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Diên Biên Phú (1992)

An American reporter finds himself in the middle of the 57-day battle of Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam between the French army and the Vietminh, which finally resulted in the defeat and ... See full summary »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Howard Simpson
Patrick Catalifo ...
Captain Jégu de Kerveguen
L'homme de l'AFP / AFP employee
Ludmila Mikaël ...
Béatrice Vergnes
François Négret ...
Maxime Leroux ...
Le lieutenant d'artillerie / Artillery Lieutenant
Raoul Billerey ...
Padré / Priest
Thé Anh ...
Ong Cop, M. Tigre
Captain Morvan
Patrick Chauvel ...
Lieutenant Duroc, DC3 Pilot
Eric Do ...
Lieutenant Ki
Ha Thu ...
Cuc, la femme de Thadé
Igor Hossein ...
Le photographe
Luc Lavandier ...
Sergent des Thais / Thai Sergeant
Joseph Momo ...


An American reporter finds himself in the middle of the 57-day battle of Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam between the French army and the Vietminh, which finally resulted in the defeat and surrender of the French forces and France's eventual withdrawal from Vietnam. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | War


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Release Date:

4 March 1992 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Die Schlacht von Dien Bien Phu  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

Epic Battle Scenes Make It Memorable
16 December 2012 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

The battle Of Dien Bien Phu is one of these battles that became quickly forgotten in military history . It is a battle that should never be forgotten . In an attempt to deal a decisive blow to the nationalist Viet Minh during the French Indo-China war the French forces built a base deep in the hills of Indo-China in 1954 hoping to cut off the VM supply lines and to use the base as an anvil where the Viet Minh would be hammered in to submission . With hindsight the plan was doomed to failure since the French were conducting a not altogether unsuccessful strategy of mobile warfare against the nationalists up till this point . The French also underestimated the Vietnamese ability to carry heavy artillery including anti aircraft guns in to the war zone which considering the French base was totally reliant on air supply led to the disaster that saw 2,500 French forces killed in a six week battle , another 11,000 captured of which nearly 80% died in Viet Minh captivity and led to France losing the war , the first time a major industrial power lost to a third world nation and set in motion the build up to the cold war confrontation that saw 58,000 Americans and 2,000,000 Vietnamese die in the better known conflict that started 10 years later

The French Indo-Chinese conflict isn't one that is often seen on celluloid . I remember in the mid 1980s how popular the American experience Vietnam was in popular Western culture with countless books being published and of course the big Hollywood blockbusters . One of the problems with this is summed up in an interview with the writer/director of DIEN BIEN PHU Piere Schoendoerffer who stated that there that he had a problem getting the budget to portray the battle and you can see his point since French cinema is depending on how you look at it famous or infamous at making small budget existentialist movies rather than Hollywood style blockbusters

Make no mistake this is big budget , epic cinema rarely seen in Europe and many of the battle scenes resemble those seen in the Du Long bridge sequence of APOCALYPSE NOW . The director spent the real life battle as a cameraman so he knows what the conditions were like and it shows . For anyone who has visited the Asian continent during monsoon season they'll realise rain doesn't exist in the Western hemisphere only drizzle and Schoendoerffer gets that right . I have no experience of war in general and the battle of Dien Bien in particular but have no reason to doubt that the battle here is anything less than 100 per cent accurate as each hill is over run and the French defenders realise that the outcome is historical defeat

There are a couple of points that do irritate . One is the presence of Donald Pleasence who hasn't a lot to do and his miscasting seems to be included to sell the film to an English speaking market . The second is a sequence where the story cuts back to Hanoi ( The fractured storyline keeps cutting back to Dien Bien Phu and Hanoi ) where a concert is taking place and a female violin player plays a solo as the picture cross fades to the night time battlefield which brings an art-house scene where the film certainly didn't require it

These are minor flaws in a film that requires to be much better known and it's somewhat sad that so few people have commentated on DIEN BIEN PHU in the English speaking pages of this website . If you like watching war films there's few films showing the horrors of war better . Put this in perspective in ten years of war in Afghanistan it took ten years for NATO to lose 2,000 troops . At Dien Bien Phu the French lost that amount in six weeks

4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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