The Top 5 Movies & Documentaries You Need to Watch Before Teaching English in Vietnam

on March 8, 2019

Arguably one of our most popular programs, teach English in Vietnam is becoming a very attractive option for a lot of people. It offers an awesome opportunity to work in a country with one of the fastest growing economies in the world and a healthy balance between good pay, comfortable accommodations and an incredibly immersive cultural experience.

Below we’ve listed five movies and documentaries that will give you an intro to Vietnam and its fascinating history and culture. 

Interested in Teaching English in Vietnam? We’ll send you more info!


The Vietnam War

IMDb: 9.1/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%

The first on our list is this epic 18-hour documentary series from acclaimed filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, now available on Netflix. It offers perhaps the definitive examination of the controversial war that claimed so many lives and, arguably, achieved so little.

The Vietnam War was so well documented that the entire thing is comprised of archival footage and talking heads, soundtracked by an impressive playlist of classic rock from that time. It’s totally captivating, and you might forget you’re watching an entire day worth of history lessons.

Check out where you could be placed while teaching English in Vietnam: Where will I be placed while teaching English in Vietnam

Full Metal Jacket

IMDb: 8.3/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%

Coming in second is Full Metal Jacket – based on the novel The Short Timers by Gustav Hasford, Stanley Kubrick writes and directs this multi-award winning classic on the Vietnam war. It follows the story of a group of new US army recruits through their marine boot camp and ultimately their climactic