PBS America has picked up the UK broadcast rights to Oscar nominated feature-length Vietnam war documentary Last Days In Vietnam, TVWise has learned. the documentary will premiere on PBS America on Sunday November 1st at 8pm.
Commissioned for and aired as part of PBS’ award winning American Experience strand, Last Days In Vietnam explores the inside story of the final days of the U.S. military’s actions in Vietnam up to the fall of Saigon in April 1975. Specifically, the documentary examines the lengths members of the military went to to attempt to save the lives of as many South Vietnamese citizens as possible, knowing full well that when the VCs arrived they would be facing a death sentence.
Last Days In Vietnam is a stellar documentary that shines a light on this largely untold chapter in the Vietnam War. Through a series of on-camera interviews, the piece reveals how Nixon’s resignation during Watergate reignited the war despite the peace accords; how Ambassador Graham Martin, driven by staunch ideological beliefs, refused to accept the intelligence and would not allow the military to adequately prepare an evacuation; and in turn the “off-book” operation Army and Marine Corps personnel had to undertake to save the lives of their allies in South Vietnam.
Eventually, as the North Vietnamese storm towards Saigon, the order came down to evacuate, but even then Martin refused to board the helicopters until a great number of the South Vietnamese had been evacuated. Still thousands were left behind and one small group of Marine Guards believed they would be left behind after a prolonged wait for an evac, which would be the last US helicopter to leave the embassy, before it was completely overrun. Another interesting revelation is the effect Watergate had on the War.
The long-list of contributors for this documentary, which is directed and produced by Rory Kennedy, include Stuart Herrington, a U.S. Army officer who served as intelligence advisor to the South Vietnamese military; Henry Kissinger, US Secrteary of State, who brokered the Paris Peace Accord; Juan Valdez, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the Marine Security Guard detachment stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon; Jim Laurie, the NBC News Correspondent stationed in Saigon; and Paul Jacobs, Commanding Officer of the USS Kirk.
Check out the trailer for Last Days In Vietnam below: