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Plot:

A drama focusing on the suffering, torture, and brutal treatment the American P.O.W.s had to deal with daily while in North Vietnam’s Hoa Lo Prison, the most infamous P.O.W. camp in Hanoi. The film focuses on the resistance the prisoners gave to their captors and the strong bonds formed by the Americans during their captivity.

Also Known As: A qualquier precio, The Hanoi Hilton, ハノイ・ヒルトン, Anoi Hilton, Hanoi Hilton, Hanoi Hilton: El Hilton de Hanoi, Ханой-Хилтон Soviet, Ханой Хилтън

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24 Comments

  • arseni
    Arseni

    I’m not robot, and i read all the comments !

  • prof-margaretha-bonbach-b-eng
    prof margaretha bonbach b eng

    Let me start off by saying that I was 1 year old when we pulled out American troops from Vietnam, but if I was an adult or teenager around that time I would have opposed the war as well. This film in question, The Hanoi Hilton is based on the experiences of American POW’s and their experiences in captivity during the war. The film does have a right wing tone that is in favor of the United States involvement in the conflict, but mostly is about the perseverance, solidarity and strength that these men had to endure while in captivity. The Hanoi Hilton was made by Cannon films, a company best known for action films like the Missing In Action series and Chuck Norris dose not show up to save the day in this one. This project, while not an action vehicle is another low budget film from Cannon. However, this is a pretty solid dramatic film with good performances from its ensemble cast. While hardly Oscar worthy, the movie gets across what it needs to by showing the horrific conditions, torture and squalor that American soldiers in captivity by the enemy had to endure and the efforts by their captors to break these men. The reality of the situation was, I am sure much worst then portrayed on celluloid. But, this gives the audience a good idea of what it may have been like for these men. Michael Moriarity is the leading man in this film and is told through his perspective and he delivers a solid performance. I remember this playing all the time on cable and it is a good film and holds up fairly well.

  • dr-hans-henning-ring
    dr hans henning ring

    This war drama is set in the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ prisoner-of-war camp. It focuses on a selection of American soldiers who are incarcerated there by the North Vietnamese over the course of the Vietnam War.The potential for something quite powerful is certainly there in the serious subject matter that this film is based on. But sadly this is a movie that never really gets out of second gear and is ultimately a mediocre take on a serious subject. The movie’s politics are fairly unambiguous and it depicts the communists as being fairly one-dimensionally evil. The portrayal of life in the camp seemed a bit overly idealistic too, with the American POWs more or less at liberty to disrespect their captors with very little consequence. I’m sure it was never quite as carefree in reality as it was depicted here. The cast has no stars and is serviceable at best but none of them really brings much dimension to their characters and consequently they are essentially rather lifeless. Ultimately, the film as a whole comes across as being somewhat underwhelming and is mainly redeemed by the fact that it’s based on a real historical situation which at least makes it educational at least to some extent.

  • sarah-palmer
    sarah palmer

    This movie is about as entertaining as watching my grandmother (rip) prepare a plate of cheese and low sodium crackers. Frankly I feel cheated. I bought this FULL PRICE brand new 2008 Warner Bros DVD from Amazon for a ridiculous $17.99 + shipping (I could have bought 3 early 1990’s Wesley Snipes features for that price dammit). A Cannon Pictures film from 1987 Reagan-Land I was expecting a Chuck Norris/Michael Dudikoff style R rated action extravaganza with ‘Nam soldiers shooting auto mag retribution at their sadistic communist captors…instead I was graced with an agonizing 125 minutes of grown men weeping and middle aged POW’s bitching about ‘the Longhairs back home’. Despite what I thought, this is a DRAMATIC film, NOT an action film. The body count is a realistic and pathetic 2 or 3, and other than a couple brief electro torture scenes and a few naughty words, this film is pretty uptight and proper viewing. The ENTIRE film, save for the first 4 minutes, takes place inside the famed Hanoi Hilton prisoner camp (North Vietnam circa. late 1960’s). Granted this story may ‘have heart’ and ‘show it like it really was for those brave boys’, but I don’t usually watch B-grade bare-bones scripted movies for their emotional depth. There is no real 1980s style ‘star’ here, but rather a throwback to the WWII films of the early 1960’s where a large and all male cast share equal billing. I didn’t recognize any actor save for two; a redheaded Jeffrey Jones from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as a heart-of-gold POW, and General Quoc himself Aki Aleong about to reprise his role for Braddock: Missing in Action III as head of the prison. Like a proper and authorized story, the movie ends when the US government negotiates the release of all the POW’s in East Asia, and they all weep for joy at their newfound freedom, cue credits. You can tell that the director was aiming this film at an older audience, likely for men who were POW’s in the 1960’s because these types of ultra-orthodox narratives would bore anyone from the MTV generation. Also the hyper-simplistic My-Government-Right-Or- Wrong mentality is really out of date by even this post-Iran Contra time in the late 1980’s. But I do give this film credit for depicting the North Vietnamese officials as sadistic as they did, especially this one greasy haired Cuban bastard. All in all, this is a boring and at times uncomfortable (read: homo-erotic) film to watch, and it’s over-simplistic patriotism and storyline is a big turn off.

