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Daughter from Danang (2002)

Separated at the end of the Vietnam war, an "Americanized" woman and her Vietnamese mother are reunited after 22 years.
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Mai Thi Kim ...
Heidi Neville-Bub ...
Himself (archive footage)
Tom Miller ...
Tran Tuong Nhu ...
Mabel Neville ...
Don Neville ...
Royce Hughes ...
Wanda Hamlett ...
John Bub ...
Do Huu Vinh ...
Do Trong Tinh ...
Do Thi Thu Hien ...
Do Thi Hong Lien ...
Dinh Dung ...


In 1975, as the Vietnam War was ending, thousands of orphans and Amerasian children were brought to the United States as part of "Operation Babylift." Daughter from Danang tells the dramatic story of one of these children, Heidi Bub (a.k.a. Mai Thi Hiep), and her Vietnamese mother, Mai Thi Kim, separated at the war's end and reunited 22 years later. Heidi, now living in Tennessee - a married woman with kids - had always dreamt of a joyful reunion. When she ventures to Vietnam to meet her mother, she unknowingly embarks on an emotional pilgrimage that spans decades and distance. Unlike most reunion stories that climax with a cliché happy ending, Daughter from Danang is a real-life drama. Journeying from the Vietnam War to Pulaski, Tennessee and back to Vietnam, Daughter from Danang tensely unfolds as cultural differences and the years of separation take their toll in a riveting film about longing and the personal legacy of war. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | War






Release Date:

11 January 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I kori apo to Danang  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


[last line]
Heidi Neville-Bub: I guess I have closed the door on them... But I didn't lock the door. It's closed but not locked
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User Reviews

Not prepared for this..
18 August 2007 | by (Belgique) – See all my reviews

Just like Heidi wasn't prepared for the way she was treated in Vietnam, I wasn't prepared for watching this emotionally violent documentary. I expected a "good feeling" documentary, showing what could be perceived as some kind of reconciliation between USA and Vietnam, by the public.. How can a daughter-finds-back-her-mother ever turn our to be a sad story? I had better braced myself.

The first moments of the reunion, at the airport, already start to show a distance between the mother and daughter. Such violent emotions.. You can feel the daughter shying away. I was thinking that the documentary would hide the bad stuff and only focus on superficial emotions. It did not, and that's why it's such a great documentary.

First off, it doesn't present a negative view of Americans nor Vietnamese. It just shows a few individuals from those two cultures, without attempting to make them look bad or worse. Heidi is not the typical American girl and neither is her mother the typical Vietnamese mother. It isn't any more Vietnamese than American to have strong emotions like Mai and pour out every time. Such characters exist in both cultures. Just watch Oprah and Dr. Phil and you'll see lots of crying and overreacting. As a matter of fact, many Vietnamese consider improper the display of strong emotions in public.

Now this being said, the movie shows what culture shock is all about.

Heidi has been raised in America, where bread is white and meat comes in burgers. She can't stand the smell of fresh fish in a hot market. She can't stand being in Vietnam for so long, with such heat, humidity, without her commodities. Many Americans and Europeans would feel just the same. To show it on film is not a stab at American culture or a display of American egocentricity. It is a mere fact of life : if you grow up in comfort, even at the expense of freshness and excitement, it is hard to give it up.

On the other hand, the whole "fillial obligation" thing in Vietnam is real, but it is not just about the money. I don't think Heidi was crying because she was being asked money, but rather because she saw them clinging desperately at her as if she were a Saviour. No one can handle that kind of emotional pressure, combined with all the extra attention she kept getting. However, she just needed say No and they backed off.

I think that the two sides need to work a little to make this a better relationship. I wonder how the viewing of this movie was perceived by both parties. It must be terribly difficult for them to watch.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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