Ride the Thunder Moviegoer Reviews

This is not only and outstanding movie; it is an important and honest one!!! “Ride The Thunder” got the point across without a lot of gratuitous violence. There was not a dry eye in the audience and we each left the theater with a feeling respect and love for the total strangers that viewed the movie with us; many of them Vietnamese.
Via Fandango


My wife and I saw this movie on Saturday afternoon…. We loved this important movie – One of the main focuses of the movie told a story, I did not really know that much about, the inhumane “reeducation” camps by the communists forced on the brave South Vietnamese people. This movie was riveting, emotional, powerful and patriotic. This movie had a wide range of emotions. Part of the movie I had tears in my eyes, part of the movie I had anger [from some on the left who undermined our war effort and our heroic soldiers], and part of the movie I had patriotic pride. I thank so much the cast and the crew and all involved in making this true portrayal of the Vietnam War and its aftermath. I also echo what others have said I thank you for keeping out gratuitous violence and kept the narrative on the lives of the South Vietnamese and American soldiers, and what they had to put up with. God Bless!
Via Fandango


Excellent…A Must See!A battle buddy and I saw “Ride the Thunder” yesterday. Minimal violence, excellent location settings, sharp cinematography, editing and top rate actors both Vietnamese (South and North) and Americans.I never saw these actors before but they did NOT overact. Very believable. Precise dialogue.

It is an excellent combination of a docu-drama, factual footage, first-hand interviews and a bit of UNBROKEN, the movie by Laura Hillenbrand about WWII US Army Air Corps Pilot Louie Zamperini time in a Japanese POW Camp. If you ever had any doubts since you served if it was worth your sacrifice, or if a close loved one does not understand your commitment, then go see it – with them. I saw a fine movie reviewer recently call it PREACHY. It’s not. We were there. He was not.

It’s PREACHY in the way, THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (WWII), THE MAN IN THE GRAY FLANNEL SUIT (WWII) and DEERHUNTER (VIETNAM) are preachy. All deal with combat and its aftermath when the combatants return home. This is NOT a preachy movie in terms of politics, religion, love, camaraderie of allies, brothers in battle or romance. There’s a little of all, but this is a FACTUAL treatment of what happened in Vietnam and how it ended. HORRIBLY for America and for South Vietnam and our allies. Will it affect you? Nightmares – naw. Confusion – naw. Controversy – naw. In fact, you’ll feel good about having seen it.

In 90 minutes and for $7 senior price, you’ll be entertained and informed. More so when you see our current US Secretary of State being interviewed by another young Navy officer back in April, 1971. This actual scene from the Dick Cavett show is worth the price of admission. It should also alert all of us of who is planning and implementing current US Foreign policy in the World – John Forbes Kerry. So, do go see the movie. On the way out at the end, we linked up with strangers who then became friends as we chatted about the movie. Long time since that happened.
~ Paul Olenski, USMC Vietnam 1967-69



Masterfully told with great cinematography, the movie tells the stories of a South Vietnamese man and the American soldier he fought alongside. The movie grabs your attention from the beginning and you find yourself entrenched in the struggles of South Vietnamese soldier Le Ba Binh, a husband and father, expertly portrayed by actor Joseph Hieu. I found it enlightening to see the historical clips interspersed throughout, giving the moviegoer a glimpse of the perspective of the soldiers returning to the U.S. and the attitudes prevalent in our culture during that era. The shocking film footage of Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland, as well as the clips of now Secretary of State John Kerry as a young man give this movie a powerful historical gravity that cannot be denied. The film is very moving, very timely- given the current state of foreign affairs, and also quite entertaining.
Sherry Richards
Via IMBd


“SATISFIES THE MIND AND THE HEART” Ride the Thunder is a moving docu-drama that will leave you with tears in your eyes and pride for your country in your heart. Based on the book of the same name, this movie reveals a part of history that is largely unknown: the brotherhood that developed between American soldiers and the South Vietnamese soldiers they fought alongside and the immense suffering and oppression of the South Vietnamese people after the Vietnam War. This movie is a must-see for every American, but will be particularly eye-opening for many of the first generation children of the South Vietnamese refugees who have made America their adopted country. To them, Ride the Thunder bestows the gift of a richer heritage of which too many are unaware. I know this firsthand as I am one of them.
Via Fandango


