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John Wayne's War on Journalism

'The Green Berets' presented Wayne's vision of a journalist at the height of the Vietnam War — a coward who just needed a taste of battle.
July 29, 2014, 3:40pm
Photo via Warner Brothers/Seven Arts

“What are you going to say in that newspaper of yours about us in Vietnam?”

“If I say what I feel, I may be out of a job.”

Tonight as part of our Journalists in Film series at Nitehawk Cinema, VICE News is screening a 35mm print of John Wayne’s 1968 film The Green Berets. Made at the height of the Vietnam War, it’s a less obvious choice than, say, All the President’s Men, which cast two of Hollywood’s leading leading men as the intrepid and courageous journalists we’d all like to be. In The Green Berets, we see Wayne's take on journalism embodied in the role of newspaperman George Beckworth, a contrarian commie-loving coward who would see that Vietnam is a good war if only he were man enough to visit the front lines.

Buy tickets to the VICE News/Nitehawk Cinema screening of The Green Berets here.

Here comes the spoiler (don't worry, it's not a big one): That’s exactly what happens. The Green Berets is not the kind of film you watch for its complex narrative — you watch it to understand a segment of 1960s America that was fighting tooth and nail to avoid nuance. In a decade defined by assassinations, race riots, and Morley Safer informing Americans that US Marines were burning down people’s homes, one can understand the appeal of taking the family down to the cinema to reassure them that there was still a world in which the good guys beat the bad guys — and that the Duke was still out on the frontier, protecting us from In’juns.

The Green Berets | Tuesday, July 29 | 9:30pm

Featuring an introduction by Andrew Kirell, editor-in-chief of Mediaite.

Pre-party from 8pm to 9pm featuring complimentary Prym Rum cocktails.

Nitehawk Cinema
136 Metropolitan Avenue (Between Berry and Wythe)
Brooklyn, NY 11249 (map)

Buy tickets to the VICE News/Nitehawk Cinema screening of The Green Berets here.