  • angela-martins-barbosa
    angela martins barbosa

    I really do love the smell of conspiracy theories in the morning. Sadly the post of jw_55767 proves once again that most people prefer their ideological myths to reality.So lets look more closely at some of JW’s myths about this film. First, the theory that Hanoi Hilton disappeared because of a cabal of the rights favourite demon, “Hanoi Jane” and her media mogul husband Ted Turner. Turner. Wrong. Hanoi Hilton was released theatrically. It made, as IMDb notes less than a million dollars. All things being equal this means, if the market is always right as right wing apologists and polemicists usually maintain, Hanoi Hilton was voted down by American consumers and was not systematically hidden away by Ms. Fonda or her media mogul husband so no one could see it.Second, another favourite strategy of right wingers is to play up the atrocities of the enemy, which did occur, war after all is hell, and play down those of their own country. In reality, however, Americans committed atrocities in Vietnam just like the enemy did. One of many examples: My Lai. Atrocities, of course, have occurred in each and every modern war and they were committed by all sides.

  • andrea-del-bartolome
    andrea del bartolome

    After reading various comments, many of which accuse the flick of being a propaganda piece, I had to check it out.I think it’s fantastic. And I’m a DFH, long-haired, radical libertarian who felt, and still feel, that the American actions in Vietnam were a war crime. McNamara shouldn’t have been able to retire and write this memoirs; he should have been hung.The production, writing, directing, acting, editing simply work to tell the tale and show the strain. One commenter was bothered by the splintered, disjointed nature of the production; which feels like it derived directly from the script. I sort of wonder if the reason it didn’t bother me was that the mythic payload of the production is so strong that I indulge this disjointedness and see it as a natural reflection of the attitude of mind brought on by that strain. Of course, surviving the experience, psychologically, means that you have to gather those disjointed shards and assemble them into something you can understand when you find a few precious moments to do so. Furthermore, I was often struck by the lucid beauty of these fragments of shimmering humanity; of people clinging, moment by moment to their lives and the promise of solidarity.I guess I do want to highlight the writing. I’m a sort of fuddy-duddy who believes that the highest of this kind of art must rest on a foundation of beautiful writing; and I felt the script just glowed. On one level, it was a simple matter of creating that kind of hard, sturdy, dangerous realism; the kind of realism that all too often gets jettisoned by producers, in the interest of… what? In the interest, I suppose, of avoiding the danger of telling a real story, hence, not hewing to safe, standard-issue stuff that’s guaranteed to fill the seats of theaters. How did it come to pass that the script survived the process and didn’t get dumbed down by a script doctor? I think I understand now why the film did lousy at the box office: It’s too, too honest.And, make no mistake, I agree with the “gooks” that the American servicemen under their purview *were* criminals. They were criminals allied under a system that institutionalizes “values” of courage, fidelity, service–and all the rest of it–to the purpose of traveling half-way ’round the world to kill and otherwise terrorize in the interests of western capital. Vietnam was a war crime. And that doesn’t detract a whit from the stunning drama we witness in this flick: If anything, I think it enhances it! In fact, if you’re one of those who sees those servicemen as selfless servants of “freedom” and “democracy”–and despises what I’ve written above–watch the flick again with what I’ve said in mind, and see if the dramatic effect isn’t even stronger.Well, I’ve gone and done it: I rated it a ’10’; very rare for me! I can’t emphasize enough what a miracle this production is, again, for its refusal to submit to the usual production process that only serves to trivialize and denigrate the subject matter. I can plainly see why it “failed” as a film “product”… and why it may well be worthy of consideration as a historical document.

