Good Morning, Vietnam

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Good Morning, Vietnam
Good Morning, Vietnam.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Barry Levinson
Produced by Larry Brezner
Mark Johnson
Written by Mitch Markowitz
Starring Robin Williams
Forest Whitaker
Music by Alex North
Cinematography Peter Sova
Edited by Stu Linder
Production
company
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • December 23, 1987 (1987-12-23) (United States: limited)
  • January 15, 1988 (1988-01-15) (United States: wide)
Running time 120 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $13 million[1]
Box office $123,922,370[1]

Good Morning, Vietnam is a 1987 American war comedy-drama film written by Mitch Markowitz and directed by Barry Levinson.

Set in Saigon in 1965, during the Vietnam War, the film stars Robin Williams as a radio DJ on Armed Forces Radio Service, who proves hugely popular with the troops, but infuriates his superiors with what they call his "irreverent tendency". The story is loosely based on the experiences of AFRS radio DJ Adrian Cronauer.[2]

Most of Williams' radio broadcasts were improvised. The film was a critical and commercial success; for his work in the film, Williams was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. The film is number 100 on the list of the "American Film Institiute's 100 Funniest American Movies".

Plot[edit]

In 1965, Airman Second Class Adrian Cronauer (Williams) arrives in Saigon from Crete to work as a DJ for Armed Forces Radio Service. Cronauer is greeted by Private First Class Edward Montesquieu Garlick (Whitaker). Cronauer's irreverence contrasts sharply with many staff members and soon rouses the ire of two of his superiors, Second Lieutenant Steven Hauk (Kirby) and Sergeant Major Phillip Dickerson (Walsh). Hauk adheres to strict Army guidelines in terms of humor and music programming, while Dickerson is generally abusive to all enlisted men. However, Brigadier General Taylor (Willingham) and the other DJs quickly grow to like the new man and his brand of comedy. Cronauer's show consists of unpredictable humor segments mixed with news updates (vetted by the station censors) and rock and roll records that are frowned upon by his superiors.

Cronauer meets Trinh (Chintara Sukapatana), a Vietnamese girl, and follows her to an English class. Bribing the teacher to let him take over the job, Cronauer starts instructing the students in the use of American slang. Once class is dismissed, he tries to talk to Trinh but is stopped by her brother Tuan. Instead, Cronauer befriends Tuan and takes him to Jimmy Wah's, the local GI bar, to have drinks with Garlick and the station staff. Two other soldiers, angered at Tuan's presence, initiate a confrontation that Cronauer escalates into a brawl.

Dickerson reprimands Cronauer for this incident, but his broadcasts continue as before. While relaxing in Jimmy Wah's one afternoon, he is pulled outside by Tuan moments before the building explodes, killing two soldiers and leaving Cronauer badly shaken. The cause of the explosion is determined to be a bomb; the news is censored, but Cronauer locks himself in the studio and reports it anyway. Dickerson cuts off the broadcast and Cronauer is suspended. Hauk takes over his shows, but his poor attempts at comedy and insistence on playing polka music lead to a flood of letters and phone calls from servicemen who demand that Cronauer be put back on the air.

In the meantime, Cronauer spends his time drinking and pursuing Trinh, only to be rebuffed at every attempt. At the radio station, Taylor intervenes on Cronauer's behalf, ordering Hauk to reinstate him, but Cronauer refuses to go back to work. Garlick's and Cronauer's vehicle becomes stopped in a congested street amidst a convoy of soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division, who persuade him to do an impromptu "broadcast" for them before they go off to Nha Trang to fight. This incident reminds him why his job is important, and he soon returns to the air.

Dickerson devises a ploy to get rid of Cronauer by sending him and Garlick to interview soldiers in the field, knowing that the only road into the area, a highway to An Lộc, is controlled by the Viet Cong. Their Jeep is blown off the road by a mine and they are forced to hide in the jungle from the VC patrols. In Saigon, Tuan, who learns of their trip after Cronauer fails to show up for English class, steals a van and drives off after them. He finds them, but the van breaks down and they must flag down a Marine helicopter to take them back to the city.

At the station, Dickerson confronts Cronauer, declaring he is now off the air for good. His friend Tuan is revealed as a VC operative who was responsible for the bombing of Jimmy Wah's. Dickerson has arranged for an honorable discharge, provided Cronauer leaves "quietly." General Taylor arrives and informs Cronauer that, regrettably, he cannot help him since his friendship with Tuan would place the reputation of the US Army at risk. After Taylor leaves, Cronauer asks Dickerson why he engineered his dismissal. Dickerson openly admits his personal dislike for Cronauer, his sense of humor, and his style of broadcasting. After Cronauer leaves, Taylor casually informs an astonished Dickerson that he is being transferred to Guam.

