The Green Berets

  • Directors: John Wayne, Ray Kellogg, John Gaddis
  • Producers: Michael Wayne
  • Writers: James Lee Barrett, Robin Moore
  • Genres: Action, Drama, War
  • Actors: John Wayne, David Janssen, Jim Hutton, Aldo Ray, George Takei, Luke Askew, Mike Henry

At Fort Bragg, newspaper reporter George Beckworth (David Janssen) is at a Special Forces briefing about the American military involvement in the war in Vietnam. The briefing (at Gabriel Demonstration Area, named for SGT Jimmy Gabriel, first SF soldier killed in Vietnam) includes a demonstration and explanation of the whys and wherefores of participating in that Asian war.

Skeptical civilians and journalists are told that multinational Communism is what the U.S. will be fighting in Vietnam; proof: weapons and equipment, captured from North Vietnamese soldiers and Viet Cong guerrillas, originating in Communist Russia, Communist Czechoslovakia, and Communist China. Despite that, Beckworth remains skeptical about the value of intervening in Vietnam’s civil war. When asked by Green Beret COL Mike Kirby (John Wayne) if he had ever been to Vietnam, reporter Beckworth replies that he had not, but then accepts the soldier’s challenge, and agrees to go and bear witness.

In South Vietnam, Beckworth arrives at an American Army camp where he witnesses the humanitarian aspect (irrigation ditches, bandages, candy for children) of the Special Forces mission. Still, he remains skeptical of the U.S.’s need to be there. He changes his mind after a ferocious North Vietnamese Army attack upon the SF camp, admitting he probably will be fired from the newspaper for filing a story supporting the American war.

Near the end of the story, Beckworth is briefly seen, carrying his portable typewriter and a duffel bag, joining a troop headed for the front.

The French Connection

  • Directors: William Friedkin
  • Producers: Philip D Antoni
  • Writers: Novel, Robin Moore, Screenplay, Ernest Tidyman
  • Genres: Action, Crime, Thriller
  • Actors: Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Roy Scheider, Tony Lo Bianco

The film revolves around the smuggling of narcotics between Marseilles, France and New York City. The film opens in Marseilles with a policeman staking out Alain Charnier, a French criminal who ostensibly works as a former stevedore-turned-shipping executive but is in fact involved in smuggling heroin from France to the United States. The French policeman is eventually killed by Charnier’s henchman, Pierre Nicoli.

In the US, detectives James “Popeye” Doyle and Buddy “Cloudy” Russo are also performing an undercover stakeout out of their precinct in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, with Doyle dressed as Santa Claus and Russo pretending to be a hot dog stand vendor. After seeing a drug transaction take place in the bar, Russo goes in to make an arrest and the suspect they are waiting for makes a break for it with the detectives pursuing him on foot. After catching up with their suspect and delivering a severe beating after the suspect cuts Russo on the arm with a knife, the detectives aggressively interrogate the man and eventually force him to reveal where his “connection” is based.

After Russo’s arm injury is treated, Doyle convinces him to go out for a drink. At the nightclub they go to, Doyle becomes interested in two people: Salvatore “Sal” Boca and his beautiful young wife, Angie, who are lavishly entertaining several known Mob members involved in narcotics. Doyle persuades his partner to come along as they tail the couple; several scenes are shown establishing the fact that although the Bocas run a modest newsstand diner, their extravagant lifestyle includes nearly nightly trips to several nightclubs, as well as driving several different new cars, which indicates they may be involved in some sort of criminal activity. Eventually there is a link established between the Bocas and well-to-do lawyer Joel Weinstock, who is rumored to have extensive connections in the narcotics underworld (in a voice over exchange Popeye and Cloudy allude to a drug shipment from Mexico bankrolled by Weinstock).

Title cards before the closing credits note that of the people arrested and tried, only Joel Weinstock and Angie Boca got away without any prison time while the case against Weinstock was dismissed, and Angie received a suspended sentence. Alain Charnier was never found or tried in America. It also states that both Doyle and Russo were transferred out of the narcotics division.