2, 1945

Democratic Republic of Vietnam
Peace Proposal

Pham Van Dong


Military-Industrial Complex Speech,
Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Presidential Press Conference, April 7, 1954

Eisenhower's Letter of Support
to Ngo Dinh Diem

President Ford's Speech
on the Fall of Vietnam, 24 April 1975

French Indochina

J. William Fulbright Testifies
on China and Vietnam, 1966

Vo Nguyen Giap

A History of the 58th Infantry Platoon (Scout Dog)

The Ho Chi Minh Trail

Inaugural Address,
President John F. Kennedy,
Washington, D.C., January 20, 1961

President Lyndon B. Johnson's Address
at Johns Hopkins University:
"Peace Without Conquest" April 7, 1965

President Johnson on U.S. Aims in Vietnam

Nguyen Cao Ky

Edward Lansdale

Letter from President Nixon
to President Nguyen Van Thieu
of the Republic of Vietnam
January 5, 1973

Richard Milhous Nixon's
First Inaugural Address,
January 20, 1969

President Nixon's
"Silent Majority" Speech

Excerpts from the Paris Accords

Peace Proposal
of the Provisional Revolutionary Government
of the Republic of South Viet Nam

South Vietnam

Oliver Stone

Nguyen Van Thieu


A Shot and a Wound
by David A. Willson

Vietnam Vet Psychos on Films Quiz

Vietnam War Films Based on Books Quiz

Another Vietnam War Story or Two
by David A. Willson

The Assault
by J.E. Colussi

Memorable Quotations: Actors (A - L)

Memorable Quotations: Actors (M - Z)

Memorable Quotations: Filmmakers

Memorable Quotations: Screenwriters

Vietnam War Writers Quiz

That Year In Saigon:
A Screenplay

Barbie and Ken
Experience the War

A Pedicab Driver
Peddles Through History

A CIA Hired Wife
Bares Her Soul

The Vietnamese Rock Star
Interview on AFVN

Yolanda's Favorite Beggar

Saigon Rumors

General Westmoreland's Houseboy
(and VC Spy) Talks

The Library Card

A Saigon Warrior's Journal