The Quiet American (2002)

R  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Romance  |  7 March 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 23,440 users   Metascore: 84/100
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An older British reporter vies with a young U.S. doctor for the affections of a beautiful Vietnamese woman.



(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Inspector Vigot (as Rade Sherbedgia)
Joe Tunney
Quang Hai ...
General Thé
Mr. Muoi
Pham Thi Mai Hoa ...
Mathias Mlekuz ...
Kevin Tran ...
Watch Tower Soldier
Lap Phan ...
Watch Tower Soldier
Tim Bennett ...
American Photographer
Dancing American


British Thomas Fowler enjoys his life in Saigon working as a reporter for the London Times, covering the conflict in Vietnam between the colonial French powers and the communists, who seem to be winning the war. In the later stages of his career, he takes his job lightly now, filing stories only on occasion, and no longer doing field work. But most important, this posting allows him to escape from what he considers a dreary life in London--including an unsatisfying marriage to a Catholic woman, who will never grant him a divorce--which in turn allows him to have an affair with a young Vietnamese ex-taxi dancer named Phuong, whom he loves and would marry if he were able. Phuong's sister doesn't much like Fowler if only because Fowler cannot provide a stable future for her. His idyllic life is threatened when head office suggests he go back to London. In this way, he decides to write a major story to prove to his superiors that he should stay in Saigon. In 1952, Fowler is called into ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


In war, the most powerful weapon is seduction.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:


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Release Date:

7 March 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der stille Amerikaner  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$101,663 (USA) (22 November 2002)


$12,987,647 (USA) (1 August 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film ends with newspaper stories written by Thomas Fowler about Vietnam from 1954 to 1966. However the book on which the film was based was published in 1955, so these are mostly events which happened after the book came out. See more »


When Pyle is coming to visit Fowler in his apartment for the final time, his dog supposedly leaves a footprint in wet cement which is a clue for the detective. In the scene shown, the dog never touches the cement (his paw lands on a nearby tile). See more »


[first lines]
Thomas Fowler: [narrating] I can't say what made me fall in love with Vietnam.That a woman's voice can drug you? That everything is so intense? The colors, the taste, even the rain. Nothing like the filthy rain in London.
Thomas Fowler: They say whatever you're looking for, you will find here. They say you come to Vietnam and you understand a lot in a few minutes, but the rest has got to be lived. The smell: that's the first thing that hits you, promising everything in exchange for your soul. And the heat. Your ...
See more »


Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »


Nhac Long
Written by Canh Than
Performed by Ngoc Bao
See more »

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User Reviews

Well Made But Too Complex To Be Entirely Cinematic
18 January 2006 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

The story starts with the body of American Adrien Pyle , a medical specialist , being found in a river in Saigon . He has been stabbed to death and London Times journalist Thomas Fowler recounts to the authorities how he knew the man

TQE is a very strange film to comment on simply because I get the feeling that it is based on a very complex political novel by Graham Greene and it's interesting to note how many people on this page have commentated on how well or how badly it has been adapted to screen . It's also interesting to note that it was filmed in the spring of 2001 when George Bush's " war on terrorism " had not happened which clouds the issue more . People on the message boards have written many political threads to tie in with this but it's very interesting that Greene's original novel was written several years before Lyndon B Johnson sent combat troops to South East Asia , so Greene is criticisng American foreign policy in general and an intelligent , cogent way , not so much jumping on the fashionable bandwagon with Michael Moore , John Pilger and George Monbiot so I guess for that he deserves some credit

As a film what makes it so successful is with the casting . Michael Caine as we all know is a living legend and the fact that he has appeared in so many awful movies simply for the money while still retaining prestigious star quality speaks volumes for his talent and as you might expect in this type of role he's superb . What is even more amazing than Caine's performance is that of Brendan Fraser's as Adrien Pyle . I've just remembered how good he was in GODS AND MONSTERS and he's equally as good here as a man who's not what he seems to be . One can't help thinking how well he'd be regarded as an actor if he'd decided to skip THE MUMMY films which unfortunately seems to have prematurely killed his career . Certainly I wasn't reminded of Rick O'Connel while watching this

Where the film falters is - Again - where it shows its literary roots . There's no way you can confuse a Graham Greene novel with a Harold Robbins one , but there's maybe too much of a romantic subplot which gets in the way of the real story and you find your self questioning as to what the main story . Is it the political one or the love triangle ?

22 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The Love Triangle - Pyle's Ridiculousness? boredlittleperson
Why Isn't It Mentioned That This Was a Remake??? sh_karst
Tired... fitzpatrick_ann
Question: Blood on pants leg... eamolsen
"Too much focus on the love story and not enough politics??? WTF??? antonio_109
Anyone studying the text? Themes... xslayer
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