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The Ugly American (1963)

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An ambitious scholar becomes the ambassador of Sarkan, a southeast Asian country where civil war is brewing.

Director:

George Englund

Writers:

William J. Lederer (novel), Eugene Burdick (novel) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Marlon Brando ... Ambassador Harrison Carter MacWhite
Eiji Okada ... Deong
Sandra Church ... Marion MacWhite
Pat Hingle ... Homer Atkins
Arthur Hill ... Grainger
Jocelyn Brando ... Emma Atkins
Kukrit Pramoj Kukrit Pramoj ... Prime Minister Kwen Sai
Judson Pratt ... Joe Bing
Reiko Sato ... Rachani, Deong's Wife
George Shibata George Shibata ... Munsang
Judson Laire ... Senator Brenner
Philip Ober ... Ambassador Sears
Yee Tak Yip Yee Tak Yip ... Sawad, Deong's Assistant
Carl Benton Reid ... Senator at Confirmation Hearing
Simon Scott Simon Scott ... Johnson
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Storyline

An intelligent, articulate scholar, Harrison MacWhite, survives a hostile Senate confirmation hearing at the hands of conservatives to become ambassador to Sarkan, a southeast Asian country where civil war threatens a tense peace. Despite his knowledge, once he's there, MacWhite sees only a dichotomy between the U.S. and Communism. He can't accept that anti-American sentiment might be a longing for self-determination and nationalism. So, he breaks from his friend Deong, a local opposition leader, ignores a foreman's advice about slowing the building of a road, and tries to muscle ahead. What price must the country and his friends pay for him to get some sense? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Most Important Adventure of Our Time! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 August 1963 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

Der häßliche Amerikaner See more »

Filming Locations:

Bangkok, Thailand See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Directorial debut of George Englund. See more »

Goofs

As it is landing, the TWA plane is a Convair 880. When it arrives at the gate for deplaning, it has turned into a Boeing 707. See more »

Quotes

Ambassador Harrison Carter MacWhite: I'd like to interrupt, eh, gentlemen, to point out that the only thing that is clear so far is that there's no clarity at all. So if you don't mind, we'll stop this squabbling and I'll present you with some facts. About three hours ago, there were several people trampled to death, a policeman was pistol-whipped until his face looked like raspberry jam, and the man who represents the person of the president of United States was almost killed, along with his wife, and other members of his party. ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Annie Laurie
(uncredited)
Music by Lady John Scott; poem by William Douglas (1672-1748)
Excerpt performed unaccompanied by Marlon Brando
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Viet Nam 1963
18 April 2009 | by kdobronyiSee all my reviews

I was in Viet Nam from June 1963 to March 1964. We saw "The Ugly American" at the American movie theatre in Saigon, the Capitol Kinh Do.

There were many Americans and their dependents in Saigon and in Viet Nam at this time--most were isolated with cocktail parties, teas, and American activities. Most American children went to the American Community School outside of Tan Son Nhut Air Base. Their parents belonged to the exclusive Cercle Sportiff, hobnobbing with the Vietnamese elite who monetarily benefited from the war. There were opportunities for American civilians to teach the Vietnamese English, but I never knew of any opportunities for Americans to learn Vietnamese or national customs.

Many of the children of the diplomatic corps were instructed that if their shirt tails hung out or if they ate with their fingers when eating implements were available, they would be considered "ugly Americans." Nothing was said about the teenage boys drinking, whoring, and racing their motorcycles through the darkened Saigon streets in the early morning hours. Nothing was said about how we knew the way to "win" the war against the popular nationalist freedom fighter known as Ho Chi Minh who organized the successful campaigns against the Japanese and French occupiers.

Perhaps if we had listened a little more, learned the language and customs, and understood that the desire for national freedom is not communism, we wouldn't still be trying to "win" the Vietnam War.


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