Interviews Lessons Oral Histories Resources

The Vietnam War – A Film by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick

ThThe Vietnam War Documentary e Vietnam War is a ten-part, 18-hour documentary film series directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. In “an immersive 360-degree narrative Burns and Novick tell the story of the Vietnam War featuring testimony from nearly 100 witnesses.  Six years in the making, the series includes rarely seen and digitally re-mastered archival footage from sources around the globe, photographs taken by some of the most celebrated photojournalists of the 20th Century, historic television broadcasts, evocative home movies, and secret audio recordings from inside the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations.”

The first five episodes will air nightly from Sunday, September 17, through Thursday, September 21, and the final five episodes will air nightly from Sunday, September 24, through Thursday, September 28. Each episode will premiere at 8:00 p.m. ET with a repeat broadcast immediately following the premiere. Beginning Tuesday, October 3, the series will re-air on a weekly basis through November 28, at 9:00 p.m. ET. Check your local listings.



Watch the Trailer

Ten Episode/Timeline

Episode One
“Déjà Vu” (1858-1961)
After a century of French occupation, Vietnam emerges independent but divided into North and South.
Premiered September 17
Watch Episode One on

Episode Two
“Riding the Tiger” (1961-1963)
As a communist insurgency gains strength, President JFK wrestles with American involvement in South Vietnam.
Premiered September 18
Watch Episode Two on

Episode Three
“The River Styx” (January 1964-December 1965)
With South Vietnam near collapse, President LBJ begins bombing the North and sends US troops to the South.
Premiered September 19
Watch Episode Three on

Episode Four
“Resolve” (January 1966-June 1967)
US soldiers discover Vietnam is unlike their fathers’ war, while the antiwar movement grows.
Premieres September 20
Watch Episode Four on

Episode Five
“This Is What We Do” (July 1967-December 1967)
President LBJ escalates the war while promising the public that victory is in sight.
Premieres September 21
Watch Episode Five on

Episode Six
“Things Fall Apart” (January 1968-July 1968)
Shaken by the Tet Offensive, assassinations and unrest, America seems to be coming apart.
Premieres September 24

Episode Seven
“The Veneer of Civilization” (June 1968-May 1969)
After chaos roils the Democratic Convention, Nixon, promising peace, narrowly wins the presidency.
Premieres September 25

Episode Eight
“The History of the World” (April 1969-May 1970)
Nixon withdraws troops but when he sends forces into Cambodia the antiwar movement reignites.
Premieres September 26

Episode Nine
“A Disrespectful Loyalty” (May 1970-March 1973)
South Vietnam fights on its own as Nixon and Kissinger find a way out for America. The POWs return.
Premieres September 27

Episode Ten
“The Weight of Memory” (March 1973-Onward)
Saigon falls and the war ends. Americans and Vietnamese from all sides search for reconciliation.
Premieres September 28


PBS – The Vietnam War Documentary Website

The official PBS Vietnam War Documentary Website gives viewers the ability to stream entire episodes or video clips/snippets. The website provides a companion reading list to accompany the documentary. They’ve also provided an option for viewers to share photos and videos, record stories, and/or listen to oral histories, providing some powerful moments to spark convesations and to weave into your lessons. There is an upload tool, or you can share your story by tagging your posts or tweets with #VietnamStoriesPBS


PBS Learning Media – Teaching the Vietnam War
This collection of videos and lesson plans can help students explore the social and political dynamics of the Vietnam War. Students will examine why, how, and by whom the Vietnam War was fought, how it affected US citizens at home, and how factors shifted over the course of the war. Students will identify the Vietnam War’s legacy and lasting toll on veterans. (Note: lessons are designed for middle and high school students.)


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Viewers are encouraged to join the conversation using #VietnamWarPBS

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We are quickly forming the habit of starting our mornings by discussing the previous night’s episode with a growing commitment to expanding TOR to include new oral histories from the Vietnam War. We will continue to post teaching resources to complement The Vietnam War documentary series as they become available. If you’ve found lessons, websites or resources that complement the series, please share them with us by commenting below.

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Gail and Kathleen


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