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82 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If all televison drama was like "China Beach"...
... there would be no declining Neilson ratings. The late '80's produced several great quality drama shows, and "China Beach" was certainly among the top three. A show that respected both the viewer and men and women in uniform, it was a show that became better and better with each season. There are very few actors or actresses who have created characters as enduring and...
Published on June 28, 2003 by CWC

versus
4 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not the Vietnam I knew!
This tape (and the whole series) is nothing but a bunch of Hollywood blather. I spent a year hauling combat troops into battle. Never once did I see soldiers in muscle t-shirts with sweat rags tied around their heads. China Beach is more soap opera than reality.
Published on August 18, 2001 by Deb K


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82 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If all televison drama was like "China Beach"..., June 28, 2003
By 
CWC (Long Beach, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: China Beach / Premiere Episode [VHS] (VHS Tape)
... there would be no declining Neilson ratings. The late '80's produced several great quality drama shows, and "China Beach" was certainly among the top three. A show that respected both the viewer and men and women in uniform, it was a show that became better and better with each season. There are very few actors or actresses who have created characters as enduring and memorable in impact as Dana Delany did with Colleen McMurphy. An exceptional cast that had a lot of chemistry together that made the show all the more powerful.... Great casting, great writing, great acting, great production.
I used to tape the shows and watch them. Sorry the only one I have kept was the 2-hour finale that was shown in July 1991. "China Beach" had an incredible beginning as seen in this VHS tape and an incredible ending. The finale finds all the members of the five and dime unit coming back together for a reunion years after the war is over and they have returned to the States. The final scene with Colleen McMurphy at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. with her daughter brought tears and emotions to my eyes like no other television show I had seen.
I would definitely be a candidate to buy the complete episode boxed set of this show in DVD format if it is ever released.
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94 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hot time at the Five and Dime, November 19, 2002
By 
Steven Cain (Temporal Quantum Pocket) - See all my reviews
This review is from: China Beach / Premiere Episode [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Superb. The entire series should be made available, but as yet, even this little gem is not available on DVD.
While I am also a big Dana fan, I was blown away by the level of realism and the sheer quality of the acting throughout this flawlessly executed epic series. A pre-Star Trek: Voyager Robert Picardo was one of the mainstays in a show that almost made MASH seem trivial by comparison - even given that MASH was a comedy.
This really is intense drama at its best, and the character depth and quality performances from Dana, Robert and an outrageously talented cast made this a classic series by any definition.
On following China Beach (the real location is now a leading Vietnamese tourist resort), you simply cannot help but be appalled that the Army nurses who risked and even gave their lives to save countless teenage soldiers, had to fight for Vet status for many years.
In a God-forsaken country in which every square inch was the front line, the courageous men and women at the Five and Dime showed how the human spirit can triumph in even the most overwhelming circumstances.
For me, Delaney and Picardo never topped these stunning performances, although I would watch literally anything that they appear in. This all-too-brief tape serves as a reminder of just how good television can be.
Haunting.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent drama about soldiers and nurses serving in Vietnam, September 27, 1998
By A Customer
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This review is from: China Beach / Premiere Episode [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is the 1-1/2 hour pilot episode that launched the popular and much acclaimed "China Beach" TV series. Dana Delany has the role of her life playing Colleen McMurphy, a dedicated triage nurse in Vietnam. This is not a war action movie, but rather a drama about the lives of Vietnam soldiers and the nurses, Red Cross "Donut Dollies", and USO entertainers who are there for them. Dana Delaney is stunning in the role of McMurphy -- this alone would make this a classic. In addition, the deep respect and understanding shown for the Vietnam GI's sets this apart from most of the other Vietnam movies. This is a movie that people who wern't in Vietnam should watch to get a better appreciation for the men and women who served there. For those who were there, this movie is a token of respect and appreciation for your service. END
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars China Beach is now available on DVD, March 31, 2006
This review is from: China Beach / Premiere Episode [VHS] (VHS Tape)
China Beach, the award-winning television series, is now available in a beautiful box set with all episodes and bonuses. Check out TimeLife on their website. It's expensive but worth the price. Regretfully, it is not in letterbox format (at least the first few episodes are not).
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hoping to make up for lost time, November 7, 2004
This review is from: China Beach / Premiere Episode [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I have an odd, roundabout reason for wanting to see China Beach

on DVD. I only got to see the last 6 episodes and I've been

haunted by it ever since.

