China Beach (TV Series 1988–1991) Poster

(1988–1991)

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The Best
Cheddar1 March 2004
This was a very special show, one of television's finest moments. It saddens me that in an era of reality TV, we no longer have shows of integrity like this one. As with "Homicide: Life on the Streets," this show had more in common with film than it did with television. That may have been both shows' undoings, because plots require attention, etc. I'm puzzled that with "China Beach's" fan base that we haven't seen this show released on DVD. Emmy-winning performances, beautiful writing, and cinematography to match -- PLEASE GIVE US "CHINA BEACH" ON DVD!!! It would be an honor to add this one to my collection, and would give those who didn't have the pleasure of seeing it when it was new the chance to enjoy it.
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One of the all time great series!
Randal Greenwood2 March 2004
I haven't seen the series since it first was on ABC. I tried to watch every week and was angry when they canceled it, because it was a great series.I recently purchased a copy of the pilot episode on VHS tape (China Beach)and once again was reminded how well the series was put together. Like many others I want to own all of the series on DVD and hope that chance will come. Dana Delany was outstanding in this role and touches the heart. Through her you see what it is like to see young men dying or dealing with terrible, life altering injuries and how hopeless she feels when she can not save them. Yet she knows the important part she plays to those dying boys as the voice and touch that represents the mothers, wives, lovers, and sisters of those who are dying far from home. They are not dying alone when she is there. Others in the cast are outstanding as well. The Gal that played Cherry the donut girl, and the back up singer turned lead, when the pretty one can't stay well enough to sing. She came to meet the boys-a-rama ,but soon was doing much more to touch the hearts of those at war. This is not a drama about the fighting in the field, but about the nurses and doctors in the field and the soldiers that go through their hospital. This is not Mash in Vietnam! This is a serious drama that will have you crying for all those dead and wounded soldiers wasted on battlefields around the other side of the world fighting an unpopular war. Each deals with the stress in their own way, but you can not watch this series without it touching you deeply and emotionally. If you lived during the Vietnam years then this will bring back the emotions of those times. If for no other reason this series should be put on DVD to honor the nurses, Doctors, entertainers, and donut girls that tried to bring a touch of home to the troops in Vietnam. To those who were wounded and survived and the many who did not this series should be available and remembered. Tour of Duty also should be on DVD and is excellent companion piece to show what the fighting grunts on the ground went through. Tour of duty is scheduled to be released on DVD this summer. Now Give us China Beach!
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They don't make 'em like they used to
mishory5 March 2001
Although I'm a 25 year old Israeli guy, born after the Vietnam war was over, and halfway around the world, this series touched me in a way most dramas didn't. Perhaps it was Dana Delaney's excellent dramatic acting, or the music, or any of the wonderful features of the talented crew that made this beautiful series possible, but I get the feeling that although I like new drama series like ER or The West Wing, I feel that John Wells has learned well, but not enough. China Beach had a certain something that other drama series did not. I'm no expert, so I can't put my finger on it, but whatever it was, I haven't seen it since, and I suspect I'll never see it again.
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10/10
Excellent drama about Vietnam nurses, doctors, soldiers
Flyer-616 July 1999
This is the popular and much acclaimed "China Beach" TV series. Dana Delany has the role of her life playing Colleen McMurphy, a dedicated triage nurse in Vietnam. This is not a war action movie, but rather a drama about the lives of Vietnam soldiers and the nurses, Red Cross "Donut Dollies", and USO entertainers who are there for them. Dana Delaney is stunning in the role of McMurphy -- this alone would make this a classic. In addition, the deep respect and understanding shown for the Vietnam GI's sets this apart from most of the other Vietnam movies. This is a movie that people who weren't in Vietnam should watch to get a better appreciation for the men and women who served there. For those who were there, this movie is a token of respect and appreciation for your service.
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10/10
in need of series DVD
kelly624719 August 2006
China Beach was a great show and I can't believe that the series has not been put on DVD. We can get so many shows that are mediocre with no problem. I hope the executives realize what a gem they have and release it for everyone to see.

