The Quiet American (2002)

R  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Romance  |  7 March 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 23,326 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
See  »

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 »


Alden's dog "Duke" is a "meat mouth" Shar-Pei. This variation of the breed did not become common until after Shar-Pei had been brought to the U.S. in the 1960s, more than ten years after the events in this film are set. See more »


[first lines]
Thomas Fowler: [voiceover] 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. 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. ...
See more »


Remake of The Quiet American (1958) See more »


So Do I
Written by Johnny Burke / Arthur Johnston
(c) Anne-Rachel Music Corporation & J Albert & Son Pty Ltd
See more »

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User Reviews

Brilliant adaptation
3 April 2003 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

Phillip Noyce achieves a remarkable triumph in his version of The Quiet American by staying true the Graham Greene's text. Christopher Hampton's adaptation of the book never strays away from the basic premise of the story. This film in someone else's hands would have probably evolved into a war epic. Noyce and Hampton stay focused on the two main characters, who, after all, are the key to the story.

It's hard to think Thomas Fowler was not tailor made for Michael Caine. He was born to play this part. His characterization of this troubled soul is remarkable. Mr. Caine gets the essence of Fowler without any effort, or so it seems. He is a jaded man who understands the Viet Nam before the American involvement. He knows he can't go home again to a loveless marriage, one in which he will not be able to escape after having experienced things he never would have thought possible in starchy old London.

Brendan Fraser is an actor with a lot of experience in the theater, even though his choices in films leave a lot to be desired. As he proved with Gods and Monsters, he can hold his own against a great British actor such as Ian McKellen, or on an equal footing with Michael Caine in this film. His take on Alden Pyle is as vicious, devious and sly as Graham Greene made him out to be. Mr. Fraser gets under the skin of Pyle with such flair in the creation of this enigmatic man.

The rest of the cast is not up to the two principals, but it's the confrontation between Fowler and Pyle what really makes this a tremendous acting feast.

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Why Isn't It Mentioned That This Was a Remake??? sh_karst
The Love Triangle - Pyle's Ridiculousness? boredlittleperson
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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