“A BABY BOOMER WHO WAS IN COLLEGE” Hello To All My Baby Boomer College Buddies, First of all I would like to say that I have indeed seen and have been a part of the movie known as “Ride The Thunder”. I had the privilege of being a background actor in this picture (my first one) and may I say that I consider this an honor to have been a part of a movie and the story of two war heroes, one American and the other South Vietnamese. During the time that this movie depicts, I was in college with a 2S Deferral, however I had a lottery number of 121, they filled the quota, at 118. I didn’t go and like you, I believed all the propaganda about the war that I missed while still being protected stateside. Well, may I say now that what this movie reveals 45 years later is TRUTH, RIGHTEOUSNESS and JUSTICE and more importantly that I have been lied to both past and present, and that enrages me! Baby Boomers UNITE and find out the TRUTH of what you don’t know. Don’t miss this movie . . .because you NEED closure too!
Via Fandango

“A movie that satisfies the mind and the heart.”
A moving docu-drama that will leave you with tears in your eyes and pride for your country in your heart. Based on the book of the same name, this movie reveals a part of history that is largely unknown: the brotherhood that developed between American soldiers and the South Vietnamese soldiers they fought alongside and the suffering and oppression of the South Vietnamese people after the Vietnam War. This movie is a must-see for every American, but will be particularly eye-opening for many of the first generation children of the South Vietnamese refugees who have made America their adopted country. To them, Ride the Thunder bestows the gift of a richer heritage of which too many are unaware. I know this firsthand as I am one of them.
Via IMDb
*Editor’s note: micheleale must have felt strongly about Ride the Thunder, as he/she wrote a review at both IMDb and Fandango!

The movie showed the determination of the certain Vietnamese who lost their country to a communist dictatorship and relocated to the U.S. to become exemplary citizens. Most have realized and taken advantage of the “American Dream.” It was sad to hear the lies of Jane Fonda and John Kerry and I have always thought that they should have been prosecuted under the Sedition Act. The movie shows John O’Neill debating John Kerry and refuting all of Kerry’s lies that he told to our Armed Services Committee concerning the way our servicemen treated Vietnamese citizens. Kerry lied to promote his political career in the state of Massachusetts and it worked. The basic theme of the movie was to show how the Vietnamese in America rose to “Ride the Thunder” with the help of the U.S. and that they will be forever grateful to the American people for supporting them. You wish that whites, blacks and browns who were born in the U.S. shared the same feelings as the Vietnamese regarding opportunities for those who are qualified.
Sam Brown from Houston, Texas

“Not recommend for all teenagers…it will ruining their correct values.”
This movie is totally bad, 1 score for the old video materials, nothing more. The terrible story is about “A win of Vietnamese ‘Lead the way party'”, and the endorsement for the US weapon companies. Never seen a “patriot” is proud to be an another country’s citizen, and this movie shows this to us. The author never known that, when he talked about how evil the communists are, the US government was nothing different in Vietnam war, sending troops to Vietnam, lied to them that they were fighting for freedom and died there. Not recommend for all teenagers to watch this movie, it will ruining their correct values. Usually I will check IMDb rates before I go to watch the movie and usually high score movie here does not disappoint me, but this rule does not work for this movie. Don’t know how this movie get this 7.4 score, but next time I will read the review first and hope other will do the same thing so that avoid this kind of awful movie.
Via IMDb

This is a excellent movie. It should be required for all high school students. Some of us have been trying to get this same message out for over forty years.
Via Fandango

I saw the movie Friday. A friend and I compared it with American Sniper. He concluded that American Sniper was the true story of a war most Americans WANTED to hear told, while Ride the Thunder is the true story of a war most Americans NEED to hear told. The movie came from a book of the same name by Richard Botkin, a 15 year Marine, who made it his mission to tell the story of the Vietnam War that he learned from his Marine Corps mentors.

