Last Days in Vietnam
Directed by Rory Kennedy
During the chaotic final weeks of the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese Army closes in on Saigon as the panicked South Vietnamese people desperately attempt to escape. On the ground, American soldiers and diplomats confront a moral quandary: whether to obey White House orders to evacuate only U.S. citizens.
See more films
★★★★ review by Mike D'Angelo on Letterboxd
A.V. Club review. Superb oral history of the fall of Saigon, imaginatively assembled such that nearly every word spoken by a talking head is visually illustrated by archival footage (much of it truly amazing). Didn't love the score or the closing efforts at making these events symbolic of the war as a whole, but otherwise it's hard to imagine a better précis.
★★★★ review by matt lynch on Letterboxd
Totally riveting. I could watch hours of the fantastic archive footage here and listen to endless anecdotes.
★★★★ review by Sofa Sinema on Letterboxd
Made with a passionate eye and some incredible and disturbing footage from the 1975 evacuation of Saigon.
★★★★ review by Andy Summers on Letterboxd
As the years go by I seem to be watching more and more documentaries about many varied subjects, and this incredible account of the last days of The Vietnam War is compellingly told. Director Rory Kennedy does skirt around the more controversial aspects of a war that courted it from the very start, but focuses more on the final weeks and days before Saigon finally fell to the North Vietnamese Army. No mention of carpet bombing, or the atrocities committed by both sides during a bloody conflict that killed millions, this was simply about the moral quandary faced by American soldiers and diplomats, some of it delusional I may add, sees chaos shown in full colour.
I learned a lot about the end of the war from this film. I knew about the 1973 Paris Peace Accord which brought the G.I.s home and led to the withdrawal of military aid to the South Vietnamese, but the very end of the hostilities and the fall of Saigon was something that I knew little about. I'd always remembered on a news reel footage of that image of the helicopter being pushed into the sea from the deck of a ship, but the story of that action and the context of the situation was another intriguing tale that was finally explained to me here. From the evacuation of the Embassy and the South Vietnamese people desperate to escape the approaching communists, there are some remarkable stories of heroism and of soldiers disobeying orders to get friends out of harms way. Talking heads recount a variety of different stories. From helicopter pilots flying 18 hours straight to airlift as many people to safety as possible, to the U.S. Ambassador's refusal to leave until most of the people were out, it is a fascinating watch. Astonishing footage that bristled with the emotions that were running high at the time, you can almost feel the tension and desperation in the air, and with the likes of Henry Kissinger and Terry McNamara giving their views on what happened in detail this is an illuminating film that educated this viewer with its first hand knowledge of a conflict some choose to try and forget.
★★★★½ review by Chris on Letterboxd
Had a couple of thoughts while watching this riveting documentary.
1) I have a degree in history where I focused mainly on American history, I've read many books about American history, and I've seen documentaries of American history, but the intricacies of Vietnam and the US's role there are generally a void in my knowledge.
2) Most of the 'knowledge' I have gained about the Vietnam war has sadly been learned while watching fictional movies about the Vietnam war.
The extreme feelings of fear and desperation and claustrophobia that this movie engendered in me are ones I won't soon forget. And the archival footage used here is nothing short of astounding. Truly stunning.
- See all reviews