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The Green Berets (1968)

G | | Drama, War | 27 July 1968 (Japan)
2:57 | Trailer

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Col. Mike Kirby picks two teams of crack Green Berets for a mission in South Vietnam. First off is to build and control a camp that is trying to be taken by the enemy the second mission is to kidnap a North Vietnamese General.


James Lee Barrett (screenplay), Robin Moore (novel)
2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Wayne ... Col. Mike Kirby
David Janssen ... George Beckworth
Jim Hutton ... Sgt. Petersen
Aldo Ray ... Sgt. Muldoon
Raymond St. Jacques ... Sgt. Doc McGee
Bruce Cabot ... Col. Morgan
Jack Soo ... Col. Cai
George Takei ... Capt. Nim
Patrick Wayne ... Lt. Jamison
Luke Askew ... Sgt. Provo
Irene Tsu ... Lin
Edward Faulkner ... Capt. MacDaniel
Jason Evers ... Capt. Coleman
Mike Henry ... Sgt. Kowalski
Craig Jue Craig Jue ... Hamchunk


U.S. Special Forces troops ("Green Berets") under the command of Colonel Mike Kirby defend a firebase during the Vietnam war. War correspondent George Beckwith accompanies Kirby and objects to both the war and the means by which it is executed. Kirby's firebase is overrun and his troops fight bravely to retake it. Kirby and a select group of his men are then ordered on a special mission to capture a high-level Viet Cong officer. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A special force in a special kind of hell! See more »


Drama | War


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »





English | Vietnamese | German | Danish

Release Date:

27 July 1968 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Die grünen Teufel See more »

Filming Locations:

Ft. McClellen, Alabama, USA See more »


Box Office


$7,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Batjac Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


During the Vietnam War, John Wayne was highly critical of American teenagers who went to Europe and Canada to dodge the draft, calling them "cowards", "traitors" and "communists". See more »


When Colonel Kirby acts as jump master about 109 minutes into the film, he orders his troops to hook up their static lines, but he never actually hooks up himself. After the troops jump, he is seen exiting the aircraft, still not hooked up. This means his main chute won't open, and he will have to activate his reserve manually. A big mistake for a jump master to make. See more »


George Beckworth: Is this what you really do out here? Sponsor an Inquisition?
Colonel Mike Kirby: Oh, is that what you're gonna say in that newspaper of yours?
George Beckworth: I'm gonna tell my readers the facts of what I saw in there!
Colonel Mike Kirby: What you saw in there was nothing.
George Beckworth: I don't call brutality nothing! Torturing one of your own South Vietnamese men!
Colonel Mike Kirby: That man in there was lining us up for a VC mortar crew!
George Beckworth: Even if that's true, there is still a thing as due process!
Colonel Mike Kirby: Out here, due process is a bullet!
See more »

Alternate Versions

141 minute version minus several scenes is what was shown on The Military Channel's "An Officer and a Movie". See more »


Referenced in Last Man Standing: Last Halloween Standing (2011) See more »


Ballad of the Green Berets
Written by Robin Moore and Barry Sadler
Choral arrangement by Ken Darby
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Overlong though spectacular Vietnam film that resulted to be a typical as well as thrilling John Wayne vehicle
26 September 2015 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Col. Mike Kirby (John Wayne who traveled to Vietnam in June 1966 and got the idea to make this picture about the army special forces on that trip) picks two teams of crack Green Berets ( Aldo Ray , George Takei , Jim Hutton , Edward Faulkner , Raymond St Jacques , Patrick Wayne , John's son , among others) from U.S. Special Forces troops for a mission in South Vietnam . Being accompanied by cynical War correspondent George Beck (David Janssen) briefing about the American military involvement in the war in Vietnam . First off is to build and control a camp that is attempting to be taken by the Viet Cong , the second assignment is to Kirby and a select group of his men are then ordered on a special mission to capture a high-level enemy Colonel .

This exciting wartime picture contains thrills , violence , noisy action , breathtaking battles and absurd situations . Don't miss the ending scene where the sun sets in the East , including a patriotic as well as famous music . Nice acting by John Wayne , as usual , he was prompted to make the film as a response to the growing anti-Vietnam War movement in the US . John Wayne's character , Col. Mike Kirby, is based on the real-life Lauri Törni, who later on called himself Larry Thorne . The latter was a Finnish army captain who fought in the Second World War during the Winter War (1939-40) and Continuation War (1941-44) against the Soviet Union . He emigrated to the US in the late 1940s and in 1954 joined the US Army . Very good support cast , plenty of familiar faces such as Jim Hutton , Aldo Ray , Raymond St. Jacques , Bruce Cabot , Patrick Wayne , Edward Faulkner and Luke Askew . The film was panned by reviewers , general public and many soldiers serving in Vietnam found the film offensive . Being partially based on real events , as the defensive battle that takes place during the second half of the movie is very loosely based on the Battle of Nam Dong , during which two Viet Cong battalions attacked a small outpost in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam . Even George Takei (he missed nine episodes of Star Trek) has admitted in interviews that while he was grateful to be cast in this film , he nevertheless strongly disagreed with the film's pro-war message and felt the finished movie was very bad . Green Berets was released soon after the Tet Offensive and the My Lai Massacre getting negative critiques , too . However , a lot of critics deemed this war film much better than its reputation would suggest . Possibly due to the film's extremely lousy critical reactions , it's been a long-held belief by many people that it was also a box-office flop . Actually , it was one of John Wayne's biggest box-office successes , attracting millions of moviegoers and ending up being the 13th highest grossing movie of 1968.

Colorful cinematography in Panavision by Winton Hoch , filmed on location in Columbus, Georgia , and Ft. McClellen, Alabama . Much of the film was shot in 1967 at Ft. Benning, Georgia, hence the large pine forests in the background rather than tropical jungle trees . Good production design , some of the "Vietnamese village" sets were so realistic they were left intact, and were later used by the Army for training troops destined for Vietnam . Impressive and rousing musical score by Miklós Rózsa , similarly composed to previous epics as Ben Hur , King of Kings , El Cid . Lavishly produced by Batjac , Wayne's company and Warner Bros was concerned about letting John Wayne direct the movie because of the fact that his previous directorial effort , El Alamo (1960), had been an expensive flop . They therefore only agreed to let him do the film if he agreed to co-direct with a more experienced director, and Wayne chose Ray Kellogg . The studio agreed, despite Kellogg's only having ever directed a few "B" pictures such as : ¨The Giant Gila Monster , My dog buddy , The killer shrews¨ , because of his impressive track record as a second unit director on a number of major studio releases . Being John Wayne's final war film , although Undefeated (1969) and Río Lobo (1970) contained some war scenes .

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