1 9 8 7 (Australia)
10 x 45 minute episodes
This 10-part series, produced by Kennedy-Miller for Network Ten in Australia, presents the Vietnam War as experienced by the Goddard family – father Douglas (Barry Otto), a politician in the Australian government; his wife Evelyn (Veronica Lang) and their children Megan (Nicole Kidman), a rebellious teenager, and Phil (Nicholas Eadie, pictured below) who gets drafted into the army and bundled off to Vietnam.
Once in Vietnam, the Aussie soldiers are pushed to their limits and beyond, dealing with landmines, civilian casualties, capture and the other horrors of war.
Meanwhile, as Megan grows up and grows closer to Serge (John Polson), she begins to feel frustrated at having no independence at home, so runs away to Sydney where Serge is at University.
To the embarrassment of her politician father, Megan and her friends become publicly involved with anti-war demonstrations, and Megan begins to challenge her father on his war policies.
Her parents separate, and Megan introduces her mother to her new friends involved in anti-war protests, allowing the two to relate to each other in a new way and develop a real bond.
On the frontline in Vietnam, Phil is dealing with endless horrors and seeing more of his friends die or become injured.
The series was filmed at Holsworthy army base in Sydney and on location in Thailand where one-and-a-half tonnes of equipment and 32 cast and crew members were flown in from Australia.
The production had to comply with the strict and mandatory Thai censors, who had to be on the set every day to check each scene and sign each complete reel of film.
And when the production hired three M16 automatic rifles from the Thai military, an entourage of 12 people was assigned to look after them!
Considering the nature of the series – it’s a no-punches-pulled look at Australia’s role in Vietnam and its impact on Australian soldiers – it was surprising that the Australian Army helped out.
Particularly when the series revealed the country’s involvement in a “dirty tricks” squad, backed by the CIA, which stirred anti-Communist feeling by killing Viet Cong leaders and blaming communist insurgents.
Celia De Burgh
Dave the Spook
John De Ville
Sir Robert Menzies