'American Experience: Last Days in Vietnam'
(2-Disc DVD / NR / 2015 / PBS)
Overview: During the final days of the Vietnam War, as the North Vietnamese Army closed in on Saigon, the South Vietnamese resistance crumbled. The U.S. had only a skeleton crew of diplomats and military operatives still in the country. With the clock ticking, a number of heroic Americans took matters into their own hands, engaging in unsanctioned and often makeshift operations in an effort to save as many South Vietnamese as possible.
DVD Verdict: This two-disc, 2015 Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary Feature, 'American Experience: Last Days in Vietnam' is just such an incredible work of cinematic art that you sometimes forget it is all true! It plays out over these discs like a war movie, narrated from the inside, so to speak. Any yet no, it's as real as the nose on your face, as real as the headstones in the cemetery's around the world.
'Last Days in Vietnam' is about the fall of South Vietnam for the North's forces in the Spring of 1975. And, because it's an American Experience film, it's told from the viewpoint of Americans as well as some of their South Vietnamese allies. However, this does not mean it will not be interesting to everyone. The story is compelling and you really don't need to be an American or Vietnamese in order to appreciate the story. It's an interesting topic as folks today really don't talk about this period in history and when I was teaching American history, our curriculum rarely talked about the South falling to the Communist forces in the North.
Like a typical American Experience film it's told through lots and lots of interviews as well as stock footage as well as some computer models. It does not have narration - and I actually enjoyed this because instead of talking about what occurred, it lets people who were there explain it in their own words. And, like a typical show in the series, it's exceptionally well made and very interesting. It's clearly a very well made film. However, I would say that it's not necessarily better than any of the other shows in the series, as they are almost always exceptionally well made.
Seeing the real tragedy of what took place was very tense to watch. Living in the USA is such a blessing that so many of us take for granted, but shouldn't. Please watch this riveting, and so sad (in places) documentary on your history when you get the chance, thank you. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
The Academy award-Nominated Theatrical Release
The Extended American Experience Version