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» » The Wall (1998)

Short summary

The story of three items left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall: a pencil holder, a sheriff's badge, and an electric guitar. Each item connects the living with the dead and are left as either memorials or to heal the wounds of war.

User reviews


  • comment
    • Author: Skyway
    For a Showtime made for TV Movie, this film is quite good. It made the best of its actors, budget, and time constraints. This is not an epic... but it is a very touching story about three names on the wall. The song performed by Graham Nash was very moving. This war was very divisive to our society... the three main characters put a human face on the reality of war.

    I read other comments that seem to pick apart the film... Yes it certainly can't compete with a major feature... but if you take the time to watch the film instead of looking for reasons to tear it apart...you'll probably enjoy it.
  • comment
    • Author: Armin
    I had a chance to view the movie The Wall. It was an interesting tapestry of different stories and how they relate to the Vietnam war. Although the story lines do need some work and at times were confusing and one did not know really how this tapestry would play out of why things were happening. The overall acting was on the so/so side, albeit not helped by a confusing script, yet one notable newcomer Christopher Chu stood out as VC Trong (segment "The Badge")- He has a presence on screen that is haunting and purposeful and I had a chance to see his other work in "Earth Mother Bloom" it was a veritable Hannah orient of song and dance where he played a philosopher, overall a positive review if only for the breakout performance by Mr. Chu.
  • comment
    • Author: Kaim
    I'm sorry to use such a vague word as "lame" to describe THE WALL, but that's truly what it is. Lame. The acting is decent, but this film is such a wasted effort that it is probably not even worth a rental.

    It's as if no one put any effort into the stories of this immensely-flawed Vietnam flick. The tales spun in the Showtime War "film" are either full of characters and storylines that no one cares about, or are just downright silly.

    For instance, one of the stories, titled "The Pencil Holder" (such a weak, laughable and uninteresting name is a bad sign from the start), is about a young boy, living with his father -- a high-ranking Army Colonel (Edward James Olmos) -- in Vietnam (was this sort of thing REALLY allowed? I doubt it). The kid likes to run around and collect Army unit patches so he can add them to his giant collection. He seeks attention from his stoney father, and even goes so far as to make him a dull pencil-holder out of wood. The boy's only parent criticizes his son's effort, in a wasted attempt at drama (which is what "THE WALL" is full of). One day, the young lad runs into a seriousley-wounded black soldier, and notices a patch on his shoulder -- one that is not in his collection. He asks the dying man for it, but instead of a simple answer, the wounded trooper grabs hold of him -- tightly -- and talks to him as if he was his own son. What ensues is a boring turn of events that will have the viewer asking, "Who approved this story?" I myself was asking, "Hey fellas, it's called EFFORT. Look it up."

    On the technical side of things, THE WALL also falls short. In one story about a young black man who carries a tradition of wartime bravery, the main character finds himself alone in the "jungles" of Vietnam. To make matters worse, he is being stalked by a detachment of Viet Cong. While a DECENT story, the jungle he runs through doesn't look like "Jungle" at all -- it is obviously just a stretch of forest somewhere in Northern California; we can tell by the trees that AREN'T indigenious to Southeast Asia. How shameful.....this is the same thing that John Wayne's THE GREEN BERETS is guilty of.

    As mentioned before, THE WALL attempts, not-so-desperately, to display deep, compelling drama....and misses the Bull's Eye by miles. The other "story," probably the most boring, is about....well, it isn't really about anything. The only shred of plot here, if you can call it that, is about a brilliant guitar player in Vietnam, who is noticed by a lazy Sergeant. Now THE WALL, in general, is SO unmemorable that I have no idea why this two-dimensional guitar player was so important to the Sergeant, but for some reason, he was. The ending is uninspired and weak; just a complete waste of time. This tale TRIES to be dramatic in many places, but you wouldn't notice because most likely you were trying to fight off sleep (or welcome it).

    Folks, I could go on and on, but in the end, THE WALL is nothing but an example of a horribly wasted few million dollars. It is very disappointing that this pay-TV movie was such a failure, because it could have been a chance for the writers to tell some compelling yarns about the Vietnam conflict -- but obviously they didn't take that chance.

    If you want to see a good made-for-TV pay channel War Flick, rent WHEN TRUMPETS FADE, and avoid this piece of rubbish like the plague.
  • comment
    • Author: Anarasida
    From the standpoint of someone who has never been in the service, it was refreshing to see a movie like this. How artifacts, memorabilia and more are left daily on that monument, a tribute to those who fought and died, was overwhelming enough. I thought each momento had it's own weight as did each character it represented. The show was developed with each and every character. You saw a glimpse to the whole life of the individuals portrayed.

    The use of all the actors was well placed. They were strong and determined but not ALL out popular people. Not Tom Cruise's, no Lawrence Fishburne's, and no Al Pacino's. Just plain not so overly used actors brought together for great outcome. It quite good to utilize these folks as you saw a different persona. Frank Whaley, Michael DeLorenzo, Ruby Dee, Savion Glover all have been around for awhile but finally got some much needed different character change to their already impressive resumes.

    Sure a movie is not going to fit all people all the time but I think this one has a winning combination here. You just have to accept it for what it represents. Millions of people in the Armed Service and their families!
  • comment
    • Author: Whitebinder
    I recommend that people avoid this movie like the plague. This movie is so unrealistic it is laughable, which is a shame. A for instance is Edward James Olmos and his son in Vietnam. The time portrayed is all wrong; all dependents (who were in Vietnam) had already been sent home when the war intensified in the middle 60's and none was permitted there. My cousin was going to have his family with him in 1964, but was unable because that was when the the ban on dependents was begun. The realism of the war shown falls far short of what the war was in Vietnam. It looks as though the producers of this movie believed they could make a Vietnam war movie with little to no research, and it shows. The jungles of Mexico look more realistic than the forests of California. You can go on and on with the problems of this bad movie. This movie is an insult to all Vietnam vets. If you want to see a realistic Vietnam war movie I would recommend Oliver Stone's 'Platoon' or 'The Siege of Fire Base Gloria.' Avoid 'The Wall.' Semper Fi
  • Cast overview, first billed only:
    Edward James Olmos Edward James Olmos - Col. Holst
    Richard Chevolleau Richard Chevolleau - Timothy Mullen (segment "The Pencilholder")
    Dean McDermott Dean McDermott - Capt. Alleln (segment "The Pencil Holder")
    Clive Cholerton Clive Cholerton - Cpl. Daley (segment "The Pencil Holder")
    Billy Parrott Billy Parrott - Adjutant (segment "The Pencilholder")
    Garnet Harding Garnet Harding - Green Beret Soldier (segment "The Pencilholder") (as D. Garnet Harding)
    Jack Nguyen Jack Nguyen - Sang (segment "The Pencilholder")
    Milton Barnes Milton Barnes - Marine Guard (segment "The Pencilholder")
    Nick Jaine Nick Jaine - Counter Worker (segment "The Pencilholder") (as Deepak Jain)
    Trevor Blumas Trevor Blumas - Ben Holst (segment "The Pencilholder")
    Elyssa Livergant Elyssa Livergant - Medic (segment "The Pencilholder")
    Bret Pearson Bret Pearson - Medic (segment "The Pencilholder")
    Carson Durven Carson Durven - Soldier (segment "The Pencilholder")
    Phil Morrison Phil Morrison - Soldier (segment "The Pencilholder")
    Rustey Davenport Rustey Davenport - Young Soldier (segment "The Pencilholder")
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