last days in vietnam summary
The other film is that same story refracted through our awareness of the potential parallels between yesterday’s debacle and similar U.S. withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan today. In one of history’s bitter ironies, peace was maintained for a while because the North Vietnamese considered Nixon insane enough to attack them again if they broke it. ( Log Out / Helicopters were considered the least desirable mode of escape, but by this time the last resort was all that remained. Get a Retro Movie. The US had several highly detailed evacuation plans, involving fixed-wing airplanes and large ships. Washington ordered Ambassador Graham to be on the first helicopter out, but he refused and stayed to supervise the perilous evacuation, leaving on the penultimate chopper. Soon enough, the airport was being bombarded and even that was not an option. Once the President was deposed by the Watergate scandal in late 1974, they saw their opening and took it. And sure enough, about ten o’clock in the morning As the Communist forces closed in, a number of lower-level American personnel began “black ops” to help their South Vietnamese friends escape the country by stowing them on cargo planes bound for the Philippines. The principle focus is the evacuation of the remaining Americans and thousands of Vietnamese during the last couple of days of April. Frank Snepp, author of Decent Interval: An Insider's Account of Saigon's Indecent End Told by the Cia's Chief Strategy Analyst in Vietnam, was a CIA analyst. Meanwhile back in Washington, Ford tried to persuade Congress to vote a measly $722 million to help out their former partners during what Kissinger called the “final agony of South Vietnam.” Yet even the staunchest right-wingers in Congress were antiwar by then, and the aid was not forthcoming. One takes place nearly 40 years ago and tells the incredibly dramatic story of Americans’ frantic, chaotic evacuation of South Vietnam as Communist forces closed in on Saigon. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Pledge your support now. And while making evacuation plans would have seemed the natural course of action at this point, it was not the one pursued by U.S. So American personnel improvised, commandeering resources to save as many as they could. For younger viewers, that’s more understandable. Get $5 Off Towards a Movie Download . That’s certainly true of the Embassy evacuation, which plays out as thrillingly as the airport escape in Ben Affleck’s “Argo.” It’s also true of the action aboard the U.S.S. Ambassador Graham Martin, a genteel North Carolinian who simply couldn’t believe that disaster was imminent until it was literally upon him. See Full Cast + Crew for Last Days in Vietnam Features Load More Features Movie Reviews Presented by Rotten Tomatoes. Kirk, a ship with a small heliport that was besieged by wave after wave of South Vietnamese helicopters. Another segment of the movie deals with the much less well known naval rescue. ( Log Out / Godfrey Cheshire is a film critic, journalist and filmmaker based in New York City. Note: In Last Days in Vietnam, subject Frank Snepp states, "The prearranged signal for the evacuation was broadcast on American radio in Saigon. It uses archival material to bring you back to the April 1975 fall of Saigon with immediacy while providing deep and balanced commentary from first-hand participants. The helicopter evacuation from the US Embassy was far more extensive. For 18 hours, a helicopter landed on Embassy grounds every 10 or 15 minutes, each taking 40 or 50 people to American naval vessels offshore. Those who played particularly vital roles and have uniquely insightful observations to contribute appear repeatedly, throughout the film. Get a … At one point, a young State Department officer joined with the captain of a Naval vessel to shepherd a ragtag fleet, comprising everything from fishing boats to ships of the soon-to-disappear South Vietnamese Navy, leading thousands of refugees to a new life a world away. He has written for The New York Times, Variety, Film Comment, The Village Voice, Interview, Cineaste and other publications. This Oscar-nominated documentary, made by Rory Kennedy (Robert’s posthumous daughter) covers the last few weeks of April 1975, when the North Vietnamese Communists took over South Vietnam. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Many had been officers in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam or officials in the South Vietnamese government. Whatever one’s political leanings, it’s hard now to see this dereliction of responsibility as anything but shameful. The United States has only a skeleton crew of diplomats and military operatives still in the country. Last Days in Vietnam was written, produced and directed by Rory Kennedy, a daughter of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, in partnership with her husband, Mark Bailey. Recounting how he spoke to the Vietnamese refugees on that fateful day, the old soldier (who is Caucasian) suddenly (and apparently without realizing it) lapses into Vietnamese, the words still seared into his brain after 40 years. Herrington was at the embassy until the next-to-last flight out and describes that fateful day. He describes smuggling South Vietnamese Army associates of his, with their families, onto a U.S. Army plane which then flew them out of the country. ( Log Out / Change ), The Bombers and the Bombed (Richard Overy). U.S. Marine Corps First Lieutenant Gerald Berry was a helicopter pilot who had been awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroic rescue of a Marine reconnaissance team in 1969. Explanations for why this needed to be done surreptitiously and why "at-risk" South Vietnamese were not helped to