I watched this show when I was in middle school and high school. I would love to be able to watch it again as an adult, and as a history teacher. I know that much of it is not realistic, but there is no denying the emotion. There were so many scenes that just pulled at your heart.

I hope soon we will be able to enjoy the entire series on DVD.
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One of the best shows created for TV
cbburton200027 September 2005
Dana Delaney's "McMurphy" (the principal character) is complex, captivating, beautiful and sexy. The entire cast is outstanding, right down to the extras. The scripts and story lines are gripping and move the viewer from one emotion to another, moment to moment. Issues great and small are addressed in each episode and characters are well-developed and allowed to grow and change throughout the series. One particularly outstanding and unique episode is built around interviews with nurses who actually served in Viet Nam, including the nurse who was the model for the McMurphy character. These interviews are coupled with scenes from the series that illustrate the interviews. It is one of my fondest hopes that the entire series will finally be released on DVD.
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Possibly the best TV show of all time - Colleen, will you marry me?
sauvage99929 November 2005
I have been reliving "China Beach" the past year or so on cable TV, and I must say, the experience has been just as moving the second time around. I cannot speak of "China Beach" without using superlatives: 1) My all-time favorite TV show; 2) Easily the most underrated TV show ever; 3) The all-time best performance by an actress in TV history (Dana Delaney as Colleen); 4) The most nuanced, complex, intimate and believable development of a TV character in history (again, Dana as Colleen); 5) The three most loaded, gut-wrenching, revealing, and well-acted words ever uttered by a TV character {"Don't 'Colleen' me!" by you-know-who). Of course, there were many other great performances on the show, and the subject matter has never been so intimately portrayed. However, Dana's performance will haunt my soul forever.
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Thank You!
jayaspinall30 August 2001
I just wanted to express my sincere thanks to everyone associated with this series. I have seen it before, and watching it again on The History Channel reminds me how important it was. I am a 36 year old American Male. Without this show I never would have had the desire to learn about Vietnam. The show inspired me to take on a bit of effort and learn some things for myself. It is sad that a television show had to inspire me to learn about my country's history. That my own country didn't care enough to teach me. I am so thankful for that knowledge. That knowledge has allowed me to speak to my uncles, bosses and others about the war and to be able to relate in general. I learned a lot. The most important things I learned: living an honest life; being true to one self; never taking life for granted; never, ever holding a grudge, and most of all compassion. Simple things. Little things. But oh so important. These things are no longer generally taught and are seldom seen.

I have introduced the show to my 15 year old nephew and hope he too will see some of things in the show I did. I hope he is inspired.

Thanks again!
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10/10
simply worth it
usvietvhy24 October 2006
This is one of the all-time best series of the past or present TV era. A lot has been said of Dana Delany so I shall not do it again yet must say it all is true! I would like to give a different approach. I am a Viet Nam veteran from the area this film was about and I have been to the China Beach in 1969 and again in 1994. I served as a young officer operating with the Vietnamese as an "advisor".This series was gut-wrenching at times, calming at others, as I had been wounded there and remember not my doctors but the nurses I dealt with. This is a great series that displays the crap that is war and the compassion displayed by many to the unlucky that have felt the full fury of conflict. If one gets a chance to watch this series, do so as it now is out on DVD. Reality TV is a farce!!! This series presents many of the "realities" of this unpopular conflict as well as the generosity of simple things. Bravo Dana, and all your fellow actresses and actors who gave so much to make the series what it was; believable!! Thank you.
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Dana Delany Shines
Mbrand22 June 2003
The true star of China Beach goes out to Dana Delany who plays Nurse Colleen McMurphy on China Beach. She certainly played her role to a T which I'm sure certainly made her a star of what she is today. I had seen the Pilot series and one of my favorite scenes was when she was being a backup vocalist and everyone was cheering for her and she wasn't expecting that kind of reaction and you can see through her eyes that she was overwhelmed. In all of the episodes of China Beach this was my definate favorite episode which certainly set the stage for the TV Series which came out several months after the pilot. Dana is still a nice looking woman even though she's aged a bit she still is good looking.
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One-Of-A-Kind Program; Regrets Missing the First Run
Sundown3051 May 2001
I didn't pay attention to this show when it first ran on ABC (or its second run when it came on Lifetime), but when I learned that it was about the Vietnam Conflict, I tuned in to the 48-Hour Crash-Course Marathon on TV Land. I was so impressed by watching only a couple of episodes that I ran out and bought enough tapes to record all of 'em. Though TV Land only ran the first season, our local WB affiliate carried the remaining seasons, and I have all but seven episodes and the movie pilot...

