A Bright Shining Lie

Synopsis: Something in his past keeps career Army man John Paul Vann from advancing past colonel. He views being sent to Vietnam as part of the US military advisory force a stepping stone to promotion. However, he disagrees vocally (and on the record) with the way the war is being run and is forced to leave the military. Returning to Vietnam as a civilian working with the Army, he comes to despise some South Vietnamese officers while he takes charge of some of the U.S. forces and continues his liaisons with Vietnamese women.
Genre: Drama, War
Director(s): Terry George
Production: HBO Video
  Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 nominations.
118 min

(# Jefferson Airplane: Somebody To Love)

# When the truth is found

# To be lies

# And all the joy within you dies

# Don't you want somebody to love?

# Don't you need somebody to love?

# Wouldn't you love somebody to love?

# You better find somebody to love


# When the garden flowers

# Baby are dead

# Yes and your mind, your mind

# Is so full of red

# Don't you want somebody to love?

# Don't you need somebody to love?

# Wouldn't you love somebody to love?

# You better find somebody to love

# Your eyes, I say your eyes

may look like his

# Yeah but in your head baby

# I'm afraid you don't know where it is

# Don't you want somebody to love?

# Don't you need somebody to love?

# Wouldn't you love somebody to love?

# You better find somebody to love

# Tears are running

# Running down your breast

# And your friends, baby

# They treat you like a guest

# Don't you want somebody to love?

# Don't you need somebody to love?

# Wouldn't you love... #

(Man) Ready, aim, fire.

Ready, aim, fire.

Present arms.

(# Last Post)

(Quietly) Excuse me.

(Man) I had come to say goodbye.

Vietnam tore us apart.

We went there believing

in freedom and democracy

but somehow we lost our moral compass.

How did we let it happen?

A decade ago things seemed

so much clearer.

(# Chubby Checker: The Twist)

# Come on baby

# Let's do the twist

# Ooh-wah-wah

# Come on baby

# Let's do the twist

# Ooh-wah

# Take me by my little hand

# And go like this

# Ooh

# Ee-aw

# Round and around... #

These are extraordinary times

and we face an extraordinary challenge.

Our strength, as well as our convictions,

have imposed upon this nation

the role of leader in freedom's cause.

It is a contest of will and purpose

as well as force and violence and,

in that contest, we cannot stand aside.

(Man) Gentlemen, to West Berlin

and next year Moscow.

- (Men) Moscow.

- West Berlin, sh*t. You'll never fire a shot.

Oh, Vann, you wanna tell me what the hell

you did so wrong to pull Vietnam?

- I'm gonna see combat, boys.

- A bunch of gooks with shotguns.

- Hey, those gooks beat the French.

- Ooh, beat the French.

- Who hasn't?

- Mark my words, gentlemen,

- Vietnam is the war of the future.

- (All) Ooh. War of the future.

- Right.

- (Gl) Oh, man.


- Howdy, darling.

- Hi.

Same again for me

and my constituents over there.

- Right. Two whiskeys, two beers.

- And a Coke, please.

- Yeah. We have a good boy over there, huh?

- That's me, honey. I don't drink or smoke.

What else don't you do?

- Keep the change.

- Thank you.

(# On jukebox:
Brenda Lee: I'm sorry)

# That I was such a fool... #

Oh yeah.

# I didn't know

# Love could be so cruel

# Oh, ho, ho, ho #

(Dog barks in distance)

- Hey, I bought you some flowers.

- What's to celebrate?

I got it. I got it.

The Pentagon? You...

Vietnam. Vietnam.


Vietnam? W-Well, what happened

to Washington?

Mary, don't you see? I'm going to war.

You know what happens in a war?

Guys like me get promoted.

Now I can fight my way to the top.

Oh, we are going to Washington...

but I'm going as a soldier,

not a goddamn clerk.


Wait a minute, John,

you kind of smell like perfume.

- Oh, hell, honey, it's the flowers.

- Oh.

Baby, this is the chance

we've been waiting for. This is it.


- Enlisted men over here.

- Yeah, tell 'em to hustle.

- Enlisted men, over here.

- Saigon, over here, in the trucks.

- OK, right over there, sir. Morning, sir.

- Vann, John P, Lieutenant Colonel.

Colonel Vann. Colonel Vann.

Er, I don't have you on manifest, sir.

Rate this script:0.0 / 0 votes

Neil Sheehan

Cornelius Mahoney "Neil" Sheehan (born October 27, 1936) is an American journalist. As a reporter for The New York Times in 1971, Sheehan obtained the classified Pentagon Papers from Daniel Ellsberg. His series of articles revealed a secret United States Department of Defense history of the Vietnam War and led to a US Supreme Court case, New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971), when the United States government unsuccessfully attempted to halt publication.He received a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award for his 1988 book A Bright Shining Lie, about the life of Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Vann and the United States involvement in the Vietnam War. more…

All Neil Sheehan scripts | Neil Sheehan Scripts

0 fans

Submitted on August 05, 2018

Discuss this script with the community:



    Translate and read this script in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this screenplay to your bibliography:


    "A Bright Shining Lie" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 29 Sep. 2023. <https://www.scripts.com/script/a_bright_shining_lie_1842>.

    We need you!

    Help us build the largest writers community and scripts collection on the web!

    Watch the movie trailer

    A Bright Shining Lie

    Browse Scripts.com

    The Studio:

    ScreenWriting Tool

    Write your screenplay and focus on the story with many helpful features.