The Hanoi Hilton (1987)

The Hanoi Hilton (1987)
  • 921
  • R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release year: 1987 ()
  • Running time: 125 min
  • Original Title: The Hanoi Hilton
  • Voted: 921

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.

1Michael MoriartyWilliamson
2Paul Le MatHubman
3John Edwin ShawMason
4Ken WrightKennedy
  • Harrowing by 7

    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.

  • Hanoi Hilton by 7

    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.

  • all around terrible! by 7

    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.

  • Great Movie! by 10

    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.

  • Just wondering by 6

    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?

1Mark Irwincinematographer
2Jimmy Webbcomposer
3Lionel Chetwynddirector
4Penelope Shaweditor
5Yoram Globusproducer
6Menahem Golanproducer