  • wouter-belpere-adriaansen
    wouter belpere adriaansen

    This movie is a bit of an oddity to me. On the one hand it feels like very mediocre handling of a serious subject. On the other hand, it has some compelling scenes sprinkled, sparingly, over it. I feel for the soldiers and their perdicerment but the movie just gets bogged down in itself. Like it had no real direction to follow and just throws everything on the screen in a desperate hope that something will stick. If the filmmakers had spent more time on story development and less time on tired war clichés this would have been a much better film. Still, I keep going back to watch it because there is potential in this film. Here is my list of things that this movie could have done better.1). War Clichés: This movie was RIFE with every tired war cliché in the book. From the Evil Camp Comendant that acts like a petty dictator who plays mind games with the prisoners. To senior ranking officer who taps his monologue of inspiration via Morse code. You try not to groan but just cant help it.2). Focus! Focus! Focus!: This movie was all over the place. One minute the prisoners are in isolation the next they are being tortured the next they are being paraded and ridiculed the next they meet up with American anti war protesters! Come on! Too much on the plate! If they had zeroed in on one, or at most, two themes they might have developed a more grounded story.Hopefully, somebody someday will attempt another movie about this subject. When they do, I recommend that they watch this movie very carefully and beware of the pitfalls and mistakes it made.

  • ulla-johann
    ulla johann

    First of all, I feel I should say that I am not against the idea of a movie praising U.S. soldiers who were imprisoned by the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War. These soldiers suffered greatly, and their stories are stories that need to be told. “The Hanoi Hilton” was obviously an attempt to tell these soldiers’ stories, but it is greatly uneven. One big problem is that the movie has a number of heavy-handed touches, namely with certain characters. It’s not just with some of the communists (the prison warden, a visiting Cuban military officer), but also with liberal western characters (a visiting journalist, a Jane Fonda clone). The movie also takes way too long to get to the 1970s, and then it starts moving so quickly that the viewer barely gets a chance to absorb the now quickly unfolding scenes. And Michael Moriarty, while giving good performances in other works, is really miscast here. He seems too wimpish and meek to be a military person of high rank.On the other hand, every so often there is a really good touch in the movie. The period detail is pretty good for the most part; real P.O.W.s praised the look of the movie. Some of the acting by the mostly no-name cast is pretty convincing, and there are a few scenes (a torture sequence with the audio cut out, the P.O.W.s having a Christmas dinner) that are really well done and have genuine power. So the movie is far from terrible, but it also isn’t exceptional. You may learn some things from this movie, but I have a feeling that if you want to learn what it was really like for these unfortunate men, you might find a book on the subject matter more informative.

  • wilson-alves-amaral
    wilson alves amaral

    Given the film’s pedigree–written and directed by Lionel Chetwynd, a self-described “right-wing activist”, and produced by the Cannon Pictures team of schlockmeisters Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus–it really isn’t as bad as one would expect it to be, certainly far above such other Vietnam-war Cannon fodder as the late and unlamented “Missing In Action” series with Chuck Norris, Cannon’s fourth-string Rambo. The based-on-fact story of American POWs held in a prison camp known as the Hanoi Hilton, it has a much better cast than Cannon usually gets, and they manage to bring more life to Chetwynd’s rather simplistic script than it deserves. Still, it does manage to hold your interest and Michael Moriarty, as always, gives a first-class performance. This is an important subject that deserves better treatment than it gets here, but the film is still worth a look.

  • carl-chambers
    carl chambers

    The Hanoi Hilton (1987) was an film that took a rare look at the brutal treatment many of the P.O.W. pilots went through whilst they were held captive in North Viet-Nam. What could have been a good movie is ruined by the right-wing rhetoric, soap boxing and grand standing that is so blatant that even a child could easily read through the lines. Maybe someday a film-maker will take this story and make a more balanced and straight forward view on the subject instead of swinging either to the left or the right. I like my movies to keep politics on the side (unless they can do it without hitting the viewer over the head like Brunuel or Watkins). A rare film on such an interesting subject.Worth a view but not a keeper.Fair.C

