The American Experience: Season 22, Episode 6

My Lai (26 Apr. 2010)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary | History
8.3
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American Experience investigates the My Lai massacre an atrocity during the Vietnam War that killed more than 300 unarmed civilians.

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Title: My Lai (26 Apr 2010)

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Aubrey Daniel ...
Himself - Army Prosecutor
Fred Widmer ...
Himself - Radio Operator
Lawrence La Croix ...
Himself - Squad Leader
Greg Olsen ...
Himself - Machine Gunner
...
Himself - CBS News Anchor (archive footage)
John Smail ...
Himself - Squad Leader
Michael Bilton ...
Himself - Writer
Kenneth Hodges ...
Himself - Squad Leader
Thomas Turner ...
Himself - Team Leader
Jerome Walsh ...
Himself - Investigator, Peers Commission
Thomas Partsch ...
Himself - Grenadier
Do Ba ...
Himself - My Lai Villager
Ha Thi Quy ...
Herself - My Lai Villager
James S. Olson ...
Himself - Historian
Jonathan Schell ...
Himself - Writer
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Storyline

The experiences of Charlie Company leading up to the My Lai massacre and the circumstances of the event make the tragedy seem almost inevitable but for a few heroic souls who tried to stop it. Following a detailed account of the event, American Experience examines the Army cover-up, the subsequent investigation and the defacto cover-up after the release of Lt. Calley. Soldiers involved in the massacre and survivors describe their experience and how they later dealt with their memory of the tragedy. Written by David Foss

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26 April 2010 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

 
Pretty sad stuff....
22 March 2012 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Back in the late 60s and early 70s, My Lai was a HUGE news story. However, I was just a kid and don't remember all the hubbub about it. It turned out that a company of American soldiers massacred a village of peaceful civilians. The fact that this happened isn't surprising. After all, it was hard to know who the enemy was back then. Many non-combatants actually were working with the Viet Cong. So, even kids and women were known for tossing grenades at soldiers--and so it was hard to trust anyone. I am not excusing it--just trying to explain some of it. Additionally, the men were told to kill and the enemy was very illusive--and men were being picked off repeatedly and the soldiers wanted to fight and end this once and for all. Again, I am not justifying the massacre--just some of the reasons behind it.

To me, the most interesting part of the story is NOT that it occurred--but that so many tried so hard to suppress the story. Starting at the top, the investigation was stymied. And, although over 500 folks were murdered, only one person was found guilty of this--and he only served four months!!! Perhaps those higher up were afraid if the men were found guilty that the public would then ask what led up to this and should we even be in the war.

This episode of "The American Experience" discusses all this in some detail--particularly the incidents leading up to it. The show is packed with interviews and photos (some of which are pretty gruesome). The bottom line is whether or not a war is warranted, this is NOT how you fight it--and the show did an excellent job in detailing this sad case.


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