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The Quiet American (2002)

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An old British reporter vies with a young U.S. doctor for the affections of a beautiful Vietnamese woman.


Phillip Noyce


Graham Greene (novel), Christopher Hampton (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Caine ... Thomas Fowler
Brendan Fraser ... Alden Pyle
Thi Hai Yen Do ... Phuong
Rade Serbedzija ... Inspector Vigot (as Rade Sherbedgia)
Tzi Ma ... Hinh
Robert Stanton ... Joe Tunney
Holmes Osborne ... Bill Granger
Quang Hai Quang Hai ... General Thé
Ferdinand Hoang ... Mr. Muoi
Pham Thi Mai Hoa Pham Thi Mai Hoa ... Phuong's Sister
Mathias Mlekuz Mathias Mlekuz ... French Captain
Kevin Tran Kevin Tran ... Watch Tower Soldier
Lap Phan ... Watch Tower Soldier
Tim Bennett Tim Bennett ... American Photographer
Jeff Truman ... Dancing American


British Thomas Fowler enjoys his life in Saigon working as a reporter for the London Times, covering the war in Vietnam between the colonial French powers and the Communists, who seem to be winning the war. In the later stages of his career, he takes his job lightly now, filing stories only on occasion, and no longer doing field work. But most importantly, this posting allows him to escape from what he considers a dreary life in London, including an unsatisfying marriage to a Catholic woman, who will never grant him a divorce, which in turn allows him to have an affair with a young Vietnamese ex-taxi dancer named Phuong, whom he loves and would marry if he were able. Phuong's sister doesn't much like Fowler, if only because he cannot provide a stable future for her. His idyllic life is threatened when the head office suggests he go back to London. In this way, he decides to write a major story to prove to his superiors that he should stay in Saigon. In 1952, Fowler is called into the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


In war, the most powerful weapon is seduction.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for images of violence and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Miramax | Studio Canal


UK | Germany | USA | Vietnam | Australia | France | Canada


English | French | Vietnamese

Release Date:

7 March 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der stille Amerikaner See more »

Filming Locations:

Saigon, Vietnam See more »


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$101,663, 24 November 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$12,987,647, 3 August 2003

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$27,674,124, 31 December 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


It was voted one of the top 10 Best Films of 2002 by the American Film Institute. See more »


(at around 28 mins) While Thomas Fowler is typing, we can see his articles printed in The Times; first article on Friday 7 May 1954 starts "After fifty-six days under siege a cease-fire..." Second article on Wednesday 21 July 1954 starts just the same, "After fifty-six days under siege a cease-fire..." See more »


[first lines]
Thomas Fowler: [narrating] I can't say what made me fall in love with Vietnam.That a woman's voice can drug you? That everything is so intense? The colors, the taste, even the rain. Nothing like the filthy rain in London.
Thomas Fowler: They say whatever you're looking for, you will find here. They say you come to Vietnam and you understand a lot in a few minutes, but the rest has got to be lived. The smell: that's the first thing that hits you, promising everything in exchange for your soul. And the heat. Your ...
See more »


Featured in Anatomy of a Scene: The Quiet American (2002) See more »


Our Love Affair
Written by Arthur Freed and Roger Edens
(c) 1940 EMI Feist Catalog Inc.
Licensed by EMI Catalogue Partnership Australia Pty Limited
See more »

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User Reviews

Fascinating and emotive political/drama /thriller set during Vietnam war with intervention of France and US
13 June 2014 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Entertaining picture dealing with a central romance along with thrills , political details and warlike deeds about Vietnam war . A young naive American named Alden Pyle (Brendan Fraser) and a cynical older British journalist called Fowler (Michael Caine) disagree over politics in 1952 Vietnam and over a beautiful young native girl called Phuong (Do Thi Hai Yen) . As a ¨quiet American¨ with dark secrets arrives in Saigon with his own plan to settle country's conflicts . As it's not clear whether Alden Pyle is just what he appears , as he seems to be an innocent Young American opposite the older, cynical Brit Thomas Fowler . Eventually Fowler must confront moral conflicts and the relationship between Pyle and him reaches some problems connected with a Vietnamese General , at the same time the war and a political upheaval take place .

Interesting second rendition of the Graham Greene novel including a love triangle , emotion , wartime events and many other things . The picture relies heavily on the love triangle between the ironical British reporter , his enticing mistress and the strange quiet American , but it doesn't boring , neither tiring and nor dull . Michael Caine is good as a correspondent covering a conflict and finding himself becoming personally involved when he befriends an American who is not all that he seems to and also falling for a beautiful young Vietnamese , a mesmerizing Do Thi Hai . The movie has its touching moments found primarily in the superb performances from trio protagonist . The film ends with newspaper stories written by Thomas Fowler about Vietnam from 1954 to 1966. However the book on which the film was based was published in 1955, so these are mostly events which happened after the book came out . The US release of this movie was delayed for more than a year by the terrorist attacks on the USA of 11 September 2001. The producers were concerned that it would be seen as anti-American.

Miramax had paid $5.5 million for the rights to distribute the movie in North America and some other territories, but then shelved it for a long time. Miramax even planned to send this movie to go straight-to-video. But Michael Caine successfully persuaded Miramax to screen this movie at 2002 Toronto International Film Festival; the movie received many good reviews at the Film Festival, so Miramax decided to release this movie in the United States theatrically . This handsomely mounted flick was well directed by Phillip Noyce , a successful Australian director who filmed Dead Calm (1989), starring Nicole Kidman, Sam Neill and Billy Zane , it brought Noyce to Hollywood, where he directed 6 films over the next decade, including Patriot Games (1992) and Clear and present danger (1994) starring Harrison Ford, and The bone collector (1999), starring Oscar winners Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie.

The first version with a very good cast such as Audie Murphy as the American , Michael Redgrave as Thomas Fowler , Claude Dauphin as Inspector Vigot , Giorgia Moll as Phuong Bruce Cabot as Bill Granger resulted to be more a killing mystery than the political/drama intented , while this last retelling turned to be more faithful to Graham Greene than Joseph L. Mankiewicz's 1958 take on . In fact , in Europe, director-writer Joseph L. Mankiewicz was savagely attacked for his film's infidelity to the source novel by Graham Greene, not least by Greene himself. The screenplay essentially turns the novel inside-out, so that the blundering "quiet American", whose extreme naiveté causes tragedies .

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