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A Bright Shining Lie (1998)

TV Movie  |  R  |   |  Drama, War  |  30 May 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 1,153 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 6 critic

True story of Army man John Paul Vann, whose military success provided him the fulfillment he never found in his personal life.



(book), (teleplay)
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Title: A Bright Shining Lie (TV Movie 1998)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bo Eason ...
William L. Mansey ...
Robert L. Hull ...
'Josh' Somsak Orajan ...
Vann's ARVN Driver
Bill Whelan ...
Kay Tong Lim ...
Seng Kawee ...
VC Leader (as Kawee 'Seng' Sirikhanerut)
Kajie Khan ...
Madame Nhu (as Kajie Kahn)


Something in his past keeps career Army man John Paul Vann from advancing past colonel. He views being sent to Vietnam as part of the US military advisory force a stepping stone to promotion. However, he disagrees vocally (and on the record) with the way the war is being run and is forced to leave the military. Returning to Vietnam as a civilian working with the Army, he comes to despise some South Vietnamese officers while he takes charge of some of the U.S. forces and continues his liaisons with Vietnamese women. Written by Ron Kerrigan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In war as in life the difference between truth and deception is what a man allows himself to believe.


Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for war violence and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

30 May 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mentiras de guerra  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


John: It is not true that we are here to solve problems, sir. WE are the problem.
See more »


Featured in The 56th Annual Golden Globe Awards (1999) See more »


I'm Sorry
Written by Ronnie Self & Dub Allbritten
Performed by Brenda Lee
Courtesy of MCA Records
Under License from Universal Music Special Markets
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User Reviews

A Great Effort
15 February 2001 | by (England) – See all my reviews

While not in the same league as Go Tell The Spartans, which had the presence of Burt Lancaster if nothing else, this is a commendable effort to bring a huge and impressive piece of non-fiction to the screen.

Never shown in the cinema in the UK, my wife and I saw it on imported DVD. She was very impressed (having not read the book) and thought it conveyed something of the complexity of the subject very well and was very enlightening.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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