What are the best Vietnam documentaries?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Gordon McMurphy, Jan 17, 2004.

  1. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    It seems that Vietnam: The Ten-Thousand Day War is OOP, is it? It sounds like the definitive documentary series on the war. Is it?

    There doesn't seem to be any other comprehensive documentaries on DVD currently. Have there been any recent documentary series' broadcast on American TV that have yet to make it to DVD?

    I know that there are many great books on the subject, but seeing as Vietnam was a modern war, there must be millions of miles of feet of film that I have never seen.

    I have The Great War (1964, BBC TV series) on DVD, a 7-disc boxed set of some 18+ hours and I have The World At War and both are masterpieces of audio visual historical documenting. Having a Vietnam equivolant would be much appreciated.

    I love Ken Burns' films. I have The Civil War and The West, both are extraordinary. His brother Ric made a series called, New York and I have been meaing to get that for a while, but it's pretty expensive, but I'll probably get it this year sometime. There was an extra episode made later, after 9-11, wasn't there? It's a pity that it isn't included in currently produced sets.

    Can anyone be of any help?

    Thanks for reading.
     
  2. Larry Schneider

    Larry Schneider Second Unit

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    "The Vietnam War With Walter Cronkite" is on DVD. It's interesting, with lots of clips from contemporary news broadcasts.
     
  3. Tim_Prasuhn

    Tim_Prasuhn Stunt Coordinator

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    Hearts and Minds, from Peter Davis, is pretty cool. Its anti-vietnam in the sense that it talks about why we shouldn't have gotton into it, and the consequences of that. If you don't mind that viewpoint, its a fascinating piece. its available on Criterion DVD.
     
  4. TimJS

    TimJS Second Unit

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    I've never seen Vietnam: The Ten-Thousand Day War , but I did watch the broadcast of Vietnam: A Television History when it ran on PBS back in '83(?), and thought it was excellent at the time (not on DVD).

    Yet another film I've never seen that is available on DVD from Criterion is the Peter Davis documentary Hearts and Minds . From what I understand, this is more a film about the domestic conflict over the war and less about bugles & drums, I also understand it is supposed to be quite good.

    Tim
     
  5. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris Screenwriter

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    Yes, it was 1983. I watched it with a Vietnam vet friend of mine. One of the episodes began with footage of a draft lottery. When they showed that scene my friend starting laughing. The number drawn was his number.

    I would love to see it released on DVD. If you can find it, Stanley Karnow's companion book was excellent reading.
     
  6. TimJS

    TimJS Second Unit

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    Another title to watch for is The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara , a documentary by Errol Morris (Thin Blue Line ). This was shown theatrically last year and one may hope that a DVD release will not be far off. Said to be rather sympathetic to McNamara.

    In other media, be sure to check out Taking Charge: The Johnson White House Tapes 1963-1964 by Michael R. Beschloss. There are abridged cassette & CD audio versions available. I would never have believed the anguish in LBJ's voice over Tonkin Gulf incident, if I hadn't heard it on these tapes.

    Tim
     
  7. Eric Paddon

    Eric Paddon Screenwriter

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    What I'd like to say about "Hearts And Minds" would get me thrown off the list, so instead my Vietnam documentary DVD wish (but I doubt it shall ever get released) shall be a plug for the excellent Charlton Heston narrated "Television's Vietnam" and it's sequel "The Impact Of Media" from 1985. The latter is based on the outstanding 1977 book "Big Story" by Peter Braestrup.
     
  8. Larry Talbot

    Larry Talbot Second Unit

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    I'll second (or is that third?) Hearts and Minds, an excellent documentary. It isn't a combat documentary per say, that is it doesn't focus on military tactics so much as it does on the war's human cost and the politics surrounding it. It has some pretty sad/disturbing scenes, particularly when the camera follows some GIs into a brothel, and some interviews with bomber pilots back in the states, but it also has some amazing - and very revealing - interviews with some of the major politicans/generals involved. Highly, highly recommended.
     
  9. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    And another vote for Hearts And Minds. The statistics and strategies you can get from books. H&M's uses the visual power of film to say what needs to be said about the war, and in certain, terrible ways, about war in general.
     
  10. Leon Liew

    Leon Liew Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the documentary series Vietnam The Ten Thousand Day
    War an awesome and definitive series to keep.
     
  11. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    Thanks, guys. [​IMG]

    I've been thinking about getting Hearts and Minds ever since it was released, but I think I'll get it now.
     
  12. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    I e-mailed Image Entertainment about The 10,000 Day War and I got this reply:

    Dear Gordon,

    Thank you for your inquiry. Unfortunately Image Entertainment no longer owns the distribution rights to the title you are referring to and it is therefore considered to be Out of Print. At this point in time Image Entertainment does not have any plans regarding the re-release of this title on DVD. However, I will pass your email onto our acquisitions department, which will look into the possibility of re-releasing this title on DVD.

    Thank you.


    It sure would be great to see it back in print, but I won't be banking on it.

    When Image released it originally, it was a double sided 2x DVD-14 affair, I believe, with all 13 hours spread over 6 layers. For any re-issue, I think that it should be spread over 4 DVD-9s.
     
  13. Kenny Goldin

    Kenny Goldin Second Unit

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    I would love to see the 10,,, Day War re-released as well. I always wanted to pick it up but at that point price was an issue. I now have the funds and find it is OOP. [​IMG] Oh well...
     
  14. John Macri

    John Macri Stunt Coordinator

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    Gordon:

    If you're interested in an objective history of US military involvement with some striking footage, than I recommend Vietnam: The Ten-Thousand Day War. Unlike Heart's & Minds, there's no promotion of a political agenda, and it does a very good job covering the Kennedy administration's political manuevering with the Diem Regime and the US advisor phase prior to the large-scale US involement in 1965.
     
  15. TimJS

    TimJS Second Unit

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  16. TimJS

    TimJS Second Unit

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  17. Leon Liew

    Leon Liew Stunt Coordinator

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    Probably contains similiar footage from Ten Thousand Day
    War. Have seen it on TV way back then even video taped
    the series but the tapes were lost to the elements - fungus.Could'nt recall much of it though. Will see when it
    comes out.
     
  18. Leon Liew

    Leon Liew Stunt Coordinator

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    Probably contains similiar footage from Ten Thousand Day
    War. Have seen it on TV way back then even video taped
    the series but the tapes were lost to the elements - fungus.Could'nt recall much of it though. Will see when it
    comes out.
     
  19. Jason L.

    Jason L. Second Unit

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    The reviews on Amazon for: Vietnam - A Television History
    DVD have been savage.

    Apparently, they left out 2 of the 13 episodes, AND have commercials that you must sit through. AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!
     
  20. LarryDavenport

    LarryDavenport Cinematographer

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    That's dissapointing news Jason. I would have recommended A Television History too, but my personal favorite is Hearts and Minds. And it's a great DVD too. Criterion should have done Television History.
     

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