Hail, Hero!
Michael Douglas in a publicity photograph
Directed byDavid Miller
Screenplay byDavid Manber
Based onHail, Hero! (1968, OCLC 436308)
by John Weston
Produced byHarold D. Cohen
StarringMichael Douglas
Peter Strauss
Arthur Kennedy
Teresa Wright
Deborah Winters
CinematographyRobert B. Hauser
Edited byJohn McSweeney Jr.
Music byGordon Lightfoot
Jerome Moross
Distributed byNational General Pictures
Release date
  • October 4, 1969 (1969-10-04)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States

Hail, Hero! is a 1969 drama film directed by David Miller, starring Michael Douglas, Deborah Winters and Peter Strauss. David Manber wrote the screenplay based on the novel by John Weston. The picture was produced by Harold D. Cohen and was the feature film debut for Douglas[1] and for Peter Strauss.[2]


During the Vietnam War, college student Carl Dixon quits school and joins the Army in hopes of using love, not bullets, to combat the Viet Cong.



Gordon Lightfoot contributed two songs to the soundtrack,[2] the title song (co-written with Jerome Moross) and "Wherefore And Why", an "alternate, slightly faster take" of the first track of Did She Mention My Name?[3] No soundtrack album was released.[3]

A key scene in the film was changed shortly before the film's release. In both the novel and the film, "Carl spends his last night at home painting the side of his father's barn with a Pop war mural—flowers, bombs, flaming planes and an American flag in which hearts have replaced the stars. In the novel (and in the film before it was ... re-edited), Carl's mother ... and father joined him in this act of affirmation."[4]


For his performance, Michael Douglas was nominated for Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actor.[1]

Upon the film's October 1969 release, Vincent Canby wrote:[4]

In Hail, Hero! you can see Kirk Douglas, even younger than he was in The Champion in 1949, in the person of his 25-year-old son, Michael. This new Douglas has his father's extraordinary, Fearless Fosdick jaw, the suggestion of his dimpled chin and the cool, gentle eyes. He also possesses the almost manic, physical buoyancy that compels attention even when it bears little relation to the circumstances in which the actor finds himself. It's not an especially memorable performance, but it's an energetic one, and without Douglas, Hail, Hero! would not even be tolerable.

In a retrospective review TV Guide called it a "talky, uninspired attempt to bring 60s-style 'relevance' to the screen."[2]

See also


  1. ^ a b Saroyan, Strawberry (January 8, 2004). "Father and son have made the most of a Golden history". Variety. Retrieved 2013-01-12.
  2. ^ a b c "Hail, Hero!: Review". TV Guide. Retrieved 2013-01-12.
  3. ^ a b Francis, Wayne. "Unreleased songs". lightfoot.ca. Retrieved 2013-01-12.
  4. ^ a b Canby, Vincent (October 24, 1969). "Screen: 'Hail Hero!' Weaves a Parable of War". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-01-12.