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  • James Rutherford

'Last Days in Vietnam': A Remarkable Exposition of the Final Days of the Vietnam Conflict


Movie poster for the documentary Last Days in Vietnam from filmmaker Rory Kennedy

“Last Days in Vietnam” is an exceptional 2014 documentary that recounts the final weeks of the Vietnam conflict in 1975, as North Vietnamese forces surged toward Saigon and U.S personnel anxiously awaited word of an evacuation plan.


At the time, U.S. Ambassador Graham Martin was reluctant to accept defeat, and delayed a U.S. withdrawal in the rapidly dwindling hopes that a last-minute solution could be found. Once the fall of Saigon became imminent and Congress denied emergency funding for the evacuation, however, U.S. diplomatic, military and intelligence personnel were left piecing together a bare bones plan to escape via military helicopter support. The moral dilemma they soon faced was the harsh reality of leaving behind so many South Vietnamese citizens who had supported the American effort—many of whom faced likely imprisonment and/or death.


Featuring remarkable archival film footage and first-hand accounts from many involved, the film recounts those final days of chaos and confusion in stunningly dramatic fashion. Director Rory Kennedy has put together a gripping and emotionally compelling film that balances broad historical exposition with concise detail related to the evacuation’s complexities—all of it punctuated by remarkable examples of bravery every step of the way. Not to be missed.

 

View the trailer:


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