Don't Cry, It's Only Thunder

Don't Cry, It's Only Thunder
Directed by Peter Werner
Produced by Walt deFaria
Paul G. Hensler
Ken Karawai
Terry Ogisu
Shintaro Tsuji
Written by Paul G. Hensler
Starring Dennis Christopher
Susan Saint James
Roger Aaron Brown
James Whitmore Jr.
Music by Maurice Jarre
Cinematography Donald McAlpine
Edited by Barbara Pokras
Jack Woods
Distributed by Sanrio
The Samuel Goldwyn Company
Release dates
  • October 2, 1981 (1981-10-02)
Running time
108 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Don't Cry, It's Only Thunder (also known in Australia as Vietnam: Hell or Glory) is a 1981 film directed by Peter Werner and written by Paul G. Hensler, set in the Vietnam War.

Background and Reception

Paul G. Hensler was a Vietnam veteran who wanted a film that showed both the "humanitarians" among Americans sent to Vietnam as well as the victims and corruption in war. Although the film portrayed military corruption and the war's victims the Defense Department supported it. The Army was reported as mixed to positive about the film. Despite the film's mixed view of the military, and its intended criticism of war, the military approved of the main military character being a person who matured due to the war becoming a person who loved and tried to save orphans. Interestingly the writer indicated he did not mean to show war as necessary for his maturing, indicating the Peace Corps or something else would be as good or better. Still the maturing of the character and showing a humanitarian side to Americans in Vietnam pleased the military which at that time was dealing with films on Vietnam focusing on soldiers who were destructive or even nightmarish people. The film was shot in the Philippines. It was criticized for sentimentality, but overall received good critical reviews. Nevertheless it was a commercial failure. This has been blamed on its relatively poor production values and it having a reportedly complicated, rather than simply positive or negative, view of the war.[1]


The story centers around Brian Anderson (played by actor Dennis Christopher), a soldier who is only out for his own neck, who ends up drawn into taking care of orphans in a nearby orphanage, keeping a promise to a friend who was killed in action. At first, he views the task with a degree of annoyance, then slowly begins to warm up to the orphans, risking his life and his career to protect them. Robert Englund (pre-dating his more-well-known role of Freddy Krueger) played the role of Tripper. Susan Saint James played a doctor and the love interest to Brian Anderson.


External links

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