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China Beach 

3:06 | Trailer
The trials of a weary nurse, her friends and colleagues in a Vietnam War field hospital.
2,306 ( 271)




4   3   2   1  
1991   1990   1989   1988  
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 25 wins & 46 nominations. See more awards »





Complete series cast summary:
Dana Delany ...  Colleen McMurphy 62 episodes, 1988-1991
Michael Boatman ...  Pvt. Samuel Beckett 62 episodes, 1988-1991
Robert Picardo ...  Dr. Dick Richard 62 episodes, 1988-1991
Concetta Tomei ...  Maj. Lila Garreau 62 episodes, 1988-1991
Marg Helgenberger ...  K.C. Kolowski 62 episodes, 1988-1991
Brian Wimmer ...  Cpl. Boonie Lanier 62 episodes, 1988-1991
Oliver Theess Oliver Theess ...  The Soldier / ... 61 episodes, 1988-1991
Jeff Kober ...  Sgt. Evan 'Dodger' Winslow 58 episodes, 1988-1991
Nancy Giles Nancy Giles ...  Pvt. Frankie Bunsen 54 episodes, 1988-1991
Troy Evans ...  Sgt. Pepper / ... 28 episodes, 1989-1991
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Dateline: November 1967, within klicks of Danang, Vietnam, sits a U.S. Army base, bar and hospital on China Beach. This is the 'Nam, filled with wounded soldiers and one very lovely but damaged Army Nurse Colleen Mc Murphy. Many heroes, dead and alive, in the forms of nurses, warriors, Donut Dollies, lifeguards, politicians, USO entertainers, Chopper Chicks, doctors, officers and enlisted men, brothers and sisters, Kool-Aid Kids, orderlies, medics, morticians, Army brass and one hostile prostitute named K.C. try to make sense of life and death in between bourbon, bullets and battles. Written by LA-Lawyer

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | History | War


Did You Know?


"Taxi Driver" has a disturbed Vietnam veteran Travis Bickle who tries to assassinate the president and goes on a killing spree at the ending. 1980's "Don't Answer the Phone" has crazed Vietnam Vet Kirk Smith stalking and murdering the women of Los Angeles. Also Christopher Walken's disturbed and suicidal Nick in "The Deer Hunter" winds up killing himself and endangering the people around him. And Sylvester Stallone's John Rambo in "First Blood" gets into a conflict with several locals and law enforcement officials; ends up going into crazy Vietnam flashbacks and winds up killing most of the town. All of this can be seen as part of the dangerous Vietnam Veteran Trend. In the 1970s, (and the early 80s); as the Vietnam War ended and the veterans came home and re-entered society, there was a fear that the veterans were disturbed, dangerous; might be a threat to society. This was a reflection of our overall ambivalence about the war in general. One of the outgrowths of these negative attitudes was that Vietnam Veterans were often portrayed in movies as dangerous, and self-destructive psychopaths. "Taxi Driver," "Don't Answer the Phone;" "First Blood" and "The Deer Hunter" were all part of this trend. This trend flip flopped in the mid to late 1980s where Vietnam Veterans were now being deified in the movies. Where John Rambo was a psychopath in "First Blood;" in "Rambo: First Blood Part 2," he is enlisted by his sergeant Richard Crenna to go on a mission back to Vietnam to save POWs that are still trapped there. He goes from misunderstood Frankenstein-Psychopath in part 1, to hero in part 2. Arnold Schwartzenegger's "Commando" was another Vietnam Hero in the eighties; trying to save his daughter Alyssa Millano, who has been kidnapped by terrorists. "Good Morning Vietnam" has DJ Robin Williams entertaining the heroic soldiers of the Vietnam war; "Born On the Fourth of July" has Tom Cruise portraying an almost Christ-like paraplegic War Veteran Ron Kovic and his transition from from soldier to protester. And on television in the 1980s we had "China Beach;" which had Dana Delaney and the other heroic nurses of the Vietnam war dealing with the war and it's traumas. The transition in movies from Psychotic Kirk Smith in 1980s "Don't Answer the Phone;" to the saintly Ron Kovic in "Born on the Fourth of July" nine years later is staggering; and suggests the dramatic transitions in society's attitudes towards the war during that period. See more »


Many of the Asian actors used were not actually Vietnamese. While Vietnam has (and had at the time of the war) a large ethnic Chinese population, some of the actors used were Koreans, Japanese and even Filipinos. See more »


Colleen McMurphy: Sex is a bad word, but it feels good. Love is a good word, but it hurts.
See more »


Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #22.197 (2006) See more »


Written by Brian Holland / Lamont Dozier / Eddie Holland
Recorded by Diana Ross & The Supremes
See more »

User Reviews

One of the best dramas, ever
7 November 2005 | by SummadonnaSee all my reviews

I was eleven when I started watching this show, and it left an indelible impression on me. I was watching a lot of shows back then that I was probably too young to watch(!), and there was a lot of stuff I didn't get, but I knew, even as a middle schooler, that "China Beach" was something special. A few months ago I started borrowing videotaped episodes from a friend (thank you, History Channel!), and re-experiencing it. While, at times, it's cheesier than I remembered it (and that was mostly just in some season 1 episodes), you can't do better than Marg Helgenberger and Dana Delany and Jeff Kober as K.C., McMurphy, and Dodger (respectively). The dialogue is great, but there's so much said in just a look, and that, my friends, is acting. There was really something special going on in that show. I think it was partly the subject matter and the shooting everything(?) on location (as opposed to a sound stage -- I know it wasn't shot in Vietnam ;)), but it felt so deceptively REAL... Anyway, I couldn't love it more, and I've never seen another show like it. My thanks to the producers and writers and crew (and, of course, the actors!) -- you all should be really proud of what you did.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

26 April 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

China Beach See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(60 episodes) | (pilot) | (series finale)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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