Ken Burns’ The Vietnam War
The TCM host’s picks for most educational:
for onscreen realism, nothing gets you closer than a documentary. Once primarily an “educational” subset of films released in theaters, documentaries are now widely available—and very popular—on the small screen, like ESPN’s long-running inside-sports series 30 for 30, CNN’s The Seventies and Netflix’s acclaimed Making a Murderer, which won four Emmys. ESPN’s O.J.: Made in America won a 2016 Oscar for Best Documentary.
Filmmaker Ken Burns and his production partner and co-director Lynn
Novick unveil their latest documentary, The Vietnam War, a new 10-part, 18-hour series, Sept. 17 on PBS. It joins their other collaborations, which include Baseball, The War and The Civil War. Parade asked Burns and Novick, why Vietnam, why now? Here’s what they said:
“The seeds of many of the troubles that beset us today— alienation, resentment and cynicism; mistrust of our government and each other; breakdown of civil discourse and civic institutions—were sown during the Vietnam War. Until we find a way to come to terms with this unsettled and enormously consequential event, its ghosts will continue to haunt us.
“Far too often when Americans think about Vietnam, we are thinking only about ourselves. But we cannot begin to make sense of the war without a deep understanding of history, culture, beliefs and social norms of our enemies and our allies, without knowing what they were fighting for, and against.
“Perhaps, if we listen to each other with open hearts, we can find some peace in the profound truths this epic tragedy can teach about the human condition, loyalty, resilience, justice, forgiveness and, ultimately, reconciliation.”
. Daniel Day-Lewis won an Oscar for his portrayal of the 16th president in the Steven
Spielberg–directed biopic. “We know Tony Kushner’s screenplay was adapted from Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book, and Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis both did tremendous jobs researching.”
2. Selma . David Oyelowo stars as Martin Luther King Jr. in this chronicle of the historic 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. “There will be some quibbling about the politics, but this is a picture of an overall critical time in America, and that’s valuable.” 3. Saving Private Ryan  Tom Hanks leads an all-star cast in this acclaimed drama based on the events surrounding WWII’s D-Day invasion. “Not a true story but, by all accounts, one that helps us understand what combat is like—and the absurdity of war, even when it’s a noble cause.”