American Experience: Season 13, Episode 4

Return with Honor (14 Nov. 2000)

TV Episode  |   |  Documentary, History
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Title: Return with Honor (14 Nov 2000)

Return with Honor (14 Nov 2000) on IMDb 6/10

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Episode credited cast:
Everett Alvarez ...
Ron Bliss ...
Fred Cherry ...
George Day ...
Jeremiah Denton ...
Jerry Denton ...
Paul Galanti ...
Himself - Narrator
Douglas Hegdahl ...
Sam Johnson ...
Tom Madison ...
John McGrath ...
George McKnight ...
Kevin McManus ...


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Release Date:

14 November 2000 (USA)  »

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Tough to watch but inspiring.
15 March 2012 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

"Return With Honor" is a documentary produced by Tom Hanks. It chronicles many of the stories of US pilots who were shot down over North Vietnam and incarcerated in the prison nicknamed 'The Hanoi Hilton'. Most of it simply consists of these men recounting their stories--and often you see footage of them from the Vietnam era to accompany their stories.

I must admit that this is a bit tough to watch--particularly if you lived through the Vietnam era and lost friends in the war. As a kid, I remember hearing the horror stories of the American prisoners once they were released from North Vietnam--and once again, these horrible stories are recounted from a wide variety of vets. However, if you watch you'll also notice that despite the terrible treatment, there was something about these men that allowed them to somehow overcome and survive in this hellish setting. Hearing their stories, while disturbing, was also quite inspiring. I am not sure how much impact this will have on younger folks watching the documentary--I just know it brought back some old memories--and probably will bring back memories of viewers who remember the war better than I do. Overall, very well done--mostly because it avoids what ifs, politics and the like--it's just the pilots' stories.

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