Last Days in Vietnam
|Last Days in Vietnam|
|Directed by||Rory Kennedy|
|Produced by||Rory Kennedy|
|Written by||Keven McAlester|
|Music by||Gary Lionelli|
|Edited by||Don Kleszy|
Moxie Firecracker Films
|Distributed by||American Experience Films|
After its premiere at Sundance Film Festival, American Experience Films acquired the distribution rights of the film, in association with PBS Distribution for DVD releases. The film had a theatrical release in New York City on September 5, 2014 before expanding nationwide in the United States during September and early October. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 87th Academy Awards. It also garnered a nomination for Best Documentary Screenplay from the Writers Guild of America. It premiered on PBS television on April 28, 2015.
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. On the ground, American soldiers and diplomats confront the same moral quandary: whether to obey White House orders to evacuate U.S. citizens only—or to risk punishment and save the lives of as many South Vietnamese citizens as they can. The events recounted in the film mainly center on the US evacuation of Saigon codenamed Operation Frequent Wind.
Last Days in Vietnam received positive reviews from critics. Rob Nelson of Variety, said in his review, "Rory Kennedy's documentary combines astonishing footage from Saigon in April 1975 with contemporary recollections from some who were there." Justin Lowe in his review for The Hollywood Reporter praised the film by saying, "A virtually untold chapter of American history still poignantly resonates nearly four decades later." Mary Sollosi of Indiewire, grade the film B+ and said, "While the documentary hardly breaks any new creative ground, its powerful content speaks for itself by revealing a harrowing episode of the Vietnam War — already a troubling chapter of American history." Dan Schindel in his review for Non-fics said, "'Last Days in Vietnam' was an incredibly pleasant surprise. It is a prime example of how documentaries can illuminate our shared memory’s gaps, and how nonfiction can frequently outdo the best thrills Hollywood has to offer." Historian Nick Turse demurred, claiming the documentary is "painfully decontextualized." It is "all about well-meaning Americans—with nothing about the indiscriminate US firepower that destroyed much of the country," according to Turse.
- "Fireside Chats: 'Last Days in Vietnam' Director Rory Kennedy on the Heroics of U.S. Soldiers". Retrieved May 7, 2014.
- "'Last Days in Vietnam' Premieres at Sundance". Retrieved May 7, 2014.
- "Sundance 2014: Documentary Premieres". Retrieved May 7, 2014.
- "Sundance Entry 'Last Days in Vietnam' Gets Theatrical Release". Retrieved May 7, 2014.
- "Oscars 2015: Full list of nominations". Retrieved January 15, 2015.
- "WGA Noms for "Vivian Maier," "Red Army"". realscreen.com. Realscreen. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
- PBS feature page
- "Sundance Film Review: 'Last Days in Vietnam'". Retrieved May 7, 2014.
- "Last Days in Vietnam: Sundance Review". Retrieved May 7, 2014.
- "Sundance Review: How 'Last Days In Vietnam' Exposes a Troubling Episode In American History". Retrieved May 7, 2014.
- "Sundance 2014: 'Last Days in Vietnam' Review". Retrieved May 7, 2014.
- Turse, Nick. "How Rory Kennedy's 'Last Days in Vietnam' Distorts History". The Nation. Retrieved 13 February 2015.