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Word of Honor
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Word of Honor (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

It really makes you wonder...

Author: Tina from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
31 December 2003

'Word of Honor' was a fabulous and very touching movie. It's a movie that really makes you think about the world and why things are done the way they are. Don Johnson's outstanding performance as Lieutenant Benjamin Tyson, a Vietnam Vet who has carried the horrible secret of a brutal massacre committed 30 years earlier, was superb! The passion was real...the love was real...the intensity was real...the tears were real. This movie really shows how the media can take one person's life and completely tear it apart and turn it upside down...and how one man's struggle to save his family, his marriage, and his life, goes through the ultimate test of all. Can he protect his family, his men and himself? Was Lt. Tyson made an example of by the Army, for events that happened years before? Now, I'm a huge fan of Don Johnson, but even if you're not a fan of Don Johnson, this is a movie that's definitely worth won't be disappointed! Word of Honor is one of THE BEST tv movies of 2003!

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Barely Watchable

Author: dansview from United States
8 March 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Don Johnson has a certain presence that makes him watchable in most of his projects. It's a sort of a gravitas combined with the cool alpha southern guy. He does not possess a huge range, as evidenced by this performance and most others, but in the final courtroom scene, he gives a fine emotional yet understated performance.

I was convinced that this was going to be another movie depicting American soldiers as sadistic, maniacal murderers and rapists. It basically was, but Johnson's speech at the end balances things out with an interesting and original use of logic.

He admits that his fellow soldiers did something terrible, but suggests that their acts were crimes of passion during an otherwise honorable period of service and subsequent honorable lifetimes.

The only way the movie can exist is if we don't get to hear Johnson's account of the key event in Vietnam until the end of the movie. Everything hinged on this suspense. Therefore he awkwardly refuses to tell his own wife and kid what happened, and we don't hear him tell his own lawyer.

One reviewer already mentioned that the key witness, a French nun, became black over the 30 year period since the war. She was a missionary, but perhaps we are supposed to assume that she went through a skin pigmentation darkening process. Michael Jackson was a missionary too.

I usually love Jeanne Tripplehorn, but she was wooden in this one. I usually love John Heard too. I guess he was OK, but I really didn't get a feel for who the hell he was.

More importantly, I still don't understand why the soldiers massacred everyone. I guess Johnson's speech about temporary insanity explains it. They were distraught over the deaths of their fellow soldiers and suspicious of everyone, they were fatigued, and they just lost it.

There is one born again Christian in the adult version of the platoon whom we see when they reunite in D.C. But it would have been nice to see Don Johnson's character consult with a clergyman.

Also, as one other reviewer cleverly mentioned, I saw no evidence that the Johnson character's marriage was so sacred. He tells his lawyer that his wife and kid are everything to him, but it seems like his wife is just a sexy blonde with whom he has a lukewarm relationship.

This picture is slow, has low budget production values, is filled with clichés, and makes little sense. The Vietnam sequences are totally unrealistic and clichéd too. One soldier even says, "Don't die on me man," while he holds his bloodied friend. I've never heard that one before.

Stay away from this stinker, unless you are a Johnson fan, or just have a penchant for anything to do with Vietnam. It includes Arliss Howard, a pleasing actor from the 80s as well.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

The strength of honor is put to the test.

Author: Michael O'Keefe from Muskogee OK
20 December 2003

A very good TNT original movie made for TV. A former Army Lieutenant(Don Johnson) sees his world falling apart when allegations that his platoon slaughtered innocent civilians thirty years ago in a hospital massacre. Jeanne Tripplehorn plays the Army Major prosecutor. The defending attorney is played flawlessly by Arlin Howard. Also in the cast is Sharon Lawrence as the Lieutenant's lovely wife; John Heard as the platoon member "blowing the whistle" and Johnson's son Jesse plays the young Lieutenant in Vietnam. Good courtroom drama. Well worth watching. It's also nice seeing Johnson letting go of some of the ego. He is aging nicely and still can command a scene.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A Man's Movie

Author: MEEdmo42 from Goshen, IN, USA
7 December 2003

This is much more a man's movie with all the flashbacks of an episode in the Vietnam War. Don Johnson does an excellent job in the lead role and his son the same as a younger version of him. This should get his son many more offers of roles. I enjoyed it perhaps because of a chance to see once more the talent of Don Johnson in a good role. He has aged well since Nash Bridges. Good war remembrance movie, reminding us again how this war affected those involved, so many of them very young at the time.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Amazing Don Johnson performance

Author: ali-37 from New York City
7 August 2005

I had never heard of this movie but I'm a great fan of DeMille. I was totally blown away by Johnson's performance. He's way more believable than Sean Penn who always overacts. Johnson's performance is subtle even when he breaks down at the end. Great Great great. There's a great line in the film about the media being a giant conglomerate only interested in exploiting human tragedy for big bucks but calling it a search for truth.(Funny how apt this is with the NY Times looking into the adoption of Judge Roberts' kids) If this had been a feature film, I'm sure Johnson would have been nominated for an Oscar.The rest of the cast was so so but it doesn't make any difference. When Johnson is on the screen, the film is riveting. I also thought it was great that his son played him in the flashback scenes.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Wonderful performance!

