American Experience investigates the My Lai massacre an atrocity during the Vietnam War that killed more than 300 unarmed civilians.




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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


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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Release Date:

26 April 2010 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Poor documentary.
18 November 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

SPOILERS! WARNING; SPOILERS A very poor documentary loaded with half-truths, lies, and apparently very little research. Not too informative and certainly different from court transcripts and interviews many years ago. I guess some memories change over the years.

The Dan Rather, 60 Minutes, interview with Paul Meadlo on TV and the Life photos lead to the arrests. And some soldiers under Calley were arrested, charged and were waiting trial. Those charges were dropped after Medina was found not guilty.

There were no shots fired that morning except by the US military. The first shots came from a helicopter that murdered an innocent farmer.

Although there were some arbitrary murders at first, when they entered My Lai two groups of inhabitants were gathered up and executed by Lt. Calley, and Paul Meadlo.

Then the village was torched, people were shot by their huts and along the road.

Many soldiers didn't take part in the murdering of those innocent civilians.

Calley was convicted of killing 109 civilians. Medina was charged with killing the woman (witnessed by helicopter crew) and a little boy running from the village. The estimate of murders that morning range from 300 to over 500.

There's a brief scene with the photograph talking about his photo of some living women and children and he states he turned around and they're all on the ground.

He saw who shot them.

After that group was gathered together, Calley ordered Meadlo and another soldier to take care of them. Calley left, returned and asked why they didn't follow his order: had meant to waste them. One soldier (from RI) refused and walked away. Meadlo, crying, and Calley murdered those people.

At the ditch, two soldiers refused and walked away as Meadlo and Calley killed the first group thrown in the ditch. A two year old boy ran from the ditch. Calley chased him, caught him, threw him in the ditch and shot him. That boy was one of the 109 people he was convicted of murdering.

There's is no rational excuse for what Calley and Medina did. I don't think the documentary even touched how responsible those two really were. The orders Medina gave his troops and his officers wasn't mentioned in the video. Although Medina denied giving those orders during his trial, the numerous witnesses were quite believable.

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