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Be Good, Smile Pretty

5.0 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

A powerfully moving, personal exploration of a grief for the father she never knew, this award-winning film chronicles Tracy Droz Tragos' heart-wrenching journey to understand and cope with a loss shared by the estimated 20,000 Americans whose fathers were killed in Vietnam. Weaving emotionally compelling interviews with home movies, stock footage and family photos, Tragos travels from Selma, Alabama, to the U.S. Senate in search of her father's Naval Academy roommates and war buddies, each of whom has been silently mourning his death and come to remember her father's life in their own way. Along the way, Tragos uncovers a 30-year-old mystery, as she comes to know her father as a man, untangled from the memory of a war that wounded a nation. And while some discoveries are almost too difficult to bear, it is ultimately the truth that allows her, and her entire family, to understand and move forward.

Special Features

  • Extended interviews
  • Photo gallery
  • Resource guide
  • Filmmaker statement
  • Crew biographies

Product Details

  • Actors: Terrence Howard, John Kerry
  • Directors: Tracy Droz Tragos
  • Writers: Tracy Droz Tragos, Lois Vossen, Charlie Pearson, Eric Martin
  • Producers: Tracy Droz Tragos, Cathy R. Fischer, Chris Donahue, Chris Tragos, Craig Harris
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: January 27, 2004
  • Run Time: 52 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00011Y1NU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195,097 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Be Good, Smile Pretty" on IMDb

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Top Customer Reviews

By S. Annand on February 8, 2004
Format: DVD
I viewed the DVD and want to say, as a Vietnam Veteran, that this is a truly amazing project. It was quite incredible how Tracy interwove still and 8mm footage of her father's life and death. Absolutely nothing was held back in the interviews regarding the tragedy of one single combat death and how it changed so many lives. It is easy for somebody unaffected to say "get over it" but you can see why people never do. For Tracy's mother to relive the shock, and for us to see it all over again on film, is painfull for the viewer. I especially appreciated the extra footage of extended interviews. A number of other orphans openly explain their feelings and views. For the veterans who knew Tracy's father to speak so openly of their own feelings about his death shows a high level of trust between the veteran and Tracy. The real triumph in this documentary, however, is the total lack of political discussion. In victory or defeat, any death in any war carries the same loss for family and friends.
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Format: DVD
BE GOOD, SMILE PRETTY is a powerful and moving documentary following a daughter attempting to come to terms with the death of her father, U.S. Naval Soldier Don Droz, who was killed in battle in Vietnam. More than three decades later she embarks on an emotional journey to investigate the exact circumstances of his death and to get answers to her many questions. Throughout the film she travels around the country to speak with Droz's former Navy buddies, most notably U.S. Senator John Kerry, in addition to shifting through old letters and photographs from the attic and asking many poignant and evocative questions. It is immediately apparent that the emotional wounds continue to be deep for the loved ones of Don Droz and by the conclusion of this film tears freely flowed down my face which is not a common phenomenon, especially when watching movies.
An amazing feat in this documentary is the abundance of film clips that were utilized throughout. Not only was there audio and video of the battle that ended his life in Vietnam but there were also more innocuous moments such as college graduation and anti-war demonstrations attended by her mother. The inclusion of the video resulted in a more powerful documentary than if still photographs were solely relied upon. While the running length of BE GOOD, SMILE PRETTY is short it is packed with an emotional depth and punch that continues to haunt even after the DVD player is switched off. Highly recommended.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
I was originally attracted to this when I saw Tracy Droz Tragos interviewed about her newest work on the Dally Show. This is an incredibly moving film that speaks to many things: Tracy's personal journey, the memory of her Dad, that we must all wait until the time is right to deal with our pain/challenges, great courage, and the terrible lasting effects of war. It shows the emotions of people without exploiting them. It is touching and challenging. I recommended it to several friends immediately.
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Format: DVD
If there is an orientation class for American Presidents, this movie should be required viewing. Not because the movie makes a powerful political statement, but because the film captures the multi-generational impact of one combat death.

When one soldier dies this is the toll taken. A heartbroken mother, an angry widow, a daughter who never knows her dad and soldiers who hold gruesome memories for a lifetime.

This is a very important and emotional film.
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Format: DVD
Having written fictiously about Vietnam in a novel, and having had a brother in Vietnam, I am very sensitive to overt or sanctimonious portrayals of Vietnam. Tracy Droz Tragos did neither. War is, above all, deeply personal and the pain it leaves for those who have lost a brother, husband, father, son, cousin, nephew and so forth, is something that can only be coped with as the years go by. The loss is never resolved or the reasons, especially with Vietnam, are never good enough to answer "why." Droz gives us a powerful and generous glimpse into her mother's sorrow, her own, the Droz family, and the men who were friends and comrades of her father. I highly recommend this documentary to anyone brave enough to experience the deep fears, the dread, and ultimately the life-long grief that comes when you lose someone you love in war. If you cannot identify with what our troops face in Iraqi now, what their families face, then I recommend viewing this documentary. Extremely well done and powerful.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I showed this video to my high school juniors at the end of the semester of the literature of the Vietnam War. Not only did I enjoy it, but my high school juniors loved it. Quite a few of them were teary eyed by the end of the video. Most of my students are "John Wayne wannabees" and this documentary gave them another angle to think about. However, my students said that they were most impressed with the strong ties among the Marines who served in combat together.
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