This film describes Navy Commander Jeremiah Denton's 7 and a half years as a prisoner of war. Held in numerous, brutal POW camps, he faced starvation, torture and terrible living conditions... See full summary »
"It's never a bad day when there's a doorknob on the inside of the door"
Background: I saw this film ten years ago (1998). I was an associate the law firm at which one of the featured POWs, Ron Bliss, was a partner. (I knew Ron in a casual, work relationship, but had never heard his story from him. He never made a big deal of it.) So, I was perhaps pre-disposed to view the film favorably due to that relationship. Perhaps this review is colored by my recollections of the film 10 years later. Perhaps that is telling (of what stays with me after a decade). I was born in 1970, after the events documented by this film took place. Growing up in public schools in the 1970s and 1980s, I wasn't taught much (and certainly not much objectively) about the war in Viet Nam. This film blew me away. Looking back ten years, it perhaps is no surprise that it took 35+ years from the events for the story to be told in this way--removed from the passions and politics of the time, with only the human elements surviving.
Trying to be apolitical, I must say that the men documented in this film are genuine heroes. Not because of the situations life thrust on them, but because of how they reacted. While I can't recall all of the details of the film, ten years after viewing it, I vividly remember (and often consider when things in my life may be difficult) one of the closing comments from one of the POWs: "It's never a bad day when there's a doorknob on the inside of the door." That comment has helped me through many personal situations. Both literally and figuratively, it tells us that when we have some control over our circumstances, we have no reason to complain. I have never experienced what these men lived through, and I pray to God I never do, but I am comforted to know that the human spirit, with faith, can withstand it.
Sorry to sound trite, but this this film changed my worldview. It is worth seeing. If you were born after 1968 and have any interest in history, you owe it to yourself to see this film. I am off now to find a copy on the internet so that I can show it to my kids (who were not yet born even when the film was made....)
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