Cronauer chases down Tuan after accosting Trinh for her brother's whereabouts. Cronauer loses Tuan in the village, and he decries Tuan's actions against the American forces. Emerging from the shadows, Tuan retorts that the United States military has decimated his family. The next day, on his way to the airport with Garlick, and under MP escort, Cronauer sets up a quick softball game with the students from his English class (fulfilling a promise he made to them), where he gets to say goodbye to Trinh. As he boards the plane, he gives Garlick a taped farewell message; Garlick – taking Cronauer's place as DJ – plays the tape on the air the next morning. It begins with a yell of "Gooooooooooooooooodbye, Vietnam!" and runs through a few of Cronauer's impressions before ending with his wish that everyone will get home safely.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Stand-up comedian and actor Robin Williams received much critical acclaim for his portrayal of Adrian Cronauer in the film, being nominated for and winning multiple awards for his acting.

In 1979, Adrian Cronauer pitched a sitcom based on his experiences as an AFRS DJ. TV networks were not interested, however, because they did not see war as comedy material,[2] even though one of the most popular shows at the time was M*A*S*H. Cronauer then revamped his sitcom into a script for a TV movie of the week, which eventually got the attention of Robin Williams.[2] Very little of Cronauer's original treatment remained after writer Mitch Markowitz was brought in.[3] The film was shot in Bangkok, Thailand.[4]

Reception[edit]

Good Morning, Vietnam was one of the most successful films of the year, becoming the fourth highest-grossing film of 1987.

Good Morning, Vietnam received outstanding reviews from film critics. The website Rotten Tomatoes, which compiles critical reviews for movies, awarded Good Morning, Vietnam a rating of 89%[5] and the consensus: "A well-calibrated blend of manic comedy and poignant drama, Good Morning, Vietnam offers a captivating look at a wide range of Robin Williams' cinematic gifts." Both Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel of the review show Siskel and Ebert awarded the film "Two Thumbs Up", with Ebert giving the film a four of out four star review in the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper.[6] Richard Corliss of Time magazine called the film "the best military comedy since M*A*S*H", and named it one of the best films of the year. Vincent Canby of the New York Times called the film a cinematic "tour de force" and Williams's work that of "an accomplished actor".[7] Much of the acclaim went to Williams's performance, a role that earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.[8]

John J. Puccio of moviemet.com gave a mixed review, saying that the comedy was hilarious, but that the drama was too "melodramatic".[9]

Awards and honors[edit]

Soundtrack and other songs[edit]

The following table lists the songs that are featured in the film, in alphabetical order; most of these are heard as radio broadcasts.

Song Artist
"Acapulco" Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
"Around the World in 80 Days" Lawrence Welk
"Baby, Please Don't Go" Them
"Ballad of a Thin Man" The Grass Roots
"Beach Blanket Bingo" Frankie Avalon
"California Sun" The Rivieras
"Cast Your Fate to the Wind" Sounds Orchestral
"Danger! Heartbreak Dead Ahead" The Marvelettes
"Don't Worry Baby" The Beach Boys
"Dream On Little Dreamer" Perry Como
"Five O'Clock World" The Vogues
"Game of Love" Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders
"Get a Job" The Silhouettes
"I Get Around" The Beach Boys
"I Got You (I Feel Good)" James Brown
"I'll Never Smile Again" Lawrence Welk
"In the Midnight Hour" Wilson Pickett
"It's Alright" Adam Faith
"Kit Kat Polka" Lawrence Welk & Myron Floren
"Liar, Liar" The Castaways
"Like Tweet" Joe Puma & Eddie Hall
"Lollipops and Roses" Jack Jones
"My Boyfriend's Back" The Angels
"Nowhere to Run" Martha and the Vandellas
"Puff, the Magic Dragon" Peter Yarrow & Leonard Lipton
"Rawhide" Dimitri Tiomkin & Ned Washington
"Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" Ray Conniff
"Sugar and Spice" The Searchers
"There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight" Lawrence Welk & Myron Floren
"The Warmth of the Sun" The Beach Boys
"What a Wonderful World" Louis Armstrong
"Yeh Yeh" Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames
"You Keep Me Hangin' On" The Supremes

The soundtrack album included only the songs marked in boldface above. It was certified platinum in the US.[13] Louis Armstrong's What A Wonderful World was released as a single because of the film and reached position 32 on the US Top 40, 20 years after its original release.[14]

References[edit]

External links[edit]