The Vietnam War (TV series)

The Vietnam War
The Vietnam War (TV series) title card.jpg
Written byGeoffrey C. Ward
Directed byKen Burns and Lynn Novick
Narrated byPeter Coyote
Composer(s)Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of episodes10
Producer(s)Sarah Botstein
Lynn Novick
Ken Burns
CinematographyBuddy Squires
Editor(s)Tricia Reidy
Paul Barnes
Erik Ewers
Craig Mellish
Running time1035 mins (17¼ hours)
Production company(s)Florentine Films
Budget$30 million
Original networkWebsite

The Vietnam War is a 10-part American television documentary series about the Vietnam War written by Geoffrey C. Ward and directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.[1][2][3] The first episode premiered on PBS on September 17, 2017. The script is by Geoffrey Ward, and the series is narrated by Peter Coyote.


The series cost around $30 million and took more than 10 years to make.[4] It was produced by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, who had previously collaborated on The War (2007), Baseball: The Tenth Inning (2010), and Prohibition (2011). The production companies were WETA-TV in Washington, D.C., and Burns' Florentine Films.

The series features interviews with 79 witnesses, including many Americans who fought in the war or opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the North and the South.[5] Burns deliberately avoided "historians or other expert talking heads" and "onscreen interviews with polarizing boldfaced names like John Kerry, John McCain, Henry Kissinger and Jane Fonda." Instead, interviews were intended to provide a ground-up view of the War from the perspective of everyday people who lived through it.[4] The third episode features an interview with retired UPI reporter Joseph L. Galloway, who was awarded a Bronze Star with "V" device for assisting with the wounded in the Battle of Ia Drang.[6] Others interviewed include Vincent Okamoto, and Tim O'Brien, author of The Things They Carried, a popular collection of linked short stories about the war.

The researchers for the film also accessed more than 24,000 photographs and examined 1,500 hours of archival footage.[4] Within the series' 17-and-a-quarter-hours, there are scenes covering 25 battles, ten of which are detailed scenes documenting and describing the action from multiple perspectives.[7]