Taglines: The year the country split apart and a generation came together.
Two friends, Ralph and Scott live in a small minded town at the onset of wide public dissatisfaction with the Vietnam war. While Scott’s brother enlists, he and Ralph are outspoken in their opposition to the war. Scott’s attitude alienates him from his father and he and Ralph leave town to enjoy their ‘freedom’. Various events lead them back to town where they learn of the death of the brother. This event proves to be the catalyst needed to bridge the gap between father and son and enlightens them both to the true cost of war.
1969 is a 1988 drama film starring Robert Downey, Jr., Kiefer Sutherland, and Winona Ryder. It was written and directed by Ernest Thompson. The original music score is composed by Michael Small. The film deals with the Vietnam War and the resulting social tensions between those who support and oppose the war in small-town America.
About the Story
The boys (Robert Downey, Jr. and Kiefer Sutherland) hitchhike home from college, arriving on Easter morning and shout their greetings across the glen to their family during a lakeside Easter Sunrise service, much to the amusement of Ralph’s younger sister Beth (Winona Ryder) and mother Ev (Joanna Cassidy) and embarrassment of Scott’s mother Jessie (Mariette Hartley) and father Cliff (Bruce Dern). Later that day, they drive Scott’s older brother Alden, who’s shipping off to Vietnam, to the bus depot; Alden pushes Scott when Scott says that his Marine brother is afraid to go to Vietnam. They begin fighting until their father arrives wondering what is going on.
A few weeks later, Scott and Ralph again return home from college to attend Beth’s high school graduation, where the learn that Alden has disappeared, and is considered Missing in Action, and Scott learns that Ralph has flunked out of college (thus making him eligible to be drafted). Ralph and Scott hatch a plan to steal their files from the local draft board office, but they are caught, and Ralph is arrested.
Scott is now determined to avoid Ralph’s fate and plans to leave town and head to Canada to avoid the draft. Scott invites Beth to travel in his van on his trip out of town and to stay away until the end of the war. They admit their attraction to each other. Later, the two decide to visit Ralph in jail to tell him that they are leaving.
Directed by: Ernest Thompson
Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Kiefer Sutherland, Bruce Dern, Mariette Hartley, Winona Ryder, Joanna Cassidy, Christopher Wynne
Screenplay by: Ernest Thompson
Production Design by: Marcia Hinds
Cinematography by: Jules Brenner
Film Editing by: William M. Anderson
Costume Design by: Julie Weiss
Set Decoration by: Jan K. Bergstrom
Music by: Michael Small
Distributed by: Atlantic Releasing
Release Date: November 18, 1988