Operation Dumbo Drop (1995) Poster

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This operation was real. I was "there."
trickymisfit13 February 2011
In 1968, I was the CA NCO (Civil Affairs Noncommissioned Officer) for Co. C, 5th SFG(A), 1st SF, HQed In DaNang, RVN. I was not directly involved with the mission but had a front row seat and the officers I worked under kept me apprised of the progress. These facts might be of interest:

1. "Our" Top Secret operation had two elephants called Bonnie and Clyde.

2. The elephants were not dropped in slings or standing up as depicted in the movie. They had to be tied down to airdrop cargo pallets. If they were hung in slings, their own weight would have suffocated them. If they had been dropped standing up, their weight would have caused fatal physical harm upon landing.

3. Two veterinarians were flown from England to sedate and revive the animals.

4. The purpose was not for a ceremony but for a much more practical reason. A sawmill had been built in the village to help its economy. The mountain trails were much too narrow to use bulldozers to drag the trees to the mill and someone came up with this idea.

5. The mission ultimately was a failure. The elephants were juveniles (weight!!!) and were much too small to drag the large logs. Growing elephants eat a lot. The village chief complained that the villagers were being forced to travel deeper and deeper into VC controlled territory to collect banana trees for their fodder. I don't know how this problem was resolved.

The movie was much more interesting and fun, as the actual mission was pulled off without a hitch and had little entertainment value. My credibility could be verified on my website which I am required not to include, but I'll be glad to provide it to anyone who is interested. There is a direct contact link available.

For those reviewers who chose this forum to again knock a war over 36 years gone, SHAME ON YOU! You have only exposed your own ignorance. As all soldiers in every war , some Americans conducted themselves better than others. As this mission actually went (and as depicted in this DRAMATIZATION), many of us worked tirelessly to improve the lives of the Vietnamese.

I am most proud of my days in Vietnam when I was privileged to provide food, cooking utensils, clothing and other necessities to peoples displaced by the war. Many good American lives were lost directly attempting to prevent harm to Vietnamese people. I risked my life more than once, not in combat, but in aiding "common" villagers in tasks they could not accomplice themselves. My OIC (Officer in Charge) was shot down and killed while attempting to evacuate refugees from a besieged A-Camp. HE DID NOT HAVE TO BE ON THAT AIRCRAFT.

You are welcome to your opinion and can state it per the First Amendment but, ethically, you should study and actually know a little bit about the topic before you share an opinion. And for Heaven's sake, keep political opinions on political forums. "Dumbo Drop" hardly glorified warfare. It just exposed the truth that a little bit of good can be found in most things, even things as tragic as warfare.

And to the reviewer who doubted that anything funny ever happens in warfare: You too, speak out of ignorance. I spent two years in country and had many genuine good times, often with the fine Vietnamese soldiers with whom I worked.
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Dumb Fun.
Elbow18 September 1999
Operation Dumbo Drop is one of those movies that despite its' implausible and shallow trappings, is wholely enjoyable.

The movie is set during the Vietnam War, a setting in time not particularly known for its' lightheartedness. The story concerns a group of soldiers who must replace an elephant from a village where one was originally a war casualty. Sound ridiculous? Well, it is. However that does not stop the completely likeable cast including Danny Glover, Ray Liotta and Denis Leary from appearing to have fun with the movie. While the movie is set up as children's fare, there are some relatively intense scenes of war which are inevitable given the setting.

Yet through it all, the story manages to exude humor and warmth which make it easily one of the most pleasant Vietnam-era movies ever. While not necessarily recommended for all kids, this movie is family friendly and entertaining, contrary to popular belief.
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Disney goes to Vietnam
coverme615 August 2001
The Vietnam War makes a really unorthodox setting for a Disney movie, but this movie goes along quite well, thanks to its performances. Danny Glover and Ray Liotta star as the leaders of a rag-tag American platoon in charge of guarding an elephant and its young Vietnamese trainer on a trip to one part of the divided country to another.

Because of its family-friendly base, OPERATION DUMBO DROP plays it

safe with it's war violence. But who says you need bloody, graphic action in order to make a good war-oriented film? As long as the

performances are stellar, the film wins. Case in point is OPERATION DUMBO DROP.
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Underrated
vballbabi7574 July 2004
Operation Dumbo Drop was actually a nice movie in my opinion. Based on a true story it had a nice flowing story line full of action and family-appropriate material. Great actors such as Danny Glover helped the film come alive and send out strong messages. Not the best motion picture.. but it was fun and definitely did/does not deserve the type of criticism I often see it getting. It is a great film for a family movie night or even when you're alone and simply bored. Children and Adults alike can appreciate the exciting action (accompanied with only occasional mild violence), cute humor, and expressed morals and the importance of human kindness. History bluffs would also enjoy this since it takes place during the Vietnam War and shows some interesting details. Overall I believe the movie as a whole deserved at least a 7/10 rating.

