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. 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. SEE DETAILS. Helicopters were considered the least desirable mode of escape, but by this time the last resort was all that remained.

The first surprise is that the famous photo… See Full Cast + Crew for Last Days in Vietnam Features Load More Features Movie Reviews Presented by Rotten Tomatoes. Get a Retro Movie. The subject is efforts made by American personnel to rescue South Vietnamese collaborators with the U.S. as the North Vietnamese army closed in on Saigon. Whatever one’s political leanings, it’s hard now to see this dereliction of responsibility as anything but shameful. Directed to remove or destroy South Vietnamese naval vessels before they fell into enemy hands, Armitage met with Kiem Do, Deputy Chief of Staff (Operations) in the Republic of Vietnam Navy. Snepp contributes substantially to our understanding of why at-risk South Vietnamese wound up being exfiltrated via "underground" arrangements or in a panicked crisis. Anyone who could reach an American ship just a few miles offshore, by any means (including helicopter) was picked up.

Another reason, though, is that by 1975 Americans were so sick of the Vietnam War, which had divided the country into bitterly opposed camps for years, they simply wanted to look away. U.S. Army Captain Stuart Herrington worked in the defense attache's office at the embassy. Armitage provides informative background as events unfold before us. 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. He has written for The New York Times, Variety, Film Comment, The Village Voice, Interview, Cineaste and other publications. Others were employed by American news agencies or private contractors, while some had simply married American soldiers or had become involved in a steady relationship with an American citizen. 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. If you have seen pictures of helicopters being pushed into the sea as Saigon fell to the communists, this is where it happened. Godfrey Cheshire is a film critic, journalist and filmmaker based in New York City. Many had been officers in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam or officials in the South Vietnamese government.

Get $5 Off Towards a Movie Download . He had served as a naval officer during three and a half tours in Vietnam and would go on to serve as Deputy Secretary of State under President George W. Bush. 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. 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. Men who participated in these events appear on camera, telling their stories as documentary footage of relevant scenes are played back. Gerald Berry was the helicopter pilot assigned to evacuate the ambassador. 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. Ambassador Graham Martin, a genteel North Carolinian who simply couldn’t believe that disaster was imminent until it was literally upon him. The United States has only a skeleton crew of diplomats and military operatives still in the country. Get a … Herrington was at the embassy until the next-to-last flight out and describes that fateful day. There was no lucid, overarching narrative of the kind Kennedy is able to provide in retrospect.

As the young State Department officer responsible for the naval rescue said, “I figured I’d rather beg forgiveness than ask permission.”  That fellow’s name, by the way, was Richard Armitage. One takes place nearly 40 years ago and tells the incredibly dramatic story of Americans’ frantic, chaotic evacuation of South Vietnam … Another segment of the movie deals with the much less well known naval rescue. 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. For younger viewers, that’s more understandable.

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. 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.
As great documentaries do, “Last Days in Vietnam” humanizes events that can seem merely factual in news reports and textbooks. 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. North and South Vietnam were supposed to remain separate states like the two Koreas, and Nixon was able to withdraw U.S. forces while proclaiming “peace with honor.” Yet the agreement was, as one interviewee notes, a “masterpiece of ambiguity.”. As the collapse of the South unfolded, many of these folks grew increasingly worried about their South Vietnamese friends, colleagues and family members. Watching the film, it’s impossible not to be struck by how much fantastic newsreel footage there is of these events. Henry Kissinger, who is using the gift of his longevity to rewrite the history of his many bad decisions, unconvincingly tries to evade responsibility for this one. ( Log Out /  The movie is at its best depicting the courage and grace of Americans on the ground, usually junior officers, in enormously trying conditions.
Ambassador to South Vietnam, are of central importance. Those who played particularly vital roles and have uniquely insightful observations to contribute appear repeatedly, throughout the film. In Saigon there remained several thousand Americans including contractors, newsmen, security and diplomatic personnel. This set off the commencement of Operation Frequent Wind, a last-minute implementation of the relatively impractical fourth option — evacuation by helicopter. The US had several highly detailed evacuation plans, involving fixed-wing airplanes and large ships. The message was, 'The temperature is 105 and rising,' and then Bing Crosby’s 'White Christmas.' ( Log Out /  SEE DETAILS. A former chief analyst of North Vietnamese strategy for the CIA in Saigon who was disillusioned by the ‘treacherous’ US withdrawal. 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. 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. They arranged for South Vietnamese naval officers to take their ships to designated ocean rendezvous coordinates, where they and their families would be rescued by U.S. forces waiting to destroy the ships.

Summary: During the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese Army closes in on Saigon as South Vietnamese resistance crumbles. In doing so, they exacerbated a tragedy they had helped create. Recounts the role of the USS Kirk in the rescue of remnants of the South Vietnamese Navy and of tens of thousands of refugees. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account.

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