The Quiet American (1958)

TV-PG  |   |  Drama, Romance, Thriller  |  8 February 1958 (USA)
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Reviews: 17 user | 12 critic

A young naive American and a cynical older British diplomat disagree over politics in 1952 Vietnam and over a beautiful young native girl.

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Complete credited cast:
Claude Dauphin ...
Fred Sadoff ...
Kerima ...
Richard Loo ...
Peter Trent ...
Eliot Wilkins
Georges Bréhat ...
French Colonel (as Georges Brehat)
Clinton Anderson ...
Joe Morton
Yôko Tani ...
Rendezvous Hostess
Nguyen Long ...
Boy with Mask
C. Long Cuong ...
Boy in Watchtower
Tu An ...
Boy in Watchtower


In this adaptation of Graham Greene's prophetic novel about U.S. foreign policy failure in pre-war Indochina, Audie Murphy plays an innocent Young American opposite the older, cynical Brit Michael Redgrave. They play out their widely different views on the prospects struggle for the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people in their competition over a young woman. Murphy wants to reform her and make her a typical middle class American housewife; Redgrave accepts her inability to formulate or retain a political ideal and while promising her no real future, he objects to Murphy's attempts to change her. It's not clear whether Murphy is just what he appears - a bungling Yankee do-gooder - or a deliberate agent of U.S. covert operations. Written by Rita Richardson <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance | Thriller | War


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Release Date:

8 February 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El americano tranquilo  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TCM Print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In Europe, director-writer Joseph L. Mankiewicz was savagely attacked for his film's infidelity to the source novel by Graham Greene, not least by Greene himself. The screenplay essentially turns the novel inside-out, so that the blundering "quiet American", whose extreme naiveté causes tragedy and his own death despite his having only the best of intentions, is transformed into a shrewd and heroic figure, far wiser and more honorable than his British rival. Mankiewicz later referred to the film as "very bad" (although he also liked to point out that Jean-Luc Godard had called it the best film of its year) and claimed that he had not been able to concentrate on the film because of the mental collapse of his wife, Rose Stradner, who committed suicide soon after he had finished it. See more »


Thomas Fowler: [In the restaurant] I didn't know you were here.
Phuong's Sister: I'm dining with friends.
Phuong's Sister: Who is that man dancing with my sister?
Thomas Fowler: An American.
Phuong's Sister: Is he wealthy?
Thomas Fowler: That you'll have to ask him.
Phuong's Sister: He looks quiet and reliable. Is he married?
Thomas Fowler: I told you you'll have to ask him.
Phuong's Sister: I would say not. Whenever an American is married, he looks married.
See more »


References Fantasia (1940) See more »


La Cathédrale engloutie
Composed by Claude Debussy
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User Reviews

The neutered version of the Graham Greene novel.
17 January 2015 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Graham Greene's novel, "The Quiet American", was about a naive and rather dumb CIA operative whose blunders led to tragedy and death in Vietnam following the withdrawal of the French in the 1950s. It is definitely NOT a story that advises a greater American presence in the country and could even be seen as a huge counterpoint to American foreign policy in the 1960s. So what does Hollywood do? They buy the story and change it completely--and in the process that pretty much make it into a film saying the opposite of Greene in his novel!!! Not surprisingly, the author and many others were ticked and ended up hating the film. So, as a retired history teacher, I could not help but automatically hate the film because of its dishonesty. But that isn't the only problem with the's also very boring and was filled with Asians who aren't really Asian. All in all, you could certainly do better than this turgid little romance.

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