Interesting anti-Vietnam war film...
Kenneth M. Pizzi | San Mateo, CA United States | 06/29/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Majors, shortly after the success of his supporting role in Tom Gries, Will Penny(1968)with Charleton Heston, starred in this made for tv movie about a decorated Vietnam veteran who comes home to less than hero's welcome. Majors plays the lead (Andy Crocker), seriously and with conviction; supporting cast, Pat Hingle, Jimmy Dean, and Joey Heatherton are also quite good. Like "Friendly Fire" (1978), a made for tv movie that won several Emmys and made its debut several years later, The Ballad of Andy Crocker is a film that really should be just as memorable. Incidentally, this was an Aaron Spelling pilot for a series that never actually materialized. Too bad, it would have made for an interesting series.
Unlike the spate of "crazed" Vietnam Vet films that would follow for the next decade a la "Deer Hunter," "First Blood" and the "Rambo" series, this film seriously tries to depict the problems of readjustment to civilian life many vets faced back in the States. Andy finds that his fiance has left him to marry another man, his business partner (Dean), has cheated him, and his father and mother notably estranged from him. In short, the film's ending packs a wallop and is a real testament to the trials and misfortunes so many Vietnam vets faced in their readjustment after the Vietnam War.
An Unconventional Hollywood Production
Fred Rexer | USA | 10/02/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The Ballad of Andy Crocker" is a TV movie made when the American public had turned against the Vietnam War and begun to focus its frustration on returning veterans. Almost all young male stars of the era, luminaries such as Robert De Niro, John Voight, Bruce Dern, Dennis Hopper and Martin Sheen, were constantly cast as deeply troubled, highly troublesome Vietnam returnees. Veterans of the unpopular war suddenly became the only minority that Hollywood could safely bash and the studios went about it with a vengeance. One can easily compare contemporary cinematic depictions of Vietnam-era American veterans with Hollywood's monolithic, often blatantly racist portrayals of German and Japanese soldiers during World War II. Unlike the slew of derogatory movies however, "Andy Crocker" brings us Lee Majors in the title role of a young veteran whose main problem isn't post-traumatic stress, drug addiction or a total disregard for the value of human life but the challenge of adjusting to a society which has changed radically during his war service. In San Francisco he clashes with arrogant, self-righteous hippies, swipes one of their motorcycles and runs for the tranquility of the hinterlands, only to discover that those he left behind and their view of what he's perceived to have become are not at all what he anticipated. The cast is made up of memorable veteran actors Agnes Moorehead, Pat Hingle and Jill Haworth, and and newcomers like singers Jimmy Dean, Marvin Gaye and Bobby Hatfield, plus the sultry Joey Heatherton, all of whom do marvelous jobs in their roles of individuals of various types caught up in a simmering undercurrent of social upheaval. This is an extremely low budget film though, and unfortunately it hasn't been remastered; the kinescoped DVD version is no less jumpy and fuzzy than a homegrown VHS capture. Nevertheless "The Ballad of Andy Crocker" is a relevant, highly entertaining drama which offers a rare and realistic insight into life during a significant era in the history of the United States. It's just too bad the story couldn't have been made into a big budget feature film rewritten and directed by Oliver "Born on the Fourth of July" Stone a few years later."