escape in a more timely and organized manner are a key ingredient in the narrative. As other South Vietnamese began to escape by crowding aboard their own aircraft and a flotilla of small ships headed out to sea, many of the desperate who remained stormed into the U.S Embassy. He reviews for us the four alternative evacuation options prepared by U.S. military commanders for Ambassador Martin. X. when you purchase 3 participating Suave products 9/1-10/31 at Walmart or Walmart.com. He has written for, CIFF 2020: Black Perspectives Program Highlights Diverse Voices, CIFF 2020: The Roger Ebert Award Returns to Champion New Voices, Immerse Yourself in Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project #3. The movie is at its best depicting the courage and grace of Americans on the ground, usually junior officers, in enormously trying conditions. SEE DETAILS. Offers. Of course, they all wanted to bring their dependents. They continued until a specific order came from DC to end the evacuation, apparently based on incorrect information. One takes place nearly 40 years ago and tells the incredibly dramatic story of Americans’ frantic, chaotic evacuation of South Vietnam … ( Log Out / The gripping, moment-by-moment story of the eleven Marines who were the last to leave the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. In Saigon there remained several thousand Americans including contractors, newsmen, security and diplomatic personnel. Recounts the role of the USS Kirk in the rescue of remnants of the South Vietnamese Navy and of tens of thousands of refugees. Hugh Doyle was Chief Engineer on the destroyer escort USS Kirk, which was protecting the helicopters flying back-and-forth between the embassy and naval ships waiting offshore, and Paul Jacobs was the Commanding Officer. By spring of 1975, their troops were pouring across the South (the use of red spreading across a map has seldom been more appropriate) and the new administration of Gerald Ford gave no sign of returning America to the war. Read "The Stories Behind the Iconic Images," The Washington Post review of Last Days in Vietnam Watch Rory Kennedy's interview on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, September 3, 2014. Riveting, wrenching and extraordinarily important, Rory Kennedy’s superb documentary “Last Days in Vietnam” is effectively two films at once. Men who participated in these events appear on camera, telling their stories as documentary footage of relevant scenes are played back. There was no specific authorization for the evacuation of Vietnamese civilians. Last Days in Vietnam (2014) Plot Summary (1) 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. Decent Interval: An Insider's Account of Saigon's Indecent End Told by the Cia's Chief Strategy Analyst in Vietnam, Amazon Prime Video: Buy for $3.99, rental option also available, Available new from Amazon for $8.91, lowest third-party new price is $7.98, Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC, Available new from Amazon for $14.24, lowest third-party new price is $8.90. Some were employees of U.S. government agencies, such as workers at the U.S. embassy in Saigon. His recollections of Graham Martin, the U.S. Armitage provides informative background as events unfold before us. They were able to evacuate all the Americans, and almost all the Vietnamese who had taken refuge on Embassy grounds. But mostly, Last Days in Vietnam is a magnificent portrait of how the prescribed order breaks down — and rightly so — when it no longer serves human need, and a new one rises to take its place. The first surprise is that the famous photo of refugees dangling from the stairs of a helicopter taking off from a rooftop does not depict the US Embassy — it was actually the private residence of the CIA Station Chief. As the collapse of the South unfolded, many of these folks grew increasingly worried about their South Vietnamese friends, colleagues and family members. Herrington knowingly risked his career in the military in doing so, and other U.S. government personnel undertook similar risks in the same cause. Without permission from Washington, Armitage decided to lead the entire flotilla to safety at the U.S. They speak as we watch Hueys commandeered from South Vietnamese Army and Air Force bases approach the ship, "packed like sardines", and begin to land, one after the other. But the Ambassador waited so long to deliver the evacuation order that the only option available was the hastily organized “Plan D” — a helicopter airlift. The first surprise is that the famous photo… The last-resort option was to use Marine Corps helicopters stationed near Saigon to fly refugees to U.S. carriers off the Vietnamese coastline. One of the most evocative moments comes during an interview of a Marine sergeant, responsible for preventing panic on Embassy grounds. Kennedy’s story begins in 1973, when the Paris Peace Accords negotiated by the Nixon administration and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger brought the long and torturous Vietnam War to an apparent end. Summary: During the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese Army closes in on Saigon as South Vietnamese resistance crumbles. Watching the film, it’s impossible not to be struck by how much fantastic newsreel footage there is of these events. This Oscar-nominated documentary, made by Rory Kennedy (Robert's posthumous daughter) covers the last few weeks of April 1975, when the North Vietnamese Communists took over South Vietnam. Ambassador to South Vietnam, are of central importance. He offers particularly interesting observations regarding the effect of the August 1974 resignation of President Richard Nixon on North Vietnamese military strategy.
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