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1969 (1988)

R  |   |  Drama, War  |  18 November 1988 (USA)
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Two friends, Ralph and Scott live in a small minded town at the onset of wide public dissatisfaction with the Vietnam war. While Scott's brother enlists, he and Ralph are outspoken in their... See full summary »



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Title: 1969 (1988)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Wynne ...
Keller Kuhn ...
Steve Foster ...
Mert Hatfield ...
Coach Heart
Welton Tootle ...
Junior Roberts
Don Devendorf ...
Reverend Hardy
Robert Louis Stevenson ...
Dean Bonner (as Dr. Robert Louis Stevenson)
Jason Summers ...
Scott N. Stevens ...


Two friends, Ralph and Scott live in a small minded town at the onset of wide public dissatisfaction with the Vietnam war. While Scott's brother enlists, he and Ralph are outspoken in their opposition to the war. Scott's attitude alienates him from his father and he and Ralph leave town to enjoy their 'freedom'. Various events lead them back to town where they learn of the death of the brother. This event proves to be the catalyst needed to bridge the gap between father and son and enlightens them both to the true cost of war. Written by Mark Harding <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The year the country split apart and a generation came together.


Drama | War


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

18 November 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

1969 - O Ano que Mudou Nossas Vidas  »

Box Office


$5,979,011 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Kiefer Sutherlander first moved to Los Angeles, he shared an apartment with Robert Downey Jr. for over a year. See more »


The bus Alden gets on says Palmetto Tours on it. It would not be in Maryland, where the film is supposed to take place. South Carolina is the Palmetto State. See more »


Scott: Hop in! We're not homosexuals or anything.
See more »


References True Grit (1969) See more »


Both Sides Now
Performed by Julie Pritikin & Rick Kasper
Written by Joni Mitchell
Published by Siquomb Publishing Corporation
See more »

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User Reviews

A movie poorly executed by and for the hippie culture, made nineteen years after the title year
1 October 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I only watched 1969 late night one night because the title indicated to me that it might be a film dealing with the issues of the time in the year with sincerity or promise, or even as a documentary. I didn't know how the film would go after the first couple of scenes I saw, but Bruce Dern seemed formidable enough to keep a watch. When the credits started to roll though I thought to myself, "what a cliché ridden disaster this became, why did I stick with it?"

I guess I stayed tuned because the actors seemed promising enough- Dern in a supporting role as a hard-nosed father, his son in the lead played by Kiefer Sutherland, his cocky best friend played by Robert Downey Jr., and his beautiful sister played by Winona Ryder. Sutherland's character, Scott, decides he doesn't want to go to Vietnam like his brother, so he enlists into college with Downey's character, Ralph, and the two begin to discover what they've been sheltered from- free-love, drugs, and soon enough sex.

Some of these early scenes seemed to look kind of silly, but I enjoyed the (partly obvious) soundtrack and thought if I stayed with picture (instead of flipping to a different, better movie) it might pay off in the second or third act. I got proved wrong, as line after line and moment after moment seemed to lower my expectations, and the characters headed towards an last scene that made me want to puke in my lap.

The probable cause of the pits in this movie come from writer/director Ernest Thompson. I don't know who he is really, and I haven't seen any of his other efforts as a filmmaker, but it looked as though he was either tapping into his own by-the-numbers first account of the turmoil that went with coming of age in that year, or was tapping into the memories of other baby boomer yuppies who still try to think back to when they wanted freedom before gluing themselves into the "me" generation.

The players tried to do what they could, a couple of scenes had some laughs, and I grinned at a line or two from Downey Jr. Yet I couldn't get over how much the movie hit its well intentioned points home with near propagandizing techniques. To sum it up, this is absolutely the soapy, "made-for-television" version of what life was like in 1969. If you want the truer, earthy version(s) see Woodstock or Easy Rider - those two may be folklore at this point for that generation, but at least they work as being entertaining thirty-four years later to the following generation. Grade: D

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