year "The Doc’s Movie" was used to support a
Year 12 History class in Western Australia.
The following, in the words of their
teacher, is a summary as to how it came
about and also how it has developed.
In early 2007 I was trying to find an
accurate representation of the Vietnam War
to show my year 12 Tertiary Entrance
Examination (TEE) History students. As a
secondary school teacher, teaching
Australian History to students bears a
certain responsibility. Providing them with
an accurate representation of events is
always foremost in my mind. I am always
encouraging them to seek out older people
who have life experience to discover
different perspectives. In fact, one of
their assignments is to construct a
hypothesis about Australian history and
research it by interviewing people to test
I finally spoke to a video distribution shop
called Jaguar Videos in a suburb called
Midvale in Western Australia. They said I
was in luck as a man who knew someone in the
eastern states, was currently in the shop.
The man (I cannot recall his name) said that
he had the number at home and rang me later
and gave me the number of a gentleman who
had fought in Vietnam called Mick Henrys.
I rang Mick, left a message and he got back
to me later that day. He explained the DVD
was filmed by 5RAR’s Doctor to provide a
legacy of their experiences for family and
friends, especially to those who had passed
away. We had a lengthy conversation and I
ordered the DVD which arrived a few days
When I sat down to view The Doc’s Movie,
prior to showing my students, I was not
prepared for what I experienced. It
certainly was not just another documentary!
I felt quite overwhelmed by the connection I
felt towards the events portrayed. Why? I
discussed this with Mick later and we came
up with a few possibilities.
Upon reflection I believe it impacted me
In a false world, The Doc’s Movie is real.
The Doc has captured on film, the essence of
a human being, heart!
Doc's Movie portrays individual Australian
men who, despite being placed in the
difficult situation of war, rise above their
circumstances and emanate a positive
ambience throughout the movie to each other
and those they come in contact with,
especially the Vietnamese people. That’s
Finally the day came to show my students.
They knew the background of the DVD and were
eager to view it.
Silence fell over my usually very social
students as they soaked up the scenes and
music (Later they wanted to know who sang
which song and thanks Mick for sending those
to me previous to watching the DVD). That
day, after viewing The Docs Movie they just
wanted to debrief. Viewing reality can be an
awfully confrontational experience. I have
enclosed their responses.
My students have often referred to the Doc's
Movie. Many have made reference to it in
their formal assignments, to back up a point
they were trying to make. In class
conversation, students often refer to the
importance and impact of the Doc capturing
These are quotes from my students who are 16
– 17 years old:
a good film and would make a good text to
reference. I like the fact that it’s not a
re-enactment, but actual footage from the
war, it gives it more body.
The scene with the 'hueys' and sparrows were
excellent, just the raw sound of the blades
ripping through the air'.
'Amazing footage! Seeing actual recordings
really helped me to understand the
conditions the troops and civilians had to
live under. The music added to the
atmosphere and intensity of the war
movie clips show what the living conditions
were like, the kind of landscape they were
fighting in, the equipment and weapons used.
It shows the spirit of the soldiers and the
villagers. It shows what it was really like,
not just fighting but helping villagers. It
shows the reality of it all'.
doesn't seem real!
It just looks like another war movie.
It’s really sad, you just keep thinking that
its all pretend and that all the men that
have been injured or killed are just
But it’s an excellent movie and should be
shown to all history students'.
watching the movie it gave us a better
understanding of the way the Australians
fighting in the war coped and helped with
understanding the conditions the men were
fighting in and the habitat of Vietnam. It
showed some of the extremes, which was
really good in creating a clearer picture
for us. By showing the villagers, it let us
compare the soldiers' to them and helped
with our interpretation of the war. It is
definitely a good documentary to show to
high school students'.
DVD will be a valuable resource for all who
witness it. It gave us an insight as to how
these people survived at such a horrific
movie gives me a really good understanding
of what was happening in Vietnam during the
Vietnam War. Even though if there's no
talking, just the photos show a lot of who
was there, what they did and how they got
out of it. It's also good because they don’t
just show the Australian soldiers' but the
others who were involved'.
actually get to see what Vietnam looked
like. You get to know who people were.
They’re not numbers filmed in black and
white for propaganda. It’s real and because
it’s not in typical documentary style it
captured my attention. I liked it…… and I
think it would be good to show in more
thought that the movie was interesting just
to see what happened back then and how the
Australian soldiers coped with it.'
'Shows real life footage from Vietnam.
Should be viewed by not just students
learning about Vietnam, it should be shown
to all Australian students. This shows how
tough the troops had it and the type of
terrain they endured. But as you watch it
you see the true Aussie spirit, the men are
all smiling and look happy. To them they are
just doing their job.
The DVD would be good for students because
they can see how hard and tough it would
have been for our troops'.
think it's a good movie to show. Real life
shots and gives more of an understanding of
Tony and Mick, for capturing and sharing
with us a part of your lives, so not to be
forgotten, but recalled and remembered by
those who have the privilege of watching
"I am currently investigating what I can do
to have The Docs Movie promoted to schools
that teach Australian History.
God Bless and Keep You
Ellenbrook Christian College.”
to say, Tony White and the production team of Tony Henry
and Mick Henrys are extremely happy to witness this
development. We would very much like to know who the
gentleman in the video shop in Midvale was. I feel
certain that he will be one of “our own”. Can anyone
help or step forward and take credit?
We will be working with Jannina and hope to be able to
report more on the extended use of the "The Doc’s Movie"
as a tool in educating young Australians.
White wanted to make the following comment himself:-
had many compliments on the movie from veterans and
their families and these are, of course, gratifying.
However I found the comments of these young Australians
and their teacher, from outside the veteran community,
profoundly moving. For most of them and possibly even
their teacher, the Vietnam War is as remote as the Boer
I am proud that movie footage I shot over forty years
ago should evoke such warm and positive responses
towards the Battalion that we all hold so dear.
anyone would like to order copies of the movie we have
included an order form.
Thank you for your support.
details about the DVD
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