Based on the autobiography by Senator John McCain and Mark Salter, Faith of My Fathers chronicles the younger years of Senator McCain's life. Beginning as a hotshot Navy pilot through his five years of captivity as a priso... more »ner of war in North Vietnam, the film captures how his experiences helped shape the man that he has become.« less
Laura F. (papaschild) from KANSAS CITY, MO Reviewed on 10/27/2008...
This is not a political film. It is a good heart-rending portayal of the experience of POW's in Viet Nam, and well worth watching (lest we forget...)
6 of 9 member(s) found this review helpful.
Faith of My Fathers: Unrealistic Portrayal of Vietnam
Bryan Carey | Houston, TX | 09/14/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Arizona Senator John McCain enjoys his present day life as an influential member of the congress, leading debates on important issues and influencing legislation. He often gets into conflicts over some of his stands, but none of these can compare to the conflict McCain experienced back in the late 1960's and early 1970's. It was during this time that McCain spent several years as a Vietnam prisoner of war. This event is the subject of this movie, which is based on McCain's book of the same name.
In this film, McCain is portrayed briefly during his teenage years but the majority of the movie's time is spent either in Vietnam (inside the prison) or at McCain's military school, the U.S. Naval Academy. The movie begins by showing McCain (who is played by actor Shawn Hatosy) operating a fighter plane over Vietnam. He is shot down and has to parachute to safety; landing in water where some local Vietnamese come to his rescue and then promptly turn him over to the proper authorities. The film then alternates back and forth between scenes in the prison and flashbacks to scenes in the Naval Academy.
There is some violence in this film, but it is nothing compared to what was actually experienced. And herein lies the main problem I have with this film. The director made this movie in a very toned- down fashion so that it would be mild enough to get past the censors and be shown on television. In order to accomplish this, he had to eliminate scenes of brutal violence; profanity; and tough talk. Because of this, the movie seems very unrealistic. If you have read McCain's book by the same name, then you know that the conditions and the treatment McCain and others like him endured were horrifying. None of this comes through in this movie. It comes across as a little rough and unpleasant, but nowhere near the awful, inhumane experience that it really was.
Another problem I have with this film (which stems from the first problem) is the attitude of actor Shawn Hatosy and others who play the POW's. Hatosy's McCain character seems very bland, and rarely does he voice any concern over the nightmare he is living through. You can tell he and the others are not happy, but about the only dialogue you get is when McCain and another prisoner talk through the walls, between cells, by placing a cup to the wall. There is no intelligent dialogue, discussion of escape, feelings about the war or the captors, or anything else. This, again, makes the film seem a little unrealistic.
This movie is 90 minutes in length and it needed to be another half hour (or more) longer to give the McCain story the attention and respect it deserves. McCain's story, as told in his book, would make for a great, dramatic, and powerful Hollywood motion picture about the atrocities of war. But the way it is presented in this film, his experience seems more like a bad day on the job than the horrifying experience that it really was.
McCain, and the viewing public, deserved better.
90 minutes doesn't do justice to McCain's book
Nicholas Carroll | Portland OR United States | 12/09/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When I heard that they were making a film adaptation of John McCain's excellent memoir "Faith of My Fathers", I was excited until I learned that it was a made for cable TV movie. Had it been an HBO or Showtime production, it might have been a whole lot better, but as is, its adequate for the job.
I'm a fan of bio-pics and think every important historical figure should have one (I'm still waiting on serious film versions of all our Founding Fathers). When I saw that this film was a rather skimpy 90 minutes, I knew that wouldn't do justice to Senator McCain's book. His lifestory is worth at least a two hour treatment. On the plus side, Sean Hatosy as John McCain was a great choice. Hatosy is fast becoming one of my favorite actors by his ability to emote perfectly with his facial expressions. Its easy to imagine a younger McCain as we watch Hatosy through the film.
Also on the plus side was the decision to not go the Mel Gibson route on the torture scenes. We get a taste of it without being made uncomfortable. However, while they spared us the details of those scenes, they also unfortunately skimped out on a lot of the Naval Academy segments that show the development of McCain's character. I wished that they would have given at least a half hour of scenes from his Naval Academy days instead of the brief few scenes we do wind up seeing. That's what made McCain the man he is, or at least part of the reason.
At any rate, its not a bad bio-pic on a great American hero. Of course, keep in mind that its not up to motion picture standards and reflects the budget of a cable TV channel. And if it leaves you wanting more, there's always John McCain's book to read and refer to for more details about his life. After I watched the film, I felt a tinge of sadness that he's not our president now. The world needs a man of his character to lead our nation in the troublesome twenty-first century."
The story about true Heroes
fiesta | United States | 01/27/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"John McCain is a hero, along with all those who served our nation during the Vietnam war. I appreciate the fact that someone wanted to make a movie about the courage and strength of the POWs. There were some interesting and thought provoking scenes to be sure. But I wish there had been more attention to detail since they were dealing with a true story. The casting and directing were good, except for the main role. The actor who portrayed John McCain was not given much to work with.. mainly facial expressions when in pain or worried, and some smart aleck remarks now and then to liven the character up. The biggest problem was that he looked and acted like a kid amongst all the older, strong men in the camp. John McCain was 31 at the time, not 20, and certainly not clueless. If you haven't read the book by the same title you will find the movie inspiring and will greatly admire the men who endured such hardships and returned with honor. This is just one of those cases where it's an excellent movie, but it's quite frustrating if you know the real story (truth is definitely better than fiction here). I really appreciate the intent, but wish they would have followed the book more closely... that would have rated 5 stars plus."
Not "the Deer Hunter" but pretty good overall
Maskirovka | Alexandria, VA USA | 09/16/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I read the other review for this movie on this page, and I wonder if the author and I saw the same movie.
I agree that "Faith of My Fathers" did not show the full horror of what McCain went through. But it showed enough (McCain in agony from injuries that he suffered ejecting from his plane, McCain getting the hell beaten out of him by his captors, McCain getting brutally tortured). Remember, this was a made-for-TV movie, so there were limits on what could be shown (both for ratings and not to turn people's stomachs).
My quibbles are that at 90 minutes, the movie was indeed too short. There was no reference to McCain's narrow escape from a terrible fire onboard the aircraft carrier that he served on. McCain's life after his release from captivity is also missing (the movie could have been a miniseries).
"Faith of my Fathers" may not be as wrenching as "the Deer Hunter," but it's still a good movie and made me admire McCain all the more."
Great insight into the character of our next President!
Jared Handspicker | Nashua, NH, United States | 02/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Though the book provided far more details, the movie was very stirring and moving. It provided greater insight into the life of John McCain (focused mostly on his time in the Hanoi Hilton, of course). An incredible story about an incredible man."