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Documenting the Vietnam War: Journalism, Scholarship and Film

2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the United States' involvement in the Vietnam War, and the 40th anniversary of the war's ending. In honor of these anniversaries, the Department of Journalism presents a series of films that offer different depictions of the Vietnam War. Several of the screenings will include prominent journalists who covered the war who will share their perspectives.

All screenings are free and open to the public.

This film series is cosponsored by the American Studies Program, the Film Studies Program, the Department of Rhetoric and Communication Studies, and the School of Professional and Continuing Studies.

A Bright Shining Lie
Wed., Sept. 9
7 p.m.
Robins School of Business, Ukrop Auditorium
Guest speaker: Peter Arnett, Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent

About the Film:
Something in his past keeps career Army man John Paul Vann from advancing past colonel. He views being sent to Vietnam as part of the U.S. military advisory force a stepping stone to promotion. However, he disagrees vocally (and on record) with the way the war is being run and is forced to leave the military. Returning to Vietnam as a civilian working with the Army, he comes to despise some South Vietnamese officers while he takes charge of some of the U.S. forces and continues his liaisons with Vietnamese women. The film is directed by Terry George and stars Bill Paxton as John Paul Vann, Bo Eason as Officer Tally, and William L. Mansey as Officer Conroy.

Platoon
Wed., Sept. 23
7 p.m.
Robins School of Business, Ukrop Auditorium

About the Film:
Chris Taylor is a young, naive American who gives up college and volunteers for combat in Vietnam. Upon arrival, he quickly discovers that his presence is quite nonessential, and is considered insignificant to the other soldiers, as he has not fought for as long as the rest of them and felt the effects of combat. Chris has two non-commissioned officers, the ill-tempered and indestructible Staff Sergeant Robert Barnes and the more pleasant and cooperative Sergeant Elias Grodin. A line is drawn between the two NCOs and a number of men in the platoon when an illegal killing occurs during a village raid. As the war continues, Chris draws toward a psychological meltdown. And as he struggles for survival, he soon realizes he is fighting two battles, the conflict with the enemy and the conflict between the men within his platoon. The film is directed by Oliver Stone and stars Charlie Sheen as Chris Taylor, Tom Berenger as Sgt. Barnes, and Willem Dafoe as Sgt. Grodin.

We Were Soldiers
Wed., Oct. 7
7 p.m.
Jepson Hall, Room 118
Guest Speaker: Joe Galloway, newspaper correspondent and columnist, author of We Were Soliders Once....and Young.

About the Film:
In a place soon to be known as "The Valley of Death," in a football field-sized clearing called landing zone X-Ray, Lt. Colonel Hal Moore and 400 young troopers from the newly formed 7th Cavalry Regiment of the U.S. 1st "Air" Cavalry Division were surrounded by 2,000 North Vietnamese soldiers dug into the tunnel warren mountainside. The ensuing battle was one of the most savage in U.S. history and is portrayed here as the signal encounter between the American and North Vietnamese armies. The movie is based on the book We Were Soldiers Once... and Young, a tribute to the nobility of those men under fire, their common acts of uncommon valor, and their loyalty to and love for one another. The film is directed by Randall Wallace and stars Mel Gibson as Lt. Col. Hal Moore, Madeleine Stowe as Julie Moore, and Greg Kinnear as Maj. Bruce ‘Snake’ Crandall.

The Hanoi Hilton
Wed., Oct. 21
7 p.m.
Robins School of Business, Ukrop Auditorium
Guest Speaker: Paul Galanti, American P.O.W. during the Vietnam War

About the Film:
A drama focusing on the suffering, torture, and brutal treatment the American P.O.W.s had to deal with daily while in North Vietnam's Hoa Lo Prison, the most infamous P.O.W. camp in Hanoi. The film focuses on the resistance the prisoners gave to their captors and the strong bonds formed by the Americans during their captivity. The film is directed by Lionel Chetwynd, and stars Michael Moriaty as Williamson, Paul Le Mat as Earl Hubman, and John Edwin Shaw as Mason.

Full Metal Jacket
Wed., Nov. 11
7 p.m.
Jepson Hall, Room 118

About the Film:
A two-segment look at the effect of the military mindset and war itself on Vietnam era Marines. The first half follows a group of recruits in boot camp under the command of the punishing Gunnery Sergeant Hartman. The second half shows one of those recruits, Joker, covering the war as a correspondent for Stars and Stripes, focusing on the Tet Offensive. The film is directed by Stanley Kubrick and stars Matthew Modine as Pvt. J.T. ‘Joker’ Davis, R. Lee Ermey as Gny. Sgt. Hartman, and Vincent D’Onofrio as Pvt. Leonard ‘Gomer Pyle’ Lawrence.