  • josipa-ladavac
    josipa ladavac

    This movie seems to be a well-intentioned tribute to the American P.O.W.s held for years under brutal conditions in North Vietnam. However, the characters are flat, the attitudes simplistic, the ambiance never quite persuasive. Episodes and characters come and go without much impact. One of the movie’s “highlights” consists of a montage-sequence in which a captured U.S. pilot played by David Anthony Smith is subjected to various kinds of torture. Accounts written by former POWs indicate that they suffered “rope” tortures and floggings delivered with whips made of strips of rubber taken from automobile tires. However, Smith’s torture shows him being shocked with electrical wires alligator-clipped to his nipples. One of the prison guards then gleefully turns the crank on an electrical generator and Smith begins to writhe in torment — a sight which prompts laughter from his delighted tormentors. Then the clips are transferred to Smith’s genitals, though the camera angle discreetly avoids nudity. The guard again turns the crank and he and his colleagues break into unabashed laughter once more as Smith, his sexual organs now being “fried,” dances in helpless agony. Dramatic, yes, but questionable. In his massively-detailed 1976 book, “P.O.W. – A Definitive History of the American Prisoner-of-War Experience in Vietnam, 1964-1973,” author John G. Hubbell makes absolutely no mention of electricity being used in either nipple or genital torture. One gets the impression these tortures were included in “The Hanoi Hilton” simply because they fitted our notions of how fiendishly sadistic the Oriental mind can be.

  • ioanina-gheorghiu
    ioanina gheorghiu

    DTUCKER.86 says it all. I served in the Army from June ’73 to ’76, so I had the misfortune to miss serving my Country with the true heroes. I also do a lot of reading, own hundreds of books, all non-fiction (with the exception of the only fiction book I own, The Warren Commission Report on the assassination of J.F.K.). Included in my collection are P.O.W. stories (any war) and these men went through HELL! Jane Fonda should have been THERE! Did any of you know how many of these HEROES were starved to death? The Dinks did not claim it was torture. They claimed, “no torture” because these Heroes (according to them) were “War criminals”, so they were not covered under the Geneva Accords. Vietnam signed the G.A’s, but in order to get away with torture, they claimed these Heroes were not soldiers, but “criminals”. Anyway, I could go on. We cannot forget the men who may still be alive there. Our government never has cared. Shameful. I have never seen the movie, but I will purchase it when /if I ever come across it. Please, people, when you meet ANY veterans, please look them in the eye, shake their hands, and THANK them for the good work they did. I do, and will always do this. Vietnam vets are a forgotten breed, got shot at and hit, and #@%& on and hit when they got home. Jane Fonda COULD have been executed for what she did, but “Daddy” had a lot of pull and saved her. She half-heartedly apologized, too little, too late. Her agent probably told her it would be a good idea. Well, I intend to see this movie. Sorry about my rantings, but the Veterans out there understand and agree. Thank you all for your time.Also, “freidurchdietat” had some nasty things to say about this movie. Life in a P.O.W. camp is not an “Action Story” with p.o.w’s shooting up communist captors. They weren’t issued any weapons. Lucky to get a spoon. No, it was not intended for the “MTV Generation” but those “kids” should be required to watch it. “A big turnoff”? This movie is obviously way above your intelligence. Go back to “M.T.V.”, your Chuck Norris hyper-action films, and leave the veterans alone. Better yet, run on down and join the Marine Corps. If you are lucky, maybe a D.I. will take you around back of the barracks and adjust your attitude. [email protected]

  • kristian-lund
    kristian lund

    After personally visiting the real Hanoi Hilton a couple weeks ago (or what is left of it), I had to watch the film. I must admit I was a little disappointed, though, but maybe not for some of the other reasons previously mentioned. I was disappointed primarily because the Hanoi Hilton depicted did not look like the real one from what I could tell. Admittedly, most of real HIlton was tore down in mid-90’s, so I truly have no way of knowing what the original courtyard looked like, etc. If anyone on here was there, I would very much appreciate your thoughts.In addition, although the acting superb and definitely pulling at my heart, I felt the movie was a little watered down to the horrors of such a prison. Again, thankfully I wasn’t there (and my tears well up for those who were), but seeing the real one made me think life there was much more depressed and brutal than this movie depicts.As a veteran who served two tours in Iraq/Kuwait (2004/2010), I would appreciate anyone who was there’s opinion comparing this film to reality.Thanks, CPO Kevin Hanley [email protected]

