THE GREEN BERETS
DIRECTED BY JOHN WAYNE/RAY KELLOGG/ MERVYN LEROY
PRODUCED BY MICHAEL WAYNE
MUSIC BY MIKLOS ROSZA
WARNER BROS-SEVEN ARTS
Photo with the courtesy of lasbugas
INFORMATION FROM IMDb
Col. Mike Kirby picks two teams of crack Green Berets for a mission in South Vietnam.
First off is to build and control a camp that is trying to be taken by the enemy
the second mission is to kidnap a North Vietnamese General.
John Wayne .... Col. Mike Kirby
David Janssen .... George Beckworth
Jim Hutton .... Sgt. Petersen
Aldo Ray .... Sgt. Muldoon
Raymond St. Jacques .... Doc McGee
Bruce Cabot .... Col. Morgan
Jack Soo .... Col. Cai
George Takei .... Capt. Nim
Patrick Wayne .... Lt. Jamison
Luke Askew .... Sgt. Provo
Irene Tsu .... Lin
Edward Faulkner .... Capt. MacDaniel
Jason Evers .... Capt. Coleman
Mike Henry .... Sgt. Kowalski
Craig Jue .... Hamchunk
Chuck Roberson .... Sgt. Griffin
Eddy Donno .... Sgt. Watson
Rudy Robbins .... Sgt. Parks
Richard 'Cactus' Pryor .... Collier (as Cactus Pryor)
Vera Miles .... Mrs. Kirby (scenes deleted)
Yodying Apibal .... South Vietnamese soldier (uncredited)
Charles Bail .... Sgt. Lark (uncredited)
Jess Barker .... (uncredited)
Vincente Cadiente .... Viet Cong soldier (uncredited)
Walker Edmiston .... (uncredited)
Tom Hennesy .... (uncredited)
Frank Koomen .... Lt. Sachs (uncredited)
Cliff Lyons .... (uncredited)
William Olds .... Phan Son Ti (uncredited)
James Seay .... (uncredited)
Bill Shannon .... Sgt. White (uncredited)
Hayward Soo Hoo .... Soldier (uncredited)
Laird Stuart .... Lt. Olsen (uncredited)
Ralph Volkie .... (uncredited)
Dick Warlock .... (uncredited)
Bach Yen .... Singer (uncredited)
James Lee Barrett
Col. Kenneth B. Facey
Robin Moore novel
Winton C. Hoch
Dave Grayson .... makeup artist
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Joe L. Cramer .... assistant director
Cliff Lyons .... second unit director
Phil Adams .... stunts (uncredited)
Charles Bail .... stunts (uncredited)
Stan Barrett .... stunts (uncredited)
Bobby Bass .... stunts (uncredited)
Dick Bullock .... stunts (uncredited)
Jim Burk .... stunts (uncredited)
Vincente Cadiente .... stunts (uncredited)
Hank Calia .... stunts (uncredited)
Bill Couch .... stunts (uncredited)
Chuck Couch .... stunts (uncredited)
Chuck Courtney .... stunts (uncredited)
Everett Creach .... stunts (uncredited)
Eddy Donno .... stunts (uncredited)
Joe Finnegan .... stunts (uncredited)
Alan Gibbs .... stunts (uncredited)
Tom Hennesy .... stunts (uncredited)
John Hudkins .... stunts (uncredited)
Yoneo Iguchi .... stunts (uncredited)
Joe Lewis .... stunts (uncredited)
Cliff Lyons .... stunt coordinator (uncredited)
Cliff Lyons .... stunts (uncredited)
Roy K. Ogata .... stunts (uncredited)
Ernie F. Orsatti .... stunts (uncredited)
Ed Parker .... stunts (uncredited)
Chuck Roberson .... stunts (uncredited)
Ronald C. Ross .... stunts (uncredited)
George Sawaya .... stunts (uncredited)
Bill Shannon .... stunts (uncredited)
Hayward Soo Hoo .... stunts (uncredited)
Jerry Summers .... stunts (uncredited)
Dick Warlock .... stunts (uncredited)
Robert Warner .... stunts (uncredited)
Much of the film was shot in 1967 at Ft. Benning, Georgia, hence the large pine forests in the background rather than tropical jungle trees.
Some of the "Vietnamese village" sets were so realistic they were left intact, and were later used by the Army for training troops destined for Vietnam.
The colonel who ran the jump school (and who was seen shooting trap with John Wayne) was the real jump school commandant and a legendary commander of U.S. paratroopers.
