The memories of a US Marine lieutenant in Vietnam who slowly gets disillusioned as the war progresses.




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Series cast summary:
Brad Davis ...  Lt. Philip 'Phil' Caputo 2 episodes, 1980
Keith Carradine ...  Lt. Murph McCoy 2 episodes, 1980
Michael O'Keefe ...  Lt. Walter Cohen 2 episodes, 1980
Richard Bradford ...  Gen. Merle Rupert 2 episodes, 1980
Brian Dennehy ...  Sgt. Ned Coleman 2 episodes, 1980
John Friedrich ...  Cpl. Pascarella 2 episodes, 1980
Perry Lang ...  Woodward 2 episodes, 1980
Christopher Mitchum ...  Capt. Peterson 2 episodes, 1980
Dan Shor ...  Manhole 2 episodes, 1980
Lane Smith ...  Sgt. Willliam Holgren 2 episodes, 1980
Nicholas Woodeson ...  Cpl. Kazmarak 2 episodes, 1980
Gail Youngs ...  Carol 2 episodes, 1980
Steve Forrest ...  Col. Atherton 2 episodes, 1980
Stacy Keach ...  Maj. Ball 2 episodes, 1980
Phillip R. Allen ...  Col. Perry 2 episodes, 1980
Michael Cavanaugh ...  Capt. Lake 2 episodes, 1980
Bobby Ellerbee Bobby Ellerbee ...  Cpl. Mackey 2 episodes, 1980
David Elliott ...  Sullivan 2 episodes, 1980
Laurence Fishburne ...  Lightbulb 2 episodes, 1980
Redmond Gleeson Redmond Gleeson ...  Sgt. Furth 2 episodes, 1980
Edward Grover ...  Coker 2 episodes, 1980
Gavan O'Herlihy ...  Stanton 2 episodes, 1980
Christopher Allport ...  Van Cott 2 episodes, 1980
Jeff Daniels ...  Chaplain 2 episodes, 1980
John Herzfeld ...  The Drill Instructor 2 episodes, 1980
Stephen Keep Mills ...  The Angry Major 2 episodes, 1980
Helaine Lembeck ...  Lisa Modesta 2 episodes, 1980
Sandy McPeak ...  Joe Caputo 2 episodes, 1980
Chris Mulkey ...  Radio Man 2 episodes, 1980
Enrique Novi Enrique Novi ...  Jose Ramirez 2 episodes, 1980
Sean Roche Sean Roche ...  Hodgkins 2 episodes, 1980
Steven Rotblatt Steven Rotblatt ...  Zirpoli 2 episodes, 1980
Al Ruscio ...  Uncle Al 2 episodes, 1980
Koko Tani Koko Tani ...  Simone 2 episodes, 1980
Shere Thu Thuy Shere Thu Thuy ...  Le Dung's Wife 2 episodes, 1980
Marion Yue Marion Yue ...  Hoa 2 episodes, 1980
David Chow David Chow ...  The Mayor of Da Nang 2 episodes, 1980
Eunice Christopher Eunice Christopher ...  Mrs. Caputo 2 episodes, 1980
Oliver Chung Oliver Chung ...  Le Dung 2 episodes, 1980
Alex Daniels ...  Stasek 2 episodes, 1980
John Diehl ...  D.T. 2 episodes, 1980
John Ferrand John Ferrand ...  Sgt. Whitaker 2 episodes, 1980
Ken Foree ...  The M.P. 2 episodes, 1980
Karen Kondazian ...  Mrs. Modesta 2 episodes, 1980
Lynn Kuratomi Lynn Kuratomi ...  Yip Yap 2 episodes, 1980
Joe Lowry Joe Lowry ...  Winslow 2 episodes, 1980
David Manson David Manson ...  Second Reporter 2 episodes, 1980
Dani Minnick ...  Miss Cunningham 2 episodes, 1980
Scott Mulhern Scott Mulhern ...  The Priest 2 episodes, 1980
Qui Van Ngo Qui Van Ngo ...  ARVN Interrogator 2 episodes, 1980
Rodney Saulsberry ...  Sgt. Wehr 2 episodes, 1980
Scott Sebastian Scott Sebastian ...  First Reporter 2 episodes, 1980
Stewart Wolinski Stewart Wolinski ...  The Doctor 2 episodes, 1980
Robert B. Grass Robert B. Grass ...  Cpl. Beckett 2 episodes, 1980


The memories of a US Marine lieutenant in Vietnam who slowly gets disillusioned as the war progresses.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama | War


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Release Date:

24 September 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Rumor of War See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(video) | (video)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Actual Marine aircraft were used in this film. KC 130 R and F models from Marine Aerial Refueling Squadron VMGR 352 were filmed taxiing on runways and having coffins removed from them. Active duty Marines from the base were also used to depict Marines marching in columns that were returning from Vietnam. The F model aircraft used in the film actually flew many missions during the Vietnam conflict. See more »


The captain can be seen breathing after he is supposedly killed at the end of the film. See more »

Crazy Credits

Marine Aerial Refueling Squadron VMGR 352 See more »


Featured in Madam Secretary: South China Sea (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

The tedium, the horror, the frustration, the slaughter, the sadness and futility
11 January 2016 | by WuchakkSee all my reviews

Released to TV in two parts in 1980, "A Rumor of War" is a film adaption of Phil Caputo's autobiographical 1977 book of the same name. The story chronicles Caputo (Brad Davis) before the war, during officer training and, mostly, his service in Vietnam as a lieutenant from 1965-1968.

The version I've seen (three times) is the original television version, which is 188 minutes, but it might be more like 191 minutes uncompressed. Some say there's a 195-minute version (which is what my VHS says) and this version likely has 4-5 additional minutes with cussing and nudity, which were deleted for TV. This might indicate that the original version was considered for theatrical release.

In any case, "A Rumor of War" is a quality overview of the infamous war, at least as far as one year through the eyes of an initially passionate young officer. The score is great and varied. There are moody parts reminiscent of "Apocalypse Now" (1979) as well as many parts that influenced the later "Platoon" (1986). While it's not as good as those movies it's surprisingly well done and, as my title blurb says, effectively shows the tedium, the horror, the frustration, the slaughter, the sadness and futility of the war.

The last third switches from Caputo being in charge of a platoon in the bush to being "Officer in Charge of the Dead," back at camp where Caputo said senior officers were more worried about trivial matters than strategy, such as casualty stats, movies being played in the open at night, risking mortar attacks, and enemy corpses being displayed as hunting trophies for visiting generals, etc.

You might remember Brad Davis (R.I.P.) from 1978's excellent "Midnight Express." He's formidable as the protagonist and supported by quality actors, like Michael O'Keefe, Keith Carradine and Brian Dennehy. Stacy Keach and Jeff Daniels have glorified cameos. Gail Youngs has the sole mentionable female role.

BOTTOM LINE: "A Rumor of War" isn't bizarre and fantastical like "Apocalypse Now" or over-the-top like "Platoon." It's a thoroughly realistic take on the Vietnam War through the eyes of a green lieutenant and his one-year experience.

The film was shot in Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, California, and Mexico.


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