And he did a great job on both. The story line revolves around Marine Captain John Ripley, who was awarded the Navy Cross for blowing up the bridge at Dong Ha during the Easter offensive in 1972 and his counterpart Major Le Ba Binh, commander of the 3rd Bn (Sea Wolves), VN Marine Corps. By spanning the two characters’ life story, Botkin covers the whole history of the Vietnam War in a non-academic, but historically accurate fashion, unlike what is being taught in our schools. (“Read the book, See the Movie, Tell your Friends” is my new mantra.)
Via Fandango

I served 18 months in Vietnam with the last 8 of those months having served as a helicopter door gunner, wounded in action, August, 1969. The way the war was reported back then and the way it is perceived today is egregious. I *highly* recommend this film. My wife, who has been my faithful and godly companion for 43 ½ years and knows of my struggles related to the War intimately, was in tears. Frankly, it is a low-budget movie, but the story is very powerful.

As an aside in the movie, Jane Fonda, our current Secretary of State John Kerry, and Donald Sutherland (ridiculing American soldiers) are exposed for who and what they are. (This last statement is non-partisan. Both Democrats and Republicans are to be held responsible for the war’s poor outcome.) From a summary of the book which is something we should *never* forget: “Even though the American troops were winning on the ground, it was the media and politicians, not warriors, who decided the outcome of the war.”
Via Fandango

I greatly enjoyed this film; just as significant, I was educated by it. I have no memory of the Vietnam War other than seeing pictures in Life Magazine and television coverage during those years, all of it filtered through a child’s mind. What I learned from mainstream culture, later on, effectively demonized the Americans who served, vilified our South Vietnamese allies, and exalted antiwar Hollywood and government types to icon status…in other words, an utter fraud perpetrated upon Americans by those with power to influence popular culture, academia, and government.

These falsehoods need to be eviscerated, and this movie does a good job of that. The docu-drama format works very well, providing the history lessons few of us received and allowing an understanding of the history behind very well-acted dramatic passages. The movie is appropriate for children under the age of 12 provided that an adult can later explain the more dramatic sequences.
Via Fandango

An honest, wonderful movie that honors the soldiers of the Vietnam war, both U.S. and South Vietnam. It’s about time the American public know about the truth. Thank you Vietnam veterans for your service of defending freedom and democracy.
Via Fandango

I took my husband and kids to go see this. And met my childhood friend that I hadn’t seen for a long time. Her family and my family were refugees. We were just babies when our families left Vietnam. We were part of the evacuation in 1975. So neither one of us had memories of it. We had only heard very limited stories. Our parents Did not speak much about those days. My father served in the army when he was young and then later on was employed by the US government. This movie brought a lot of emotions for me.

It was very educational. I have always felt grateful to my Vietnam Vets. I am glad to see a movie that gives Thanks and appreciation to those who sacrificed so much for our freedom. I am proud to be an American! I noticed that Prescott, Az was listed in the credits. I live in Prescott area and was curious as to why it was listed? Will it be showing here in Prescott soon? I think it would be great as there are so many vets that live here in town.

I can’t tell you How many Vietnam Vets have cried when I personally Thank them for their sacrifice. They respond to me that I was the first to ever say that. So I think this movie could help them begin to heal from the burdens they carry from it all. God bless all who have sacrificed so much and gained so little. My heart will forever be grateful!
Nga Krogedal
Via Facebook

My eyes have been opened! Having been raised by a Vietnam veteran, I am ashamed to say that I never knew really anything important about the Vietnam War other than my dad was drafted in his 20s to go fight in it. I knew that many Americans did not support it and I knew that it was a no-win situation. But, beyond that, I had no clue what role our nation played in trying to achieve freedom for the South Vietnamese. Last night, Sam and I had the pleasure of going to see Ride the Thunder, a movie written and produced by dear friends of ours, as well as of many community members. Fred and Heidi Koster together with their family have really knocked this one out of the park on every level! I am so proud of their hard work and I recommend that everyone go see this movie, if for no other reason, to be proud to be an American.
~ Erin Salisbury McCracken

…wanted to take a moment to say, “WOW”! Please convey our congrats on a job well done. It was very intense. As an Army Brat of that era, I feel a personal connection to that war. Several men near and dear to me left their lives on that soil. It took me many years to be able to watch or read anything about the war. But I really felt this movie treated their lives with respect. And particular kudos for the cinematography…it was dynamite!

~ Ro and Dave Vaselaar

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