Late in the movie John Wayne can be seen to wrap his rappelling rope through a carabineer the wrong way. Called a "fatal hookup" in the Army, this would result in an immediate fall once weight was applied.
David Janssen was working on this film when the final episode of his series "The Fugitive" (1963) aired.
In the book "Green Berets" by Robin Moore, the main character is based on Maj. Larry Thorne (originally Lauri Törni, a Finnish soldier who moved to USA after WWII).
George Takei missed working on the "The Trouble with Tribbles" episode of the original "Star Trek" (1966) series to work on this movie.
WILHELM SCREAM: As enemy soldiers are thrown into the air by an exploding grenade.
Scenes were filmed with Vera Miles as John Wayne's wife but they were cut before release by the studio. Wayne made up for this by casting Miles in his next film Hellfighters (1968).
In 1967 John Wayne wrote to Democratic President Lyndon Johnson requesting military assistance for his pro-war film about Vietnam. Jack Valenti told the President, "Wayne's politics are wrong, but if he makes this film he will be helping us." Wayne got enough firepower to make The Green Berets (1968), which became one of the most controversial movies of all time.
Warner Bros. were concerned about letting John Wayne direct the movie because of the fact that his previous directorial effort, The Alamo (1960), had been an expensive flop. They therefore only agreed to let him do the film if he agreed to co-direct with a more experienced director, and Wayne chose Ray Kellogg who, despite having only ever directed B-movies, the studio accepted due to his track record as a second unit director on a number of major studio releases.
The defensive battle that takes place during the second half of the movie is very loosely based on the Battle of Nam Dong, during which two Viet Cong battalions attacked a small outpost in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam which was defended by a mixed force of Americans, Australians and South Vietnamese troops on July 6, 1964. After the successful defense of the outpost, the commanding officer, CPT Roger Donlon, was awarded the Medal of Honor.
The character Colonel Mike Kirby is based on the real life person Lauri Törni, who later on called himself Larry Thorne. Lauri Törni was a Finnish Army captain who fought in the Second World War during the Winter War (1939-40) and Continuation War (1941-44) against the Soviet Union. He emigrated to the USA in the late 1940s, and in 1954 joined the US Army, and in November 1963 he joined the Special Forces unit A-734 in Vietnam and fought in the Mekong Delta. He disappeared during a mission in 1965 and was reported MIA (Missing In Action). Larry Thorne's remains were found in 1999, and formally identified in 2003.
The three leads, John Wayne, David Janssen, and Jim Hutton, all died within slightly over eight months of one another: Hutton on June 2, 1979, Wayne on June 11, 1979, and Janssen on February 13, 1980.
Most colonels were only in their late twenties or early thirties during the Vietnam War. John Wayne was 60 when this film was made and Bruce Cabot was 63.
* Revealing mistakes: The M-16 that Col. Kirby smashes against a tree is a toy gun made by Mattel in the 1960s. You can see tell by the speaker holes in the magazine (which is also much larger than a real M-16 magazine).
* Revealing mistakes: Col. Kirby uses a "fatal hookup" when rappelling from the mansion's balcony. He is clearly shown wrapping the rope the wrong way through the karabiner. As soon as weight is put on it, the karabiner opens and the rappeller falls free. U.S. Army karabiners in 1968 were non-locking, and were called "snap links" because of it.
* Revealing mistakes: When Kirby's helicopter crashes in a ball of fire the rigging cables used to suspend it are visible.
* Revealing mistakes: During the night attack on the base, a medium shot of the attacking "Vietcong" clearly shows that, although dressed in the traditional VC black pajamas and conical straw hats, most, if not all, of them are Caucasians (the film was shot at Fort Benning, Georgia, and many soldiers were hired as extras).
* Factual errors: The mortar tube that the crew is using in the pit is a 4.2 inch (diameter) mortar. Yet they are dropping 81mm rounds down the tube. Also, when a round is fired out of a mortar, it sounds like an explosion, not like a small "poof".
* Continuity: Before they all leave for Vietnam, Sgt. Muldoon wakes everybody up and turns to Petersen's place and the top of an open guitar case can be seen with a guitar in it. Then we get a look at the place from Muldoon's point of view. The next shot shows Muldoon again, but the guitar is now out of the case and leaning against the wall.
