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To Heal a Nation (1988)

TV Movie  -  M  -  Drama  -  29 May 1988 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 86 users  
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The true story of Jan Scruggs, an embittered Vietnam veteran who returns from the war a broken man. However, with the help of his loving wife Becky, he begins to find a new life for himself... See full summary »



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Title: To Heal a Nation (TV Movie 1988)

To Heal a Nation (TV Movie 1988) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Jan Scruggs
Becky Scruggs
Marshall Colt ...
Jack Wheeler
Bob Doubek
Paul Turner
Gloria Carlin ...
Jordan Charney ...
Maya Ying Lin
Laurence Luckinbill ...
Senator Bob Mathias
Linden Chiles ...
James F. Kelly ...


The true story of Jan Scruggs, an embittered Vietnam veteran who returns from the war a broken man. However, with the help of his loving wife Becky, he begins to find a new life for himself, and a personal goal when he agrees to begin a determined campaign to raise funds for a veteran's memorial. Written by Jonathan Broxton <>

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M | See all certifications »




Release Date:

29 May 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

To Heal a Nation  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Jan Scruggs: [emotional] It was the names, wasn't it. Yeah.
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References The Deer Hunter (1978) See more »


Written by Gary Brooker, Keith Reid and Matthew Fisher (I)'
Vocals by Randy Crenshaw
Arranged by Bruce Miller
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User Reviews

Extremely Heartwarming and it set out to do what it set out to do
16 November 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Eric Roberts should have won the highest award their is for his part in this. I was 15 years old when my class visited Washington D.C. and they were just starting to build the memorial. I was too young to think about all that went into the making of it all. I remember the war, but very little and I remember all the broken men who came back and had the burden of surviving the aftermath, including my two uncles. When I saw this movie, I was en captured by the entire theme of it as I watched the bitterness of the vets complain about benefits, which is something I can relate to all too well to Jan's simple request of a simple memorial to the rallying of support to the people realizing that their anger was terrible misplaced in these young men to the final building to the actual opening. It was all very emotional for me.

I do not understand why it has not been shown again on Memorial Day or Veterans Day. I thought there were many tender moments in the film such as when Jan received the letter from the kid who sent him five dollars to have their father's name that inspired him to have ALL the names put on, to the winner of the contest to construct the memorial who just happened (as I remember to be) a young Asian girl who was adopted because of all of the orphans (I think.) And the scene where the engravers where engraving the names and the one engraver burst out into tears because it she came to her brothers name.

The final scenes were about when the memorial was open and the people came and when the white elderly lady came and the black vet asked her who she knew and she said her son and how he held her hand and helped her with the flowers she wanted to put there and there was no thought of race there, just humanity. I think one of my favorite parts was when the brother was there to find his brother's name only to see him there after 20 years to find out that he wasn't dead, but just lost for so many years.

This movie has remained in me for many years and I would love to see it again. I think that the title speaks for itself because this nation needed to heal from the Vietnam war and we needed to forgive ourselves and the young men and women who were over there and I think the movie did what it set out to do. I think it is very important to point out that this was done through the people and not through our government, which makes it all the more special.

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