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Welcome Home, Johnny Bristol (1972)

Not Rated | | Drama | TV Movie 30 January 1972
Psychological drama about a convalescing Vietnam War army captain who goes AWOL but cannot re-connect with his past.


George McCowan


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Martin Landau ... Johnny Bristol
Jane Alexander ... Anne Palmer
Brock Peters ... Berdahl
Martin Sheen ... Graytak
Pat O'Brien ... Sgt. McGll
Forrest Tucker ... Harry McMartin
Mona Freeman ... Mrs. Bristol
Jane Elliot ... Sister Theresa
Simon Scott Simon Scott ... Col. Anderson
Alan Bergmann Alan Bergmann ... Shusler
James McEachin ... Loughton
John Hoyt ... Minister
Richard Evans ... Franks
Jean-Michel Michenaud ... Young Johnny (as Gerald Michenaud)
Mark Roberts ... Mr. Bristol


An American soldier manages to endure his captivity in a Vietnamese POW camp by keeping alive the memories of life in his home town. When he is finally released from the camp, and is discharged from the military, he goes back to his town - but he can find no trace whatsoever of it. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

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Not Rated






Release Date:

30 January 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Willkommen daheim, Johnny Bristol See more »

Filming Locations:

Hollywood, California, USA

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

Very powerful but overlooked Drama
13 April 2001 | by consortpinguinSee all my reviews

"Welcome Home, Johnny Bristol" is a powerful film, but it never received the acclaim it deserved. The script and the acting are both excellent. Johnny Bristol, an American serviceman finally released from North Vietnamese POW camp, comes home to a VA hospital with the goal of finding his original home.

The story line is built around John's attempts to find his boyhood home and family. Like an amnesia victim, he has been so "brainwashed" through torture that he has few memories of his life before his imprisonment. Martin Landau did an extraordinary job in this film, as we see him slowly recover from a total nervous "cripple" to his true human self. He is aided in his quest by his nurse, Anne (Jane Alexander) who falls in love with him while going above and beyond even her high call to duty as a VA nurse.

At first the only thing John can remember is that he was born and raised in the small town of Charles, Vermont. Early in the film John is still traumatized from his imprisonment and torture. In one memorable scene, he wakes up screaming in total panic. As Anne comes to his rescue, we see that the curtains closed completely around his hospital bed made him think he was back in his cell. It takes all her skill to calm him back down.

As John and Anne's love deepens, they undertake to locate his forgotten youth. A series of talks with other veterans and even a trip to Vermont reveal nothing. John and Anne are quite surprised when they drive to Vermont and find out that there is no town called Charles. In one touching scene, John finds the elderly retired recruiting sergeant who signed him into the Army. Played by Pat O'Brien, John fears he could become just like this lonely old man with no family and no memories of anything but the Army.

Only deep psychiatric treatments bring back the story of Johnny's life. He finally locates his true roots, which are very different than what he thought he remembered. You are left with the hope that John will build a new life with Anne. I won't give away the ending, but it is a surprise on the order of the famous "Rosebud" from "Citizen Kane."

This outstanding movie was not appreciated at the time, just as our Vietnam Veterans were not appreciated. It was shown in the summer of 1972, not long before the end of the Vietnam War. Public sentiment had turned against the war, and sadly, most Americans turned their back on the many returning GI's. The general public had heard stories that the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese tortured any captured Americans, but the Government had not yet released the full story of the extent of the cruelty suffered by the POWs. Perhaps the Government felt that revealing the whole truth would have brought even more outcries against the war. Veterans came home to high unemployment and a general public who did not wish to acknowledge them. Whether or not you think the War was right, it is a sad commentary that it took this country many years to honor the forgotten veterans of that tragic war.

I do not think this movie is "dated" and I believe that if it were shown on TV again that more people would appreciate it.

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