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Don't Cry, It's Only Thunder

Where to Watch Don't Cry, It's Only Thunder


Don't Cry, It's Only Thunder is a captivating war drama film released in the year 1982. Directed by Peter Werner in his directorial debut, this film is based on the semi-autobiographical novel of the same name written by Paul Kubrick, a Vietnam veteran. The film boasts a talented cast including Dennis Christopher, Susan Saint James, and Roger Aaron Brown.

Dennis Christopher, known for his significant roles in Breaking Away and Django Unchained, delivers a compelling performance as Brian Anderson. Anderson is a young, naive army medic with a zealous anti-communist disposition, who is stationed in Vietnam during the height of the Vietnam War. Despite his fervent patriotism, he is vastly unprepared for the brutal reality he is thrust in.

Roger Aaron Brown, noted for his roles in numerous television shows and films, portrays Sergeant Washington. A seasoned, hard-nosed military man, Washington, however, takes care of his team as a fatherly figure. His foreseeability and street wisdom act as a grounding force for Anderson in the unfamiliar territory of Vietnam.

Susan Saint James, of McMillan & Wife fame, plays a significant role in the story as an enigmatic, compassionate Catholic Relief Services worker called Kathleen. Kathleen's presence brings an intriguing mix of compassion and romance to the high stakes war drama.

The film's plot mainly revolves around these three protagonists amidst the chaotic backdrop of the Vietnam War. Avidly anti-communist, Anderson's reason for joining the war is his staunch belief in America's battle against communism. However, as he gets deeper into the harsh reality of the war, he witnesses the devastating impact it has on the innocent Vietnamese population, particularly the vulnerable children. His encounter with Kathleen, who is undertaking arduous social work in Saigon, changes his perspective and win over his heart.

Amidst the grimness of war, the film explores the heartwarming bromance between Anderson and Sergeant Washington. They form a bond over time, swapping stories, sharing experiences, and lending each other support in the trenches.

Moreover, the romance brewing between Anderson and Kathleen brings a gentle charm to the narrative. Kathleen, with her charm and passion for helping the downtrodden, becomes an inspirational character for Anderson, and he becomes drawn towards her and her cause.

The narrative takes an exciting turn as Anderson soon finds his staunch anti-communist beliefs challenged when he joins Kathleen's organization. Inspirited by her work, he and Sergeant Washington go over and above their assigned duties to help her run a remote orphanage for war-torn children in the Soc Trang province, despite their restricted resources and the continuous threats from the war.

This story is not just a war film. Director Peter Werner prudently merges elements of war trauma, love, friendship, and humanitarianism to present a multi-layered narrative. The plot weaves between the distressed battlefield, the beautiful Vietnam landscape, the intimate spaces of camaraderie, and the emotional intensity of the orphanage.

In Don't Cry, It's Only Thunder, the film emphasizes the importance of humanity and compassion even in the midst of chaos. While depicting the horrifying experiences of war, it showcases how the human spirit can rise above these unsettling circumstances, leading to acts of extraordinary courage, kindness, and resilience.

The film utilizes the scenic beauty of Vietnam as a stark contrast to the devastation brought on by the war. It effectively balances the graphic visuals of the war with the hues of regular life in Vietnam, offering a unique blend of striking visuals and raw emotions.

Throughout the film, the performances by the actors shine out brilliantly, giving depth and authenticity to their characters. They effectively portray the complexities and contradictions of their roles and bring out the subtleties of their character arcs.

In summary, Don't Cry, It's Only Thunder is an engaging war movie that seamlessly intersperses hard truths, heroism, and humanity. It is a powerful exploration of the moral dilemmas faced by the soldiers on the frontline and their quest for redeeming acts of kindness amidst the harsh realities of war. This film is well worth a watch for those who appreciate narratives that delve deeper into the heart and the psyche of war.

Don't Cry, It's Only Thunder is a Drama, War movie released in 1982. It has a runtime of 108 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.7..

Peter Werner
Dennis Christopher, Susan Saint James, Roger Aaron Brown, James Whitmore Jr.
Also starring Dennis Christopher
Don't Cry, It's Only Thunder is available on .