Author: teejay-4 from NYC
8 December 2003

This Don Johnson performance should show everyone who has been guilty of characterizing this man as more style than substance how wrong they have been!

The underrated Johnson gives a moving performance as Tyson, a man tortured by this horrendous incident from his past who tries to come to grips with it without hurting anyone around him. Breathtaking!

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Don Johnson blew me away!

Author: mermath from California
4 June 2004

I don't usually add to this "comments" aspect of IMDb. But let me tell you, Don Johnson was AMAZING and blew me away, and if I didn't sit down and write about it, I was going to explode.

Truthfully, although Sharon Lawrence did an extremely competent job (sometimes really good) as his wife, the rest of the supporting cast was OK at best. Some really bad performances, in fact, that just make you cringe, but that you will often get on TV movies. The guys in the flashback sections did alright, especially Don Johnson's son. But other than that, you are just waiting for Don Johnson to come back on screen. And he does, so it's worth waiting for those moments:) And let me emphasize that I am NOT some teeny-bopper Don Johnson fan. I've never even liked his work that much before. But if you get a chance to see this (I got an Academy viewer; I'm not sure if they come out on DVD or not) you MUST check this out. I'm so impressed with what Mr.Johnson is capable of, and I'm really looking forward to his next movie.

If this had been a feature film, I would say that it was Oscar worthy.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Literally compelling viewing!

Author: Carycomic from Torrington, CT, USA
8 December 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

At least, as far as I'm concerned. *Some spoilers ahead.* Jesse Johnson was nicely cast as flashback-Tyson. Not only for his resemblance to Daddy Don! But, also, the sincerely promising potential he showed, as an actor, in general. What's more, I just loved the way they maintained the mystery behind older Tyson's silence, right up until the end. Whether they deserved it or not, he thought of his ex-platoon mates before himself. A feeling they obviously didn't think had to be mutual (the b******s)! In short, this is a five-star movie that does NOT make me regret missing certain portions of "Picking Up & Dropping Off," against which this was counter-programmed.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:


Author: susannahbsmith from United States
30 March 2006

I put off watching this movie for several years because it just didn't sound like something I'd like, and there have been so many badly-done Vietnam-remembrance movies. I didn't want to see one of my favorite actors (Don Johnson) in one. When the movie began I had no idea that Don's son Jesse plays him as a young soldier, and couldn't figure out where they'd found someone who looks EXACTLY like he did in his 20's to play his younger self!! Then the words "Jesse Johnson" flashed across the screen and I about dropped my glass of iced tea --Jesse's grown up! How time flies. So I settled in to watch with a critical eye. The younger Johnson played his part flawlessly, never over-acting, but very believable in very difficult circumstances. The movie shields the viewer from the truth quite well, I couldn't figure out what actually happened at all until it is revealed.

Don is characteristically excellent, but then I am admittedly biased. To me Mr. Johnson gets into the heart of his characters like few other American actors today. Through his soulful handling of the difficult character he plays the movie's message comes through loud and clear.

It would have been a stronger movie if the character playing Marcy had been stronger. Although many of us may have skeletons in the closet, she comes across as a bit of a screaming mimi and "why me?" character. If these characters had a good marriage before (reportedly, we don't see enough to judge IMHO), then her first reaction shouldn't have been to be defensive and and offensive by turns to her husband. It would have been better if we had seen a Marcy worth fighting for, as Ben Tyson claims that "his family is everything," and he struggles to put them first all the while he is fighting what is happening. There is a scene where you finally understand why & how important his family is to him, but to me it comes waaaaaay too late in the movie. A few more close-family scenes in the first hour, and a wife less shallow & selfish, would have gone further to me to establish what Ben Tyson actually had, and would have upped my rating by at least one point. This guy is fighting the battle of his life and trying to save his marriage at the same time, and you want to ask him why he doesn't just tell her off at some point. His son's character has more depth and is very believable.

All in all, an excellent movie worth a few repeat watches. It definitely leaves you with a few deep thoughts at the end, not the least of which is, "Who is Thucydides, anyway? Must check him out...."

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Did he just say "Honor" ?

Author: oliverdearlove from United Kingdom
20 August 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you are not American you should give this film a miss. It has nothing to say to anyone who has not got Vietnam in his country's history

It is a flash back film of a court martial and the events which precipitated it. Caine Mutiny it isn't and even that had its defects. A French Nun is trotted out as an end of film dea ex machina to give an true account of what really happened

Bad behaviour and scape goating is the name of the game and anyone who is not American will gape with disbelief at the indiscipline of conscripts in the seventies. A viewer will ask "they didn't do that, did they?" and then wonder why it is portrayed in fiction

The main character's soliloquy at the end is said to make up or sum up the ethos of the film - but to foreign ears it just sounds like an apology for war crimes, on the level of 'oops my finger slipped so that's OK'

Any European should give this film a miss

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