  • adam-donaldson
    adam donaldson

    Hanoi Hilton is an excellent movie that captures the horror and the pain that American POWs had to face during the Vietnam War. It is NOT a political movie as some naive liberals would write in the comments section–nor is it right-wing grandstanding. The fact is that the Vietnamese people were downright horrible and tortured our men on a regular basis is historical fact. The fact that Jane Fonda, and other Hollywood idiot who would NEVER ever serve this great country (yet expect all the benefits American soldiers have given them)went to Nam and insulted the prisoners is an absolute fact. Those who write that this is a political movie are part of the problems with America–those who have never served, those who are too cowardice to serve, and those who spit on and insult the American soldier. Not one of them would have had the courage to withstand the torture and mayhem these brave men had to face each and every day. You should be saluting these men and not insulting them. These men are part of the reason you have MTV, HBO, NFL, freedom, the right to vote, etc–why America is free.

  • jowlieta-eghiazaryan
    jowlieta eghiazaryan

    The Hanoi Hilton is a must-see film. Many leftists denounce its historical accuracy and positive portrayal of the men who fought and died to prevent the disaster that befell Vietnam. If you want to know what the men were really like, by all means see this film. Don’t waste your time on Communist propaganda crap like the monstrosity Platoon. NOTE TO ALL LEFTISTS: As this movie shows, most of the soldiers who fought were courageous and honorable men, not mindless killers like the idiots in the media want you to believe.

  • jasmin-ikonen
    jasmin ikonen

    1. This movie was not released widely due to several factors I learned from a producer and actor in the film. a. The ‘woman’ who has been described as Hanoi Jane was a composite of several though she has been claimed to be Jane, alone. b. The ‘slanderous’ portrayal of ‘Jane’ was a concern to backers who felt they could lose $ in a lawsuit. c. Most people seeing it supported the facts and events, lawsuits and Jane, aside. 2. There were Chi-Coms,Cubans, N.Koreans, East Euro/East German types who were minimized in the film. a. These inquisitors conducted limited bio-chem acts against the POWs. b. These enemy military murdered POWs and have never been held accountable due to politics of the time and the present. c. The ‘turned’ POWs were either tortured or compliant. NO one could withstand the tortures. 3. To present day, techniques experienced are still used in resistance training in the US military, as well as our enemies. a. The use of physical and mental torture by our enemies then to the present time also is used and sometimes revealed in movies. 4. Hanoi Hilton is a good movie overall due to the actors used and their intent to portray accurately, the conditions of the POWs. a. While there are some flubs and heartstrings tugged, the movie was designed to show the human condition that made our enemies realize that we hold (any) human life in value. b. That we are willing to sacrifice dozens of our own to rescue one, to never leave anyone behind. 5. I learned that first hand on special missions, but especially Desert One in 1980. My crew was lost on the EC130E that was destroyed. a. The mission was not a failure. b. It showed our need to maintain the high standards of military preparedness vs weakness. c. We were willing to go full force to rescue Americans we never knew or met. That is the difference between those who oppress and those who free. 6. Hanoi Hilton should be shown to high school kids as well as those in training for military, civil, corporate employment. 7. Michael Moriarty was the right choice and voice. He was both humane and a leader. As an actor, he made sure that we knew it wasn’t just a role. The man is someone I’d call a best friend. Get a copy of the film. Share it with family and friends.

  • nuc-a-basilashvili
    nuc a basilashvili

    This movie was a excellent way of showing how American POWs survived in Vietnam during the war. Michael Moriarty gives a riveting performance as Williamson and Scotty Sachs gives a memorable perfomance as Soles. This movie is a must see a war buff and it will eat away at a person’s heart.

  • joshua-guerrero
    joshua guerrero

    Like anyone else who has seen this film, I stumbled across it quite by accident.I enjoyed it and considered it to be an historically accurate portrayal of the experiences of POW’s in North Viet-Nam to the best of my knowledge from other accounts by POW’s.I am a Viet-Nam veteran who has always been puzzled by the obscurity of this film. Why was it never released to theaters? I am not a conspiracy theorist by nature, but I have always wondered if the wealth and power of Hanoi Jane Fonda might have had something to do with the stifling of this movie. If I am not mistaken, I believe she was married to the media mogul, Ted Turner at the time. Any thoughts?

