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 l... more »etters to us.« less
"In the mid-nineties, when I was a high school student, my A.P. English teacher showed us clips from this movie as part of a weeks-long unit entitled war. Simply hearing the emotionally-laden words and viewing the clips of these young soldiers moved many of my classmates, not excluding myself, to tears. Almost a decade later, with the feelings and images still in my mind, I came online to order the dvd. The second viewing was as equally moving as the first. The ending is especially potent. An excellent addition to anyone's personal collection of media related to war/Vietnam/war literature."
Powerful - a CAN'T MISS or MUST SEE movie for educational &
Viet Tran | San Jose, CA | 10/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Being a 5 years old boy living in Saigon (a peaceful but lively city even in war time) in 1972, I hardly noticed that the country was at war. If not for the facts that my father was an ARVN officer, news war footages on TV everyday, and once in a while seeing tanks & soldiers roaming & patrolling the countrysides, I wouldn't have thought or reminded of how much destructions the VN war brought to Vietnamese/US civilians, soldiers and their families.
Watching Dear America: Letters Home from VN for the first & only time on Veteran's day in the early 90's on PBS, I have found the utmost respect for all the young US men, women & their families who sacrified so much for that politically unwinnable war. I have watched, read a lot about this war from many different perspectives, but nothing has come close to truthfully provide personal experiences, heartfelt losses, and devastated destructions this war has caused as this documentary movie does.
I wanted to have a chance to watch this movie again for so long. It's so powerful in every sense of its word. It's a CAN'T MISS or a MUST SEE movie for educational & historical purposes/values. I have goose bumps from thinking about the movie now. I just can't wait to watch it again, the DVD is coming in a few days."
They Walked Like Men
50s sci-fi Fan | Melboune Australia | 01/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Our great battle in Vietnam was Long Tan, 1968 when a couple hundred Australians and Kiwi artillery, killed 1000 NVA or VC in a rubber plantation. The battle of Long Tan took place during a tropical downpour deliberately used by the enemy to hamper ANZAC defenses. (Just thought I owed our "Diggers" their due before I begin!)
Dear America does a good job in giving you the "feel" of the war to the average soldier by seperating the "Americans:" the 19 year old boys who've largely never been outside the USA from "America" and its "falling dominos" foreign policy intervention in a 2,000 year of independence (against China, France, the U.S. and then China(1980-83 again), that Sen. Wayne Morse's warned would "lead to the deaths of untold American boys - and for nothing."
The letters home, trace well the shifting mood of these boys; the white poor and minorities, kids with no money for college enrolement to avoid the draft. We see them arc from cheerful youths "mugging" on 8mm home movies to boys haggard beyond their years on TV patrolling in(& 2) Dylan's, "Hard Rain." Others were bitter and confused, "they say we're fighting for something"...."the whole thing stinks, really." Yet, as another soldier wrote, "even though most men thought the war was being fought incorrectly and we would not win....they went out and risked their lives as if they were defending the continental USA."
Aside from the perspective of the individual soldier and the music takes (me at least) back to the 60s era, "Dear America" has the pace and structure of a Hollywood production. In fact "Dear America" is so engrosing that at times you had to remind yourself that this was indeed real! For example the "Grunt's Primer" montage to the Stone's "Gimme Shelter" is in the same league as the Helicopter attack in "Apocalypse Now." And, watch the title sequence for John Fogerty's "Fortunate Son," the "Grunts'" ironic anthem of the war. Personally, I think the words of that song are so telling that they should have gone up on screen as Creedence Clearwater played.
Fortunate Son and the rest of the music the boys listened to and their letters home combine to make Dear America as powerful a statement about war as the 1930 version of "All Quiet on the Western Front."
"Dear America," like "All Quiet," is a well constructed narrative, that brings presence and even urgency to a war now fading into history.
LETTERS FROM VIETNAM
Francis G. Yusko | Spotswood, N.J. United States | 10/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I too am a US History teacher, and I would mirror all said by my fellow educator. If I could share but one film on Vietnam with my students, Dear America: Letters from Vietnam would be the one!
Teachers-This is a must show video!
Lance G. Aldrich | Corunna, Michigan | 02/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To begin the video is an unforgetable portrayal of the horrors, confusion, and tragedy of war. The thing that sticks out in my mind is the closeness you feel for the common, everyday, and ordinary young men mentioned in the movie. Having talked to many veterans this closeness is exactly what develops during times of war. Not being able to experience war in our classrooms we can get a glimmer of the closeness from the movie. You see the faces, the emotions, the heartache, and for a lack of better words confusion and disilusionment that Vietnam brought to so many different people. The music is fantastic and adds a certain character and time to the experience of watching the video. I'm showing it, you should show it, and most of all reflect upon its message and purpose for being produced. A must show!"