Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s The Vietnam War Premieres September 17 on KQED

To help mark the occasion of this monumental documentary project, KQED is producing a series of articles and stories about the war’s impact on the Bay Area

Marines marching in Danang. March 15, 1965. Courtesy of Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- The Vietnam War, Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s highly anticipated documentary series, tells the story of the Vietnam War as it has never been told on film. The 10-part, 18-hour series features testimony from nearly 100 witnesses, including many American who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnam combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides.

The series will have its Bay Area premiere September 17 on KQED 9. The first five episodes will air nightly from Sunday, September 17 through Thursday, September 21. The final five episodes will air nightly from Sunday, September 24, through Thursday, September 28. Each episode will premiere at 8pm.

“The Vietnam War was a decade of agony that took the lives of more than 58,000 Americans,” says Burns. “Not since the Civil War have we as a country been so torn apart. There wasn’t an American alive then who wasn’t affected in some way — from those who fought and sacrificed in the war, to families of service members and POWs, to those who protested the war in open conflict with their government and fellow citizens. More than 40 years after it ended, we can’t forget Vietnam, and we are still arguing about why it went wrong, who was to blame and whether it was all worth it.”

“We are all searching for some meaning in this terrible tragedy. Ken and I have tried to shed new light on the war by looking at it from the bottom up, the top down and from all sides,” Novick says. “In addition to dozens of Americans who shared their stories, we interviewed many Vietnamese on both the winning and losing sides, and were surprised to learn that the war remains as painful and unresolved for them as it is for us. Within this almost incomprehensibly destructive event, we discovered profound, universal human truths, as well as uncanny resonances with recent events.”


Ten years in the making, the series brings the war and the chaotic epoch it encompassed viscerally to life. It includes rarely seen, digitally re-mastered archival footage from sources around the globe, photographs taken by some of the most celebrated photojournalists of the 20th century, historic television broadcasts, evocative home movies, and revelatory audio recordings from inside the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations.

Leading up to and during the course of the two-week television broadcast premiere of The Vietnam War, KQED is producing a trove of stories for online, radio, television and social media exploring the impact of the war on the Bay Area. Topics will include post-war Vietnamese immigration to the area; a survey of Bay Area military installations that served the war effort; personal profiles of vets from both sides of the war and antiwar protestors; and the war’s continued influence on local arts community. Follow all of KQED’s related coverage at

The Vietnam War will re-air on KQED 9 on Tuesday evenings, from October 3 through November 28. On October 3, KQED will air the first two episodes beginning at 9pm. Subsequent dates will feature a single episode at 9pm.

Production Credits
The Vietnam War is a production of Florentine Films and WETA, Washington, DC. Directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Written by Geoffrey C. Ward. Produced by Sarah Botstein, Lynn Novick and Ken Burns.

Funding for the Vietnam War is provided by Bank of America; Corporation for Public Broadcasting; PBS; Park Foundation; The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations; The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; National Endowment for The Humanities; The Pew Charitable Trusts; Ford Foundation Just Films; Rockefeller Brothers Fund; and Members of The Better Angels Society.

Local support is provided by Kraw Law Group, Comcast, Tauck, Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Stanford Health Care.

About KQED
KQED serves the people of Northern California with a public-supported alternative to commercial media. An NPR and PBS affiliate based in San Francisco, KQED is home to one of the most listened-to public radio stations in the nation, one of the highest-rated public television services and an award-winning education program helping students and educators thrive in 21st-century classrooms. A trusted news source and leader and innovator in interactive technology, KQED takes people of all ages on journeys of exploration — exposing them to new people, places and ideas.