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Good Morning, Vietnam Movie Review

Updated on June 26, 2020

Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) review

Good morning, movie fanatics! What a fantastic film this was! It was funny and heartwarming, a truly brilliant portrayal of the Vietnam war and life on an army base during the conflict. I can’t believe I am almost 40 and have never seen this movie. I guess the premise never appealed to me even though I have always been a huge Robin Williams fan. I feel like I did myself an injustice by waiting so long to see this because the movie definitely delivered the goods. It was funny, dramatic, and it effectively zoned in on the emotional and endearing moments without being cheesy.

Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) was written by Mitch Markowitz and directed by Barry Levinson. It stars Robin Williams and Forest Whitaker. It is loosely based on the experiences of AFRS radio DJ Adrian Cronauer. In 1965, Cronauer (Williams) was flown in to Vietnam to host a radio show for the troops. His personality immediately clashes with his commanding officers, but the troops love him and rally to continue keeping him on the air. Soon he becomes friends with some of the locals and even starts teaching an English class. He realizes how hard this war is on these people and how much his show has affected the troops.

This movie had so much going for it, it's hard to know where to begin. I really appreciated the contrast of humor versus violence; it painted a very compelling story. The character arc of the protagonist was very rich with substance and emotion. He came to Vietnam with a sarcastic, laid-back attitude and over time he realized how important humor was for the men dying in the front lines. At the same time he also gets a first hand view of the horrific violence in the streets of Vietnam, making him much more humble and appreciative of their culture.

Robin Williams gives a stellar performance, he had me laughing aloud several times throughout. I am glad the filmmakers allowed him so much screen time to riff on his material and do one of the things he does best - make people laugh. I also appreciate that they captured dramatic moments with Williams, showing he is more than just a comedian.

This was a wonderful movie and I would recommend it to anybody who doesn't mind some light swearing.

Film trivia

  • This film had a budget of 13 million dollars and made a worldwide gross of 123.9 million dollars.
  • This movie was released on January 15, 1988. It was produced by Touchstone Pictures and distributed by Buena Vista Pictures.
  • The entire movie was filmed in Thailand.
  • Robin Williams ad-libbed all of Adrian Cronauer's broadcasts.
  • In order to give the trailers a more military feel, scenes of Cronauer on the air in military fatigues were shot specifically for the trailers.
  • As Adrain chases Tuan through the alley, the background music is actually a cut from Alex North's unused score for 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • While largely a critical success, there were those who questioned whether the Vietnam War was an appropriate subject or backdrop for a comedy.
  • At one point there were plans for a sequel, titled Good Morning, Chicago, which would have featured Cronauer as a reporter at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. While a script was written, the proposed sequel was eventually scrapped.


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