I must have had other things to do, or had another lesser show

to watch at the same time, but I never saw one single episode

of China Beach until the last season was winding down to the

series finale. I can still remember how stunned I was at the

power and the excellence of those last shows, and how I regretted

not watching China Beach sooner. Ever since, every couple of

months I check to see if it's out on DVD yet. This time when

I checked it seems like the comments of fans have increased in

number and emotion--so maybe we'll be getting lucky and will be

able to see one of the finest television shows I've had the

privilege of watching.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A unique, poignant, vivid depiction of people in war, November 20, 1999
This review is from: China Beach / Premiere Episode [VHS] (VHS Tape)
If for nothing else, the stunning actress Dany Delany is worth watching in this film, but there is so much more to it. As a Vietnam War era veteran, I find films about the military are sometimes cliche filled or not do not capture the reality of those of us who served. One thing common among people caught up in desperate circumstances is the camaraderie felt by the participants during a crisis. A closeness for people who were mere strangers a very short time before, and perhaps would be again soon if they survived. I knew this closeness when I was overseas and I felt it again watching China Beach, watching them interact, the war a real thing for the combatants, a vivid reminder of the fragility of life for the medics trying to save as many blown up and broken bodies as they could. Even the "undetaker" was not forgotten in the ensuing series, the man who had to prepare the dead for shipment home while knowing he could become the next body on the table if luck was not with him. To do proper justice to this pilot film, the entire series should be made available online because this is only a taste of the delicacy still ahead.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars These women were important and deserve to have their voices heard., June 9, 2006
By 
Abbey (Austin, TX USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: China Beach / Premiere Episode [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I have never seen a show like this, and know that I never will. In times of war, women are often forgotten; the invisible support pushed out of the limelight by the action-packed experience of combat soldiers. China Beach tried to change that. It portrayed women in various different capacities during the Vietnam war. Nurses, prostitutes, Red Cross workers, enlisted women, officers, reporters, performers... China Beach gave them faces, histories, futures, pain, and joy. The show had an arc; it showed what happened to non-combatants both in country and back in the world after their tours. Women are often forgotten, but China BEach made that impossible. Go to the Women's monument at the Wall in DC and try not to superimpose the face of Dana Delaney onto any of those nurses.

