The Ugly American

TitleThe Ugly American
Publication TypeFilm
Year of Publication1963
AuthorsEnglund, George
Running Time2h
Date Released04/02/1963
DistributorUniversal Pictures
CountryUnited States
Publication LanguageEnglish

Unpopular with audiences and critics alike when it was released in 1963, The Ugly American offered a warning to the Cold-War obsessed United States as it headed toward full-scale intervention in Vietnam. The film is set in a fictional nation called Sarkhan, an imaginary country in Southeast Asia that somewhat resembles Burma or Thailand, but which is meant to allude to Vietnam. American ambassador Harrison MacWhite (Marlon Brando) travels to a Southeast Asian country on a peacekeeping mission. Torn between rival factions, the turbulent nation is on the brink of civil war. But MacWhite's powers of analysis allow him to view the political situation only in the simplest terms: as a struggle between communism and democracy. And, by the time the ambassador is finally able to see the political upheaval as a something more complicated, it may already be too late. The film was based on the 1958 novel The Ugly American by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer. 

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