-Amanda, Miss Movie Bluff
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5/10
The positive side of Vietnam
Wuchak11 January 2016
Released in 1995, "Operation Dumbo Drop" is a Disney flick inspired by the real story of the US Army supplying an elephant for a village during the Vietnam War. Danny Glover and Ray Liotta star as the two officers in charge of the mission assisted by Denis Leary, Doug E. Doug and Corin Nemec. Dinh Thien Le appears as the boy, Linh, companion of the elephant Bo Tat.

An NCO indirectly linked to the real operation said the movie was much more interesting and fun than the actual event as the mission was pulled off without a hitch with little entertainment value. Being a Disney flick, the combat situations are "Yeah, right" and no one gets hurt, but that's to be expected. Other than this, it's a straight forward dramedy/adventure.

While I'm generally not into Disney flicks, it's nice to see a more positive side of the war after watching movies like "We Were Soldiers," "Platoon" and "A Rumor of War." Believe it or not, there WERE fun, comedic and altruistic occasions over there, every day. Many good Americans perished directly attempting to prevent harm to Vietnamese people. Many risked their lives not in combat, but in aiding civilian villagers in tasks they could not accomplish themselves. Many worked tirelessly to improve the lives of the Vietnamese, providing food, cooking utensils, clothing and other necessities to those displaced by the conflict. Yes, I realize you could argue that they wouldn't be in such a predicament if there was no war, but don't forget that, generally speaking, the South Vietnamese didn't want communistic rule and the conquest-minded NVA were no angels. Look no further than the incredible killing fields of Cambodia.

I love elephants, so I also appreciate this element. What's most enjoyable, besides the great cast, are the exceptional Thailand locations. Although there are a few eye-rolling parts, like all Disney movies, a lot was put into making this film. It's a fun adventure reminiscent of "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom." Unfortunately, there are no key female parts and the "Yeah, right" moments are too painful to give a higher rating.

The movie runs 107 minutes.

GRADE: C+ or B- (5.5/10)
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7/10
Feel good for flying elephants
emdragon10 March 2005
In something Walt Disney would actually have been proud of, Operation Dumbo Drop carries the old Disney tradition of making the audience feel good without regard to it's lack of plausibility. Danny Glover and Ray Liotta, along with Dennis Leary walk a tightrope of comedy in a real war-zone situation and carry this off with a real blend of comedic and acting talent. The acting in this movie is terrific. The cinematography and all the little things that go the extra mile. . like setting, direction, musical score, sound, etc, all come together nicely. And the elephant is a great character actor! The only problem is, of course, it is a terrible war and nobody is dying. This is something traditional with the Disney family genre, but in this picture it really becomes completely implausible and will probably turn off some viewers. That said, if one can ignore the actual ridiculous nature in this total lack of plausibility, I found this picture quite easy to like.
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Information correction
bobby2406121 January 2012
Not to be knit-picky, but, Denis Leary's character was not a lieutenant. He was a "Chief Warrant Officer Grade 3", or "CWO-3" for short. If there is any question of this, one should check out the close-up of Leary to note the bar on his collar with 3 black squares on it.

Should also be noted, wearing of the Beret with colored insignia and flash (patch), was not done during combat operations. The last thing anyone wanted was to be seen because there was something shiny or colorful which could give away one's position to the enemy.

Aside from those inconsistencies, Disney did a great job of putting this motion picture together.

The people chosen, did a fantastic job of being as authentic as possible. Of course, much about the real story had to be quieted down for the sake of the audiences viewing pleasure. Since the real truth of the war was the horror of confrontation.

This was an awesome film, which helped to show an aspect of people in the military, as people. And not the mindless drone killers, some in the population would have the world believe. There was much humanity by the armed forces, but, those are the news stories which the networks DIDN'T show, because it didn't have the flair and sensationalism that was desired by the various network news casts.
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5/10
The Good & Bad Of 'Operation Dumbo Drop'
ccthemovieman-11 July 2006
This movie had some typically-good Disney aspects to it but also some typically- bad Disney agendas in here that just about made me puke.

With modern-day Disney films - or at least the ones in the 1980s and 1990s - you can expect the following "good" and "bad:" This movie proves to be no exception.

GOOD - Slick-looking photography with beautiful Vitenamese scenery; low profanity; an interesting story that moves well.

BAD - Political-correctness run amok......an annoying kid who knows more than the adults; an ending that's always drawn out too long; a reverence for Eastern religions or anything that is not Christianity; a black and a white lead character in which the black is always the better of the two, etc. etc.

A SURPRISE - Danny Glover and Ray Liotta losing their tempers but not swearing a blue streak. Wow, now that's different!
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7/10
The value of one's word
Freddy-382 June 2001
Linh reminds us of a younger brother of a dear friend. After hearing so many tragic stories about Vietnam, it is heartwarming to be reminded that the true American spirit was alive and well during that awful time. We hear of the beauty in that country and of the wonderful people who reside there -- this was just a glimpse into that world.

This movie presented a good account of some of the Americans and some of the Vietnamese.

We found ourselves rooting for a successful mission and a keeping of one's word. What can be of more value than a person's word? That is what this very entertaining movies is all about. The value of one's word.
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