‘Last Days’ Shares Untold Stories from the Vietnam War

April 21, 2015 Wisconsin Public Television Leave a Comment

American Experience “Last Days in Vietnam” airs 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 28 on WPT. Scroll to the end to see more programs about the Vietnam War.

Ever since the United States ended it’s involvement in the Vietnam War 40 years ago, journalists, filmmakers, historians and countless others have studied and scrutinized the Vietnam War from several angles. So when American Experience asked Rory Kennedy to make a film about the final days of the Vietnam War, her initial response was, “Could I provide anything new.” Fortunately, Kennedy obliged and she managed to uncover one of the most dramatic tales from the Vietnam era.

Sailors push a helicopter off a landing platform of the U.S.S. Kirk to clear room for more helicopters dropping off refugees.

Since its premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, the Academy Award®-nominated “Last Days in Vietnam” has been seen in communities throughout America, and, according to Kennedy, the overwhelming response is, “I can’t believe we didn’t know this story.”

The film shares how the handful of American diplomats and military operatives that remained in the country at the war’s end engaged in unsanctioned operations to save as many South Vietnamese as possible from the approaching North Vietnamese Army. The film’s narrative is woven with emotional first-hand tales of bravery and gripping footage of the evacuation shot from the U.S. embassy and the Navy ships that awaited the last of the evacuees. It’s a film that is sure to give any viewer a new perspective on U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

“Last Days in Vietnam” is among several programs airing this week that mark 50 years since U.S. combat troops first landed in Vietnam and 40 years since the fall of Saigon. Some programs cover familiar topics, but each provides unparalleled in-depth storytelling and historical accuracy that public television is known for.

Preview “Last Days in Vietnam” and scroll to the end to see the full schedule of Vietnam programs.

Also airing on Wisconsin Public Television
American Experience “My Lai”

8 p.m. Tuesday, April 21
Examine the My Lai massacre, its cover-up and efforts of soldiers who broke rank to halt atrocities.

The Draft
8 p.m. Monday, April 27
The Draft tells the story of how a single, controversial issue continues to define a nation.

Dick Cavett’s Vietnam
9 p.m. Monday, April 27
Explore the war and its impact on America through interviews conducted by the host of The Dick Cavett Show.

The Day the ’60s Died
7 p.m. Tuesday, April 28
In May of 1970, four students were shot dead at Kent State. The Day the ’60s Died examines the event and its fallout.

Last Days in Vietnam
8 p.m. Tuesday, April 28

Wisconsin Vietnam War Stories
Watch Online Anytime
See Wisconsin Vietnam War veterans recount their experiences in a three-hour documentary.

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