A Rumor of War (1980)





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Movie Info

The 2-part TV movie Rumor of War was based on the 1977 memoirs of Vietnam veteran Philip Caputo. Brad Davis stars as Caputo, who during the mid-1960s was a Marine lieutenant. In battle after battle, Caputo performs his duties admirably, even when questioning the wisdom of America's Vietnam involvement. As both the war and the body count escalate, Caputo suffers a nervous breakdown. A Rumor of War bears an inevitable resemblance to the much-earlier antiwar epic All Quiet on the Western Front, right down to the presence of a father-figure combat sergeant (Brian Dennehy). Its few cliches aside, the film is a powerful indictment of the brutalization and depersonalization of America's Vietnam forces. A Rumor of War premiered on September 24 and 25, 1980.
Drama , Television
Directed By:
Written By:
Charles Fries Productions


Brad Davis
as Phil Caputo
Stacy Keach
as Major Ball
Brian Dennehy
as Coleman
Steve Forrest
as Atherton
John Friedrich
as Pascarella
Perry Lang
as Woodward
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Critic Reviews for A Rumor of War

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Audience Reviews for A Rumor of War


A RUMOR OF WAR The 106 minute version on VHS leaves a lot to be desired, but that is what was conveniently available to me. I didn't care for the movie especially and I did not find it to be compelling, perhaps because too much of the story had been cut out and it did not do justice to the serious issues involved. All the same this is a highly personal perspective of the US involvement in the early months of the Vietnam conflict as of 1964-1965 after Congress had signed the Tonkin Bay Resolution, although the United States had not actually declared war. The story is based upon the experience of Lieutenant Philip Caputo, as recounted in his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, who is revisiting the situation in flashback throughout the movie as he prepares his legal defense against court martial. The account is a coming-of-age drama in which a naive, idealistic young man eager to leave home and go out on his own after college joins the Marines and goes through Officer's Candidate School. Once assigned overseas, however, things don't go exactly as he expected them to proceed. He makes some bad judgment decisions which lead to his being arrested for murdering two Vietnamese civilians. Apparently under the accumulated stress and strain of command in the field on front-line maneuvers over the course of many months, Lt. Caputo had suffered a mental breakdown which was left untreated and which is why he became confused and acted inappropriately, and this seems quite plausible as presented. The film includes disturbing scenes of violent combat and guerilla tactics. Realistic special effects. Good performances.

Ann Lorraine
Ann Lorraine

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