Dana Delany was completely awesome in her role. Even in the less-critically acclaimed seasons (the ones that talked about the characters once they left Vietnam), she was into her role and made the viewers feel her emotions.

And goodness, the cameos! It seems like damn-near everyone from "Full Metal Jacket" made a cameo in this series! R. Lee Ermey and Dorian Harewood (GySgt Hartman and Eightball) come to mind. Vivica Fox, Judge Reinhold, Tim Ryan, Kim Wayans, and Kathy Bates also come to mind...

This show ruled! Still does! **** out of ****
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10/10
Powerful
cantrelayne13 March 2007
China Beach was one of the most powerful shows ever to hit television. Based on real vets and nurses (see the episode "Vets"), this show was the most realistic portrayal of the people who served in that horrible place and nothing else has come close. MASH was on for 11 seasons, but MASH wasn't exactly honest (after all, the movie was about Viet Nam, but to avoid reality and emotion they made the TV show about Korea).

During the third season word got out that the show was to be cancelled. Letters poured into ABC to save the show. Thousands of fans wrote in (including me), but all it did was guarantee a final season. For reasons never disclosed or understood the show was cancelled.

There has been a campaign to get the show onto DVD, but to no avail. China Beach was an incredible look at a horrendous place, at a horrendous time. It helped heal vets and helped families torn apart by an atrocity understand (a little) about what the bloody hell happened over there. No show has ever been that honest.

It astonishes me that an idiotic show like "The Simpsons" manages to stay on TV forever (18 seasons - enough already!) and a powerfully moving show like China Beach is on for only 4 seasons.
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10/10
I have never forgotten this series
sonorasmith25 May 2015
I'm writing this review 25 years after it left the air. I have never forgotten it. It is superb television. The ensemble cast is stellar. It was co-written by John Sacret Young and William Dodson "Bill" Broyles, Jr. who served as a marine in Vietnam. While watching it, it made me intensely feel what it was like to be there; I could feel how every moment and every individual counts. I could also feel how relationships are exquisite and intense when you daily face life or death. Conversely, their lives were also portrayed after the war when they returned home where they were no longer making a big difference in the world; there I could feel just how empty, inane, and futile their existence felt in comparison to their lives at China Beach.
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10/10
And that's the way it is...
killerquean14 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I just purchased the first two seasons on DVD. While some of the production values are dated, the character development and acting have stood the test of time. I grew up watching the Vietnam War (at least what we were allowed to see) on television. I've worked and been friends with several Vietnam era veterans and the stories they told, when they would talk about it, are similar to the plot lines in this series. The nurses who served there spoke and the writers and actors took their stories to heart.

True to war, the characters are all casualties, emotionally/physically, coming to grips with violence. I cried when Cherry's character spoke out at the sumptuous banquet about how a few hours earlier, the soldiers she visited at a fire camp dined on C rations and had to dig a hole because there were no latrines.

A decade after Saigon was evacuated, this show honored the men and women who lost their innocence 10 thousand miles from home. War is inherently evil, but these teen-aged warriors who were drafted to fight deserve to be honored for their sacrifices. China Beach does that without become preachy.

