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"Ken Burns' Vietnam" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP20 Nov 2017 12:56 p.m. PST


Sebastian Palmer Inactive Member20 Nov 2017 12:56 p.m. PST


I'm sure this has been discussed here before (although when I last looked I couldn't find anything; probably looked in the wrong places!?), but I watched and thoroughly enjoyed the Ken Burns Vietnam series, when it aired in the U.K. on BBC4 fairly recently.

A friend of mine made me aware that the UK version is 8 hours shorter than the full US version. I wonder if anyone here can shed light on why the UK version was drastically cut (butchered would be my verdict). And has anyone seen both versions? If so, what is it that we in the U.K. are missing?

I posted my thoughts on the UK version at my blog:


… as ever, I'd welcome feedback/comments, both here and over at my blog.



Sean D Clark20 Nov 2017 2:39 p.m. PST

Great review, thank you!

Garand20 Nov 2017 2:39 p.m. PST

That's a pretty big cut, like 1/3 of the entire series (IIRC 10 eps at around 1.5hrs each?)


PJ ONeill20 Nov 2017 2:49 p.m. PST

I thought it pandered to the Communists, characterizing Ho-Chi_Min as a benevolent Uncle, and describing in detail US wrong-doings and then silent on the N. Vietnam atrocities.

LostPict Supporting Member of TMP20 Nov 2017 3:53 p.m. PST

I watched the first 2 episodes and felt it lacked balance. There seemed to be little heard from the Vietnamese refugee community in the US or US soldiers that did not regret their service. Here was the previous TMP discussion TMP link

Gone Fishing20 Nov 2017 4:50 p.m. PST

Pict, O'Neill, the Wall Street Journal ran an interesting article on just the point you make – that it was seriously skewed to one political viewpoint, ignoring large amounts of contrary data from the VA and other sources would contradict its agenda. It dampened my enthusiasm to see Vietnam, which is a shame, as I loved his Civil War series. One of these days I'll watch it and judge for myself.

Dynaman878920 Nov 2017 6:42 p.m. PST

> I thought it pandered to the Communists, characterizing Ho-Chi_Min as a benevolent Uncle

I only saw the first two episodes but even they made it abundantly clear that the benevolent uncle was an image Ho Chi Min crafted for propaganda purposes all the while ruthlessly dealing with enemies.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP20 Nov 2017 7:27 p.m. PST

Did they cut out all of the interviews with GIs stating how wrong the war was? That would account for the 8 hours.

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP20 Nov 2017 8:35 p.m. PST

At least he got the uniforms and vehicles right.

Pan Marek Supporting Member of TMP20 Nov 2017 8:47 p.m. PST

My advice: Never, ever watch TV. It will only disappoint you.

pancernijoe Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member20 Nov 2017 8:47 p.m. PST

The war still divides us, still has wounds close to the surface. (The series) Seemed pretty much on the mark as to the who and when. Such an undertaking will never please everyone. Since I watched it (the war) live most nights on TV the chance to watch a coherent narrative was useful.

GamesPoet Supporting Member of TMP21 Nov 2017 10:14 p.m. PST

Hi Sebastian … your article was a god read. Have you had he opportunity to see the full series as shown in the U.S. yet? I'm finding value in watching the series more than once, in that I am picking up on things that I didn't seem to fully pick up on during the first viewing.

Sebastian Palmer Inactive Member23 Nov 2017 2:41 p.m. PST

Hi gamespoet. I think I've seen the UK version three or four times now. Watching it more than once is definitely a good way to absorb more of it. So far I haven't been able to see or compare the full length US episodes. So I continue to look forward to doing that at some future point…

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