  • lawrence-parker
    lawrence parker

    This movie was not good, the only thing that made it even remotely realistic was the torture. I have read every book on Vietnam POW’s that I can possibly get my hands on and believe me the way that the American and Vietnamese were portrayed in this movie is far from accurate. Don’t get me wrong, the POW’s area heroes, and they did the best they could but the didn’t walk by each other saluting, or flaunt their chain of command to the North, more accurately they were broken men, many stories tell of the fear they felt hearing the guards keys tingle, there is one moment were a prisoner is being taken out to “interrogation” and he jumps off the bed saying “my turn” like it is some luxury trip. I have no problem with a movie portraying these men as resilient, and brave, but lets stop the B/s propaganda and show how they were shells of the men they once were. It wasn’t until the 70’s that some of them even saw the face of another man in the very next cell! Its a disgrace to make this movie like they were on vacation, and the Guards weren’t bumbling idiots as portrayed in the film. Read a book to get the true story’s, and if you must watch a movie watch a documentary. This is just junk.

  • madalena-machado
    madalena machado

    It is always refreshing to see Col Jim Thompson receiving the recognition he so rightly deserves. I was honored to have known Col Thompson following his return from the hells of 9 years of imprisonment. My father was an officer stationed at Valley Forge General Hospital after his own stint in Viet Nam. He was chosen to be Col Thompson’s personal escort upon his return.When finally determined to be “healthy” enough to travel, he spent many evenings with us. Even though I was a very young man at the time, 3rd grade, I will never forget the scenes that played out around our dining room table and in our living room.As far as I am concerned, Col Thompson was then and is now in death a true American hero. I wish others would hear of his story to understand what he and the other POWs went through.It is because of their determination, and all those who serve, that have guaranteed our freedoms for over 200 years.

  • farkas-szabo-lajos
    farkas szabo lajos

    Very compelling and realistic portrayal of life as a N.Vietnam POW and how opinion at home affected their situation. You can read Jane Fonda’s own broadcasts to verify that the “portrayal” of her and Tom Hayden was not a caricature. Few Americans understood the impact their views and actions had on American soldiers and POWs. There are several standout performances, especially by Moriarity, Pressman, Jones and “Starsky and Hutch” star,David Soul. Although intentionally episodic and semi-documentary in style-the period covered was after all, 9 years -the film is nonetheless compelling. However it’s main goal seems to tell the story and not make great “film”.This is not Mallick’s ” The Thin Red Line”(a superb, introspective film). H. Hilton’s view that the strength of US military training and code of honor, the value and support of religion in tough times and it’s admiration of the “average guy” is more in line with Scott’s “Blackhawk Down” and Stephen Ambrose’s influenced Speilberg film, “Saving Private Ryan” Neither of these films are as artistic as Mallicks-but all are true to the reality of the specific event.An interesting film to view in conjunction with the H.Hilton is the fictional and quite propagandist ” Coming Home” starring Jane Fonda.In that film only Vets who denounced the war(nothing wrong with that)are given credibility. Fonda’s husband in the film, Bruce Dern, is not only a joke as a soldier (his metal is for being shot in the rear end)but as a man-he has never given his wife an orgasm-that’s left to hero Jon Voight, a paraplegic who renounces the war. Dern ultimately drowns himself. Talk about a loaded deck. No recognition in that film that an American GI who supports his country might have the character of any of the POWs in the Hanoi Hilton. These men were the “forgotten men” of the 60’s/early 70’s- The Hanoi Hilton was not at all popular at the box office and vilified by many in the Hollywood community when it was made-but it was ahead of it’s time content-wise and quite brave for it.