* Errors in geography: The movie supposedly takes place in Vietnam. Besides the southern yellow pines that make up 95% of the forests, there is an obvious lack of palm trees and other tropical plants. In addition, in the beginning of the movie they walk past a water tower with a red and white checkered paint scheme. This is how water towers are painted on U.S. military bases in the United States. Forward operation posts do not build water towers like this.
* Factual errors: Kirby arrives in Vietnam on an airfield where the airfield operations do not make any sense. For some reason there are troops marching around in circles on the tarmac and one version of every single type of aircraft the army owns sitting right next to each other. In addition, there are jeeps driving all around the tarmac with troops with loaded guns. This is a very dangerous and improbable use of an airfield.
* Factual errors: The helicopter Kirby is in does not react correctly in terms of aerodynamics after it is hit and catches fire. The helicopter would have swung violently around, speeded up as it fell, and would have crashed extremely hard, easily killing everyone on board.
* Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): In the opening scene of the film, Sgt. Muldoon states that the founding fathers of the United States began writing the constitution after the revolutionary war was over "from 1776 to 1783". The Revolutionary War in fact ended with the treaty of Paris in November of 1783.
* Continuity: In the scene where John Wayne tells Provo to set up a .30 caliber weapon to support the .50 caliber weapon, "Provo" reacts to being shot before the VC actually shoots him.
* Revealing mistakes: When the tower that John Wayne is standing on gets hit by enemy fire and begins to fall, the people in the tower shown falling are clearly dummies, not human.
* Continuity: In the final scene with Kirby and Hamchuck on the beach, it is clearly around noon or so when the conversation starts, but just a few frames later the sun is setting.
* Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): After the Americans arrive at the base camp, John Wayne/Col Kirby introduces David Janssen to the camp commander by pointing his weapon at him and waving it. As a soldier, his character should know better: you treat your weapon as though it is loaded and never point the muzzle at something unless it is a target.
* Factual errors: When the AC-47 was firing on the camp, it is impossible for the rounds to strike in a straight line. This is because the aircraft fires while in a bank.
* Revealing mistakes: During the rainstorm, it is obvious that characters in the background of the scene are not subject to the rain. The ground in the background is a lighter colour than the ground in the foreground. Also it is apparent that the sun is shining in that area
* Continuity: In one of the scenes showing the helicopters leaving the camp, as Tran and Beckworth discuss them it shows a helicopter leaving with the number 4 on it's nose. The scene cuts to Tran and Beckworth discussing two helicopters going on patrol and then cuts back to the helicopter with '4' on its nose taking off again albeit shot from a different angle
* Factual errors: One scene shows several helicopters touching down in a landing zone (LZ) near the base camp. Simultaneously (and well before all the helicopters have completed their landing) at least 1 jeep is shown driving out into the LZ, approaching a helicopter from its rear and crowding alongside it's spinning tail rotor. This is extremely dangerous and people have literally lost their heads because of this. Safety mandates that everyone stays clear of all helicopter spinning tail rotors at all times and an LZ should be kept clear of all non-emergency vehicles.
* Continuity: At (01:31) A small group of soldiers is gathered with Colonel Kirby (John Wayne) as the "Mike force" is landing in helicopters. Sgt. Provo (Luke Askew) loses his boonie hat as the second chopper in the stick touches down. The cover is seen to fly straight up and is presumably pushed a distance away from the rotor wash. Provo remains without a hat until a closeup scene a few seconds later when he is miraculously wearing it again though he hasn't left the group.
* Revealing mistakes: Although hard to spot in the film, still photographs taken on location reveal Colonel Kirby and Captain MacDaniel to be wearing highly polished, standard combat boots - not paratrooper's jump boots - with their tan Class A uniforms in their scenes at Ft. Bragg. Special Forces soldiers, all qualified paratroopers, wore jump boots with both their dress and fatigue uniforms.
* Incorrectly regarded as goofs: The famous supposed-goof at the end of the movie where the characters watch the sun set over the ocean in the east is not necessarily impossible. Since no previous scenes take place on the coast, this scene could have taken place anywhere in Vietnam. Vietnam does have a west coast - albeit a short one.
* Continuity: At the start of the movie, the orientation team is a part of the 3rd Special Forces Group. Muldoon and McGee are wearing 3rd Group flashes on their berets. The next time we see them, they are with Col. Kirby watching Peterson. They are then wearing 5th Group flashes.
Fort Benning, Georgia, USA
Stage 25, Warner Brothers Burbank Studios - 4000 Warner Boulevard, Burbank, California, USA
Watch the Trailer