I'm not going to preach, but this show needs to be on DVD. Right now. Honor the vets with their story told from every point of view. I can buy every episode of "Masters of the Universe" but not China Beach? This show won four Emmys and was nominated for many more. The show is marketable: Tour of Duty sells like hotcakes, as does Platoon and other Vietnam movies, Marg Helgenberger is hotter than hot with CSI, and the production team is well-known for making quality programming. Please please please release this on DVD. It is a travesty that it is unavailable.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The beginning of three of the best years in television..., February 4, 2004
This review is from: China Beach / Premiere Episode [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I had the opportunity to watch this TV show when it first aired in the late 80's and early 90's, but recently also on History Television. I don't usually do this, but I watched repeats of this show again and again. I have been so moved by the characters portrayed by these brilliant actors, who gave such heart-felt and moving performances, and it gave me huge insight into a war to which I had always been emotionally drawn. I am a child of the 60's, a woman, remember the American war in Vietnam being televised on the evening news, was always particularly affected by it. I was 12 and 13 when I first really became aware. I am Canadian. Each evening when I watched the news, I felt as though a part of my soul was torn out. Later I related to all the vets who weren't recognized when they returned after the war. I have since watched many films and read books about both sides of the Vietnam conflict. I wish more people would do this, because it would give great insight into all the new conflicts and political implications surrounding the current Middle Eastern/American involvements. The political history alone is spell-binding! This television series captured the experiences of nurses, doctors, soldiers, prostitutes, medics and donut dollies, amongst many others...all fully realized characters, fascinating, funny, sad, haunted, living, dying. The performances given by Dana Delany, Marg Helgenberger, Jeff Kober, Brian Wimmer, Richard Picardo, and so many others were so memorable as to be haunting. It wasn't pretty. It hurt. It felt really real, right to the very end of the last minute of the last episode. I occasionally use a little Chantilly perfume, and it always reminds me of a dying soldier telling McMurphy(Dana Delaney) how sweet she smelled. Her holding his hand meant everything to this very young boy who had been torn apart by war. I related to how much pain she felt and couldn't acknowlege after she returned to the States...her restlessness, her drinking, her searching for answers.
I have become aware that this series may soon become available on DVD. I suppose in a world where "Punk'd" and many other inane shows are available almost immediately, we can hold out hope that this kind of quality TV will eventually be available for the original fans and the newly curious as well.
Again, this is a gem, write in to have it released, watch it, enjoy it and be touched by it, and thank you to all the wonderful actors, directors, producers, and contributors who brought so much life, realism, and emotional accessability to us all.
I am aware that some Vietnam vets have written in about this video, saying it wasn't realistic. I think the continuing episodes tried to be as honest as they could be and truly helped a lot of people who didn't know about the truth connect with characters they could relate to, thereby bringing the full horror and experience closer to their hearts. There are many excellent films, books, etc, available in order for the younger generation, who may not be aware, to educate themselves about this enormously important historical event. Both sides' stories are eloquent. One of the earliest was "The Deer Hunter", in it's time very shocking. Also, try some of Oliver Stone's films; obviously "Platoon" and "The Fourth of July", but also "Heaven and Earth", and many others. Try "The Killing Fields" about the after-effects of the Vietnam war in Cambodia. Try some of Tran Anh Hung's beautifully realized art films about post-war Vietman, "The Vertical Ray of the Sun", "The Scent of Green Papayas", and the more violent and desperate "Cyclo".
As well, try well-known writer Graham Greene's movie adaptation of "The Quiet American". The end of the movie contains an information trailer which illuminates the early involvement of America in the "Indochine" conflict. Talk about currently relevant news!
This TV series re-opened a whole world for me. I have cried and been angry for every soul lost, on both sides, been moved by many lives. I eagerly await the DVD release of the series; it has been the window to so much awareness, pain, and growth for me. If you would just like to see excellent television, with excellent performances, telling compelling stories, without having to get too involved...well, enjoy a great series...but I dare you to remain emotionally removed.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History Channel lost the rights**Please Release the series!!, May 11, 2004
By 
kristine (las vegas, NV United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: China Beach / Premiere Episode [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is the most compelling drama series I have ever seen. When China Beach was aired In 1988, I was only 19 years old. At that age, only men impressed me and CHINA BEACH. I just heard from the History Channel April 29, 2004 that the rights to show China Beach have expired to Warner Brothers. I hope they release the series out on video. I will definately buy the whole series lot if they release it.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Woman's War???, August 13, 2001
By 
Kenneth E. Knox "KKnox0616" (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: China Beach / Premiere Episode [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I am a TV fanatic. I admit it. I absolutely LOVE to sit down and watch great shows. A lot of people sit around and groan about the poor quality of television, but I'm not one of them. I can always find something that's watchable. Even better, I can always find something that's both truthful and exceptional.
Today there are a number of television shows that exceed my expectations. I'm still hooked on E.R., NYPD BLUE, ALLY McBEAL and FELICITY, not to mention newer gems like ONCE AND AGAIN, THE WEST WING and THAT's LIFE. These are shows that are not only well-written and acted, but that contain warmth, reality and overwhelming humanity. These are the types of shows that end up being my favorites.
I've always been a sucker for sentimental stuff, which explains my fondness for past faves THIRTYSOMETHING, MY SO-CALLED LIFE and PARTY OF 5. And this certainly explains my fondness for what remains in my opinion one of the all-time greatest TV shows ever, CHINA BEACH.
Created by John Sacret-Young and set at a fictional Army base during the Vietnam War, CHINA BEACH featured an ensemble cast of oftentimes colorful characters who were serving various duties during the war.
Colleen McMurphy (the superb Dana Delaney) was the weary nurse who found herself deeply effected by the patients that passed through the beds in the hospital where she served with the witty but troubled Dr. Dick (Robert Picardo). Laurette ("special guest star" Chloe Webb) was a singer looking for her big break while entertaining the troops, and Boonie (Brian Wimmer) was the hunky lifeguard who romanced her. Cherry (Nan Woods) was the innocent and naive donut dolly who came to Vietnam to find her MIA brother Rick, and later formed a close bond with sultry K.C. (Marg Helgenberger, in her career-defining role), a rather industrious business woman who set up camp on base as a prostitute and later a hair salon owner. Becker (Michael Boatman) was the distraught morgue attendee who'd seen his share of death but who always found a reason to go on. The whole operation was overseen by the fiery and indepedent Lyla (Concetta Tomei).
The cast was uniformly excellent, with stand-out (and Emmy winning) performances from Delaney and Helgenberger. The show was critically lauded, but unfortunately floundered in later seasons, despite episodes that were deeply touching and well-written.
A good number of the episodes, including the pilot, were directed with an even hand by Mimi Leder (later of DEEP IMPACT and PEACEMAKER fame), who never shied away from the violence of the war while tugging on the heart strings.
Many referred to CHINA BEACH as a "chick show," but those who did missed the point: that the Vietnam War was a point in history that effected everyone who was involved, regardless of their gender.
The pilot, the only episode available on video, introduces the characters and the basic set-up of the show. There are plenty of explosions and screaming, bloodied patients, but at the heart of this brilliant show was a sincere and frequently haunting look at the tragedy that was the Vietnam War. By focusing on the personal stories of its well-rounded and three-dimensional characters, the show brought the war into our homes and into our hearts in ways that many of the more male-oriented movies like PLATOON and HAMBURGER HILL weren't able to.
I've been sending Columbia House Video emails for years asking them to offer CHINA BEACH, but to no avail. If they ever do, you can be sure that I will own the entire collection. As it stands, I have the stellar two-hour pilot episode to remind me of this stand-out series, and also that there will ALWAYS be quality television, no matter what the nay-sayers say.
GRADE: A
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China Beach / Premiere Episode [VHS]
China Beach / Premiere Episode [VHS] by Rod Holcomb (VHS Tape - 1998)
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