  • james-bauer
    james bauer

    The Hanoi Hilton is an excellent film, that sadly never found an audience due to the fact it was an independant film with a cast of relative unknowns (except for Michael Moriarity and David Soul). This is a shame because it spotlights the men of the Vietnam war who were the true heroes. The prisoners of war who went though hell for our country. We are spared no details of that hell they went through in this film. It is a terrible story, but one that needs to be told and one we must never forget. One thing I wanted to add, its a mistake that few have corrected. Many people believe that the longest held prisoner of war in Vietnam was Navy Commander Everett Alvarez. He was shot down in August of 1964 and held until February 1973. This is not true, the longest held POW of the Vietnam War (indeed the longest held prisoner of war in American history) is Army officer Floyd James Thompson. I read a book about him called Glory Denied by Tom Philpott that told his heartbreaking story and I want to tell it as well. Jim Thompson was born in New Jersey in 1933. He started out life working in a grocery store and married his sweetheart Alyce in 1953. In 1956, he was drafted into the Army. He grew to love the Army and planned to be a thirty year man. He went through Officer Candidate School, Airborne and Ranger training and became a Green Beret Special Forces Officer at Fort Bragg North Carolina. In December of 1963, Captain Thompson was sent to a then unknown country called Vietnam for a six month tour. In March of 1964 (I wish to point out this is almost six months before Alvarez’s capture) Captain Thompson was on a small spy plane that was shot down. He was badly wounded and taken prisoner. Thompson spent nine years in hell. He was kept in mostly jungle camps that were even worse then the Hanoi Hilton. At one point, he had no contact with other human beings for five years. He underwent starvation and horrible torture before finally being realeased in March of 1973. However, Thompson’s sad story was in many ways just beginning. He and his wife divorced and he was never able to really connect with his four children (his three daughters were only 6,4 and 2 when he was shot down and his son was born after he was taken prisoner). Although he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, he had lost the nine most important years of his career. He was a Lieutenant Colonel who didn’t even have a Captain’s experience. He married again but divorced shortly afterwards. Thompson began drinking heavily and even attempted suicide. Then in 1981, ironically after he finally conquered his alcoholism, Thompson suffered a massive heart attack and while hospitalized also suffered a massive stroke that left him permanently disabled. In 1990, he had to go thru the agony of seeing his son imprisoned for murder. Last year, Colonel Floyd James Thompson, a true American hero, died at the age of 69. This was one of the saddest stories that I have ever heard in my life a man and his family destroyed by war. I hope many people read the words that I am writing now because we need to remember the sacrifice of Colonel Thompson and the many like him who were POWs. The Hanoi Hilton helps us do just that.

  • papp-v-erzsebet
    papp v erzsebet

    I felt it important to respond to the statement of the person from Minnesota re: The Hanoi Hilton. The torture tactics by the NVA were questioned in the motion picture. The idea that these horrid experiments were not employed is sheer liberal naiveté. I spent several days designing the sequence of the shots and making storyboards for (Lionel Chetwynd) the director based upon lengthy research and a grueling interview with a former (Congressional Medal of Honor recipient)American P.O.W. The distinguished officer described in great detail the many barbaric torture methods employed by his captors. It turned my stomach and revealed the dark evil side of humanity.

  • eitel-schottin-trub
    eitel schottin trub

    I worked as an extra on the film. I was looking for work and a neighbor told me about a casting agency that was looking for extras. The scenes in the prison were filmed in a closed VA hospital in Westwood Los Angeles. The site was chosen because of the architectural similarity to the prison in Hanoi.One of the perks of working on the film was a POW haircut.We non union extras were told in no uncertain terms not to bother the actors. One time in the commissary line I was behind Michael Moriarty and another extra I was friendly with struck up a conversation with him. He told Michael that he had been an extra serving as a juror on a courtroom drama that Michael had filmed. Michael remembered him and chatted with him amiably. Later that day that extra got a ‘bump’ arranged by Moriarty. He was given a speaking line which gave him the right to get a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) card which is required to work as an actor. That extra had an ambition to be an actor so it was a huge step forward to get the SAG card. I always liked Moriarty as an actor but since that day I’ve liked him as a human being.The scene of the prisoners being run through Hanoi was filmed in an industrial area south of downtown LA.The scene of the prisoners waiting for the plane to take them home was filmed at an air base east of LA. Leo K. Thorsness, a retired air force colonel, who was a consultant on the film was present for the filming at the air base and much of the filming in Westwood. Thorsness had been shot down over North Vietnam in April 1967. He was released in March of 1973. He was tortured in captivity.The plane landing to take the prisoners home was provided by the air force. The plane touched down and taxied on the runway long enough to be filmed then took off to return to its own base. We were told it was the same kind of plane that picked up the first batch of prisoners to be released. I got a kick out of the arid Southern California mountains in the background devoid of vegetation. In Southeast Asia every inch of every hill is covered with vegetation.We filmed in the fall of 1983. I believe the film was played in sneak previews in several locations around the country and was wildly cheered by the audiences. The left wing press stepped up a campaign to trash the film. If I’m correct it was never released to theaters and was eventually released to video.