Main Plot Points:
- Received an Academy Award® Nomination for Documentary Feature!
- In April of 1975, the North Vietnamese Army was closing in on Saigon as South Vietnamese resistance was crumbling. Approximately 5,000 Americans remained with roughly 24 hours to get out. Their South Vietnamese allies, co-workers, and friends faced certain imprisonment and possible death if they remained behind, yet there was no official evacuation plan in place.
- Still, over the last days in Vietnam, with the clock ticking and the city under fire, 135,000 South Vietnamese managed to escape with help from a number of heroic Americans who took matters into their own hands, engaging in unsanctioned and often makeshift operations in a desperate effort to save as many people as possible. Includes the Academy Award®-nominated theatrical release and the extended AMERICAN EXPERIENCE broadcast version of the film.
What We Thought:
- Last Days in Vietnam is an in depth look at last days of the Vietnam War. How the US and South Vietnamese left Saigon is pretty amazing.
- If you like history or know much about the Vietnam War, you’ve probably seen the famous photos and videos of people on rooftops trying to flee Saigon. This documentary shows how it came down to that and just how many people made it out.
- There were multiple plans to get the Americans and South Vietnamese out. Unfortunately the Viet Cong attacked the airport and stopped the easiest way. Some did escape by boat, but the majority had to be evacuated by helicopters. It’s pretty amazing watching the escape.
- The mix of computerized re-enactments with actual photos and video is pretty fantastic. It felt live, like it was happening today. The story of the Vietnamese pilot flying the Chinook helicopter by himself, saving his family and many others by having them leap from it to an American ship is pretty heroic.
- Speaking of heroic, I like that it spent time on the last 11 soldiers who got left behind for the night at the Embassy and ultimately were rescued. Those 11 soldiers made sure as many people got out as possible and stayed on the roof till morning.
- The Blu-ray looks pretty solid. Sure some of the archive footage isn’t great, but it’s also 40 years old. The computerized re-enactments of the Embassy and the new interviews with those who were there are perfect. Audio has deep rich sound as well.
- Regardless of how you feel about the war, Last Days in Vietnam is a pretty great documentary showing you just what happened. You get first person accounts of the last days and updates of those who were there. As a history and military buff, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Notable Cast & Crew:
- From PBS
Recommended if You Like:
- PBS Specials
- In Depth Documentaries