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Parents' Guide to

The Vietnam War

By Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Outstanding docu is insightful, objective, and violent.

Movie NR 2017 110 minutes
The Vietnam War Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 1 parent review

age 16+

Good documentary for adults and older teens.

I find it interesting, especially because there are interviews with people from the different sides(not just american soldiers but war reporters north and south vietnamese). I am not going to do a thorough parent guide on it but it may be worth a watch(and very educational about the war and what wars are like in general). I will say that there is a significant amount of real violence(from crazy/courageous reporters that filmed during combat) and not fit for children and at least somewhat shocking at times. I am not all the way through the series(there is at least 7 hours left), but the sexual content is very low. There is two cases of adult female nudity that I saw, one was a briefly shown picture of a mountain tribe(one or two women) but in this case, it is no more sexual than breastfeeding or something and one distasteful inclusion of a topless woman from some 70s soft porn film. Rape and prostitution(including prostitution of extreme desperation) are mentioned(sometimes very disturbingly but I am glad that they did not whitewash over that since it is something that happens all the time in wars). I didn't notice or don't remember adult male nudity, but if there is, it is not sexual/sexualized. Ultimately, the violence is probably the greater issue to consider since, unlike movies, this documentary has real violence, wounds, etc(enough to be shocking at times but I wouldn't consider it to be a snuff film or anything). I definitely recommend watching at least an episode or two(if these things are not big issues for you) and see if you want to watch more.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This outstanding documentary series offers a systematic and detailed account of the Vietnam War and its aftermath, from 1858 French colonialism to the present. It examines how Vietnam's view of, and relationship with, the French, Japanese, and Americans contributed to the rise of nationalism in the country. It notes how post-World War II Cold War politics exacerbated these tensions and made the overall situation more volatile. Meanwhile, it underscores the sheer brutality of the war from all sides by successfully humanizing the overall experience.

The connections are clearly made between decades of U.S. policies in Indochina and what transpired in Vietnam as a result. The consequences these policies had on the United States include the loss of over 58,000 soldiers and the nationally divisive civil unrest and violent events that define the era. The Vietnam War isn't easy to watch, but it takes an objective and honest look at the irreversible impact this controversial and often misunderstood military conflict has had on the United States and everyone involved in it.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: September 17, 2017
  • On DVD or streaming: September 19, 2017
  • Cast: Peter Coyote
  • Directors: Ken Burns , Lynn Novick
  • Inclusion Information: Female directors
  • Studio: PBS
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Topics: History
  • Run time: 110 minutes
  • MPAA rating: NR
  • Last updated: February 26, 2022

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