For a network series to broach subjects such as drug addiction, PTSD &C. at the time this show first aired was remarkable. With the glut of "reality" programming on TV these days, shows like this make me nostalgic for China Beach, Homicide and other programs where character/plot development made for must-see TV. Buy this series on DVD!
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10/10
If Carlsberg made drama series....
camalot572 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Probably the finest drama series made, superbly scripted, acted to the highest of standards and rivals the Godfather trilogy for impact on the senses. Its just tragic and to the eternal shame of all those involved that most people have never heard of it let alone seen it. This series deserves and i think its fan base demands a much wider audience. If you get to see it, enjoy it, fall in love with cast members and tell others. Dana Delany, surely one of the best actresses Hollywood has seen and under valued, Marg Hellenberger now achieving a status on TV with the CSI series, Jeff Kober who still sends a shiver down my spine,Robert Picardo whose been in everything but probably will be remembered for his classic Dr roles.Just look through the cast list and take your choice of actors and actresses who gave 100 % all the time.
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One of the best dramas, ever
Summadonna7 November 2005
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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Reflections of...
hobbyguy15 February 2005
While Dana was awesome in this series the best moment of China Beach was the opening credits. It's overlay of characters, footage and "the" song expressed so much of the emotion that the show tried to portray. I've also got to say that Picardo's character was so memorable that it was about five seasons into Voyager before I could think of him as that Doc and not the one from China Beach. Many episodes were just beautifully written about "people" rather than "characters."

Unlike so many of the Vietnam shows and films of the time it wasn't ( for the most part) about rescuing a few guys that were abandoned out in the bush. It covered both the complexities of life in Vietnam and life in general. Watching it could alternately make you feel homesick for the voices of your family, even when they were just upstairs, or angry at the unfairness of life, despite the fact that you weren't getting half the bad deal that some of the characters got.

One of the great classic dramas of the eighties!
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9/10
Quality TV that is quickly kicked to the curb
ed-scherer17 July 2015
This superbly crafted drama was too good for American television, and even though highly rated at 8.2, was prematurely ended. It amazes me that dreck like Grey's Anatomy drags on and on (for the life of me I can't figure that out and having worked at one of the nations top medical centers for years can attest it is rife with inaccuracies) with its sophomoric "office romances." The problem with that show is not the actors who are a talented bunch - it is the writing. China Beach was just one of those shows you awaited with anticipation because the character development was so good and the material was universal regardless of whether it was a Nam drama or medical series - it was just beautifully done. Oh well, mediocrity prevails and excellence is shunned.
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10/10
China Beach
pdemarco-19 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I love this show. Why am I unable to purchase it on DVD?? I can get so many old and bad shows on DVD; why can't I get this one really terrific one? I saw an ad for a show,(UN-named) that was only on for one season;I could purchase it but not China Beach. Why am I able to purchase a really bad show but not a good one like this?? I am confused, why? Please talk to the "powers that be" to make this available to the faithful, like me. I don't want Gillgans Island, F-troop,Sanford & Son,CIS:Miami, 24, etc. I just want China Beach. I already have all seasons of Tour of Duty, and love them. I also have 7 of 8 episodes of Charmed,so you can see I'm not a casual collector. I just want what I love. China Beach was my first love for a TV show, it was and is the one that I want/need all of the episodes.Please let the producers, suppliers, etc. know that there is a market for China Beach! Thank you
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10/10
DANA DELANEY IS CHINA BEACH !!!!!
suzangrace2 December 2003
This closest thing to a perfect show is my favorite series of all time. The actors were always excellent (w/the exception of Robert Picardo and Megan Gallagher....I don't know, but I just didn't like them very much). The show could not have been made w/out Dana Delaney. If it had it wouldn't be half as good. She is Colleen McMurphy...McMurphy is China Beach...Dana Delaney is the key. Her performance both comic and drmatic are so true to life. Her emotions of the war are so real it scares you into thinking that this is too real. She has such a wonderful gift. I hope we see more of her real soon.

WHY IS THIS SERIES NOT ON DVD?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? I find this a serieous omission. If anyone hears about it coming to DVD, please let me know by email! Thanks!
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10/10
Lingering Question About Series Finale!
chancedelhomme19 February 2018
OK, this is without a doubt my favorite television series of all-time, and the grand finale was devastatingly bittersweet...the cast was always stellar, and I loved the additions to Season 4 especially Colleen Flynn, Finn Carter and Christine Elise. To me, this last season was Karen's story (Christine Elise deserved an Emmy!): her search for K.C. ended with the two of them finally meeting up again after several years, taking a short walk and making amends??? One of K.C.'s final lines was "I'm not really good at writing letters!", then she slipped away in her limo! OK, when I was a kid and watched it live, I had hope for the two of them, thinking that K.C.'s hidden meaning in her anti-pen pal stance was that Karen could visit or live with her (I think she was back in the Far East) BUT upon watching it again on DVD, I was totally destroyed by their ending, K.C. leaving Karen on the curb like that for McMurphy to take care of when she returned from The Wall with her young daughter. Marg Helgenberger, who along with Dana Delany were two extraordinary actresses leading a superb cast...IDK why I see her playing it both ways: that last scene, she closed the limo door when it should have been left open for Karen to maybe leave with her, or they could have waited for McM to return (I'm sure she would have a few choice words to say to K.C. if she was indeed abandoning Karen again! That truly sad last look on Karen's face said it all! I know K.C. was a cold, ruthless, selfish woman at times and I loved her despite those flaws. I guess I expected more of a resolution either way! Are they going to now be a part of one another's lives (maybe not in that moment but in the future?) or was this short little reunion all there was left for both of them? Did anyone else feel hopeful and then hopeless about the two Karens??? I want to believe there was hope! I can't watch it again for a while!
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10/10
Powerful and moving drama about the Vietnam war
Herb Lison28 October 2017
The just released Ken Burns documentary on Vietnam has brought back a lot of painful memories which triggered my interest in seeing China Beach. The series focuses a great deal on a number of women, nurses, Red Cross volunteers and others who work at a medical facility which treats wounded soldiers brought in from the field.

It is not MASH updated for Vietnam. It is a very powerful drama which gives perspectives on the different people caught up in the war, not only U.S. personnel but also North and South Vietnamese, fighters and civilians. It doesn't adhere to any "party line" left or right. There were moments which brought me close to tears, but others which provoked laughter.

I was particularly impressed by Jeff Kober's powerful performance of the difficulties a soldier faces in returning to "normal" life. If this had been a film he would have been nominated for an Oscar for sure.

Another standout is Nancy Giles who plays Frankie Bunsen, an African-American woman who somehow copes with the disgraceful racism and sexism she encounters.

I can't recommend this series enough for anyone who wants to know more about this part of our history.

I would really like to know how actual Vietnam veterans view this series. Is it an accurate portrait of their war?
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1/10
The Pilot Ep was more than enough
michaelbentley68030 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
After watching the pilot episode I found, as a real life combat veteran of Vietnam, that the portrayals were propagandistic to the point of buffoonery, and could not bear to subject myself to further abuse. As example, "Chou Om" does not mean hello, it means "hello, sir" The proper term (used within the context of the nurses/donut dollies), would be "Chou Ba".

Much, much, worse was the portrayal of Combat Infantrymen, who apparently head straight from the helicopter pad to the USO, still filthy and armed to the teeth. This would have been impossible in real life, as the first thing you did when returning from the field was clean and store your weapons/field gear. Not to mention that no Infantryman would want to go anywhere, let alone a place where they are certain to encounter "round eye women", without a bath and a change into clean fatigues. There was more of the same (directed at Nurses/ USO workers)but why belabor the point? If the pilot episode was any guide, this series bore as much resemblance to reality as the movie "Starship Troopers" did to the RAH book of the same name. Thumbs down from someone who was actually there.
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