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Return with Honor (1998)

The story of U.S. fighter pilots shot down over North Vietnam who became POWs for up to 8 and a half years.
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Cast

Credited cast:
Everett Alvarez
Ron Bliss
Fred Cherry
George Day
Jeremiah Denton
Jerry Denton
Paul Galanti
...
Narrator
Douglas Hegdahl
Sam Johnson
Tom Madison
John McGrath
George McKnight
Kevin McManus
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The story of U.S. fighter pilots shot down over North Vietnam who became POWs for up to 8 and a half years.

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Documentary

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Release Date:

11 June 1999 (USA)  »

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Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
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1.66 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Long overdue documentary is fascinating.
25 June 1999 | by (Austin, Texas) – See all my reviews

"Return with Honor" is a fascinating documentary about the men who were held prisoner at the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" during the Vietnam War.

For me, the most compelling part of the film is that it takes the viewer into the mind-set of these men while they were there. They went into combat with their minds full of glory and honor, but they found out the hard way that war really is hell. And then when they were released, they experienced euphoria at things we take for granted, such as ice water and clean sheets.

They took all sorts of torture from the guards, were humiliated for all the world to see, and yet they refused to let themselves become despondent or become indoctrinated. This is largely due to the influence of Jim Stockdale, who is not the dottering old fool he seemed to be during the 1992 Vice-Presidential debate. In this film, he comes across as a leader anyone should be proud to follow.

While, in general this film is very good and very moving, there were a few minor problems. First of all, there was only so much footage of the men taken while they were prisoners. This means that during much of the film, we see the same shots of the prison as it now stands over and over again. Also, the men's stories of torture are so similar, that at times it seems like overkill when one more man tells of his ordeal. Another problem is that the perspectives of the men's wives is given short shrift, and the perspectives of their children are completely ignored. One final problem is that, in order to give the film a feel-good vibe, the domestic unrest is skimmed over and the welcome home festivities are exaggerated.

Overall, I would say that a documentary of this type has been overdue to the American public for twenty-five years. While this is not the great film it could (and should) have been, it is still very good and I recommend it to anyone who knows anyone else who was in Vietnam.


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