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The Vietnam War

The Vietnam War

  • Premiered: 
    September 17, 2017
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: PBS
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
    20th Ken Burns multi-part documentary (30th film overall), following Jackie Robinson 
  • Subject Matter: Military/War
  • Tags: Vietnam

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Plot Synopsis

THE VIETNAM WAR is a 10-part, 18-hour documentary film series directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. An immersive 360-degree narrative, the series tells the epic story of the Vietnam War as it has never before been told on film. THE VIETNAM WAR features testimony from nearly 80 witnesses, including many Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides. Ten years in the making, the series brings the war and the chaotic epoch it encompassed viscerally to life. Written by Geoffrey C. Ward, produced by Sarah Botstein, Novick and Burns, it includes rarely seen, digitally re-mastered archival footage from sources around the globe, photographs taken by some of the most celebrated photojournalists of the 20th century, historic television broadcasts, evocative home movies, and revelatory audio recordings from inside the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations. The series features more than 100 iconic musical recordings from many of the greatest artists of the era, and original music from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross as well as the Silk Road Ensemble featuring Yo-Yo Ma. On Sunday, May 28, 2017 at 9:30pm ET -- immediately following the 2017 NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT -- PBS premiered PBS PREVIEWS: THE VIETNAM WAR, a half-hour special that took a look at creation of THE VIETNAM WAR. Featuring interviews with the filmmakers, behind-the-scenes footage, and exclusive clips from the series, this program gave viewers an advance look at the series.

Premieres Sundays through Thursdays at 8pm (check local listings), September 17-21 and 24-28, with encore plays immediately following the premiere play each of these nights; encore marathons the weekends of September 23-24 and September 30-October 1; weekly encore Tuesdays at 9:00 pm ET beginning October 3
On Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 8pm (check local listings), PBS premiered "The Weight of Memory (March 1973-Onward)," the finale of THE VIETNAM WAR. While the Watergate scandal rivets Americans' attention and forces President Nixon to resign, the Vietnamese continue to savage one another in a brutal civil war. When hundreds of thousands of North Vietnamese troops pour into the south, Saigon descends rapidly into chaos and collapses. For the next 40 years, Americans and Vietnamese from all sides search for healing and reconciliation.