Heaven & Earth

Synopsis: The final movie in Oliver Stone's Vietnam trilogy follows the true story of a Vietnamese village girl who survives a life of suffering and hardship during and after the Vietnam war. As a freedom fighter, a hustler, young mother, a sometime prostitute, and the wife of a US. marine, the girl's relationships with men suggests an analogy of Vietnam as Woman and the U.S. as Man.
Director(s): Oliver Stone
Production: Warner Home Video
  Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
140 min

A long time ago...

... a young woman went off into the world...

... like her brothers and sisters.

She fought in wars...

... had children...

... suffered...

... and loved greatly.

I was the sixth-born child...

... Phung Thi Le Ly.

I lived in the most beautiful village

on Earth.

My earliest memories were working

alongside Mother in the fields.

Always working, my mother.

Each grain of rice, a symbol of life,

never wasted.

While we worked,

she'd teach me all I had to know about life.

Mama, where did I really come from?

Where do babies come from?

From my belly button.

Don't worry. God makes babies

and puts them in your belly.

You have plenty of warning.

The fragile rice had to be planted

and transplanted several times.

Our rice paddies were always

near the cemeteries...

... because we believed the spirits

passed through the soil into the rice...

... so the new generation,

in eating the rice...

... was sharing in the spirit

of their ancestors.

One day, in the summer of 1953...

... the French came.

They destroyed our village.

And the following year, we went hungry.

I will never forger my father's eyes...

... as he watched our house burn

to the ground.

But, as it had happened to our village

for so many centuries...

... we rebuilt our lives.

Mama, where do babies really come from?

Then, in 1963...

... the peasant countryside changed forever.

When the Viet Cong first arrived

that rainy season...

... some of them were remnants

from the war against the French.

Many of them were displaced immigrants

from the North.

All of them were angry.

My parents taught me Vietnam is...

...a free nation.

That is what this war is about.

The Chinese, the Japanese, the French,

have each tried to rule us.

And we have won!

The North and the South are inseparable,

like sisters.

But in 1954...

...the French and American allies

separated us and kidnapped the South.

Can we stand by

and watch the kidnappers...

...taking turns raping

and corrupting our sister!

That's what this war's about.

Why should outsiders come in...

...divide the land and tell people

to go north and then go south?


If Vietnam were truly

for the Vietnamese people...

...we would be able to choose

the kind of government we want.

A nation can't have two governments any

more than a family can have two fathers.

- They have bombs, ten men for one of us!

- He's right.

What do we have?

We have rags! We have rifles!

And sticks! We have sticks!

We have no rank, no promotion.

We take no money.

We are your servants.

We respect your homes and shrines.

We are your family.

Do you want to dance?

It was my brother Sau I loved the most.

He was always there to protect me

and make me laugh.


Sweet rice, black beans.

You be very careful. Write, Sau.

I will return.

Le Ly, I will return.

Be a big girl.

Always take care of Mama and Papa.

Protect yourself from ghosts.

Take care.

As they went north to Hanoi

with the Viet Cong...

... I felt it was the last time

I'd see my older brother, Bon...

... and my younger brother, Sau,

for a long, long time.

Maybe forever.

But it was Sau who was ripped

from my heart.

You understand that a country is more

than a lot of dirt, rivers and forests?

You know your brother, Sau,

may not come back?

I told you many times...

...the Chinese ruled our land.

Many died.

Le Loi, Jia Long and the Trung sisters.

And your ancestor Phung Thi Chinh fought

to throw out the Chinese.

Your grandfather fought

and died against the Japanese...

...just before you were born.

We suffered much.

When the Japanese came...

...your mother and I were taken

to Danang...

...to build a runway for the airplanes.

We worked like slaves.

Our reward was a bowl of rice...

...and another day of life.

Freedom is never a gift, Bay Ly.

It must be won and won again.

You know that?

I do.

See this land?

Vietnam is going to be yours now.

If the enemy returns...

...you must be both a daughter

and a son now.

From my father, I learned to love God

and the people I could not see...

... my ancestors.

But I would learn in time...

... my father's words would be twisted

by events.

Government soldiers came to our village

with the support of American advisors.

Your village will be safe.

They built barricades

against the Viet Cong.

It's part of the new Binh Ky hamlet.

Many of you will be asked

to take militia training...

...so you will be prepared...

...to resist the Communist rebels!

You will be rewarded...

...with food and money.

Your older children will be sent to camp...

...for military training.

But younger children can go to school.

Your village will be happy and peaceful.

Do you have any questions?

Go to your leader.

The soldiers ate our food,

slept with our women...

... and searched us just as the soldiers

of the warlords had centuries before.

But the government leader, whose name

was Ngo Dinh Diem, America's ally...

... was a Catholic, like the French...

... and that alone made him suspicious

to the Buddhists in our area.

The Northern leader, Ho Chi Minh...

... had been a great patriot

against the Japanese and the French.

We heard stories of his compassion

and his love for Vietnam.

What are they? Americans?

They say they all have blind blue eyes

behind their glasses.

If you take their shoes off,

they have soft feet and cry in pain.

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Oliver Stone

William Oliver Stone (born September 15, 1946) is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. Stone came to public prominence between the mid-1980s and the early 1990s for writing and directing a series of films about the Vietnam War, in which he had participated as an infantry soldier. Many of Stone's films primarily focus on controversial American political issues during the late 20th century, and as such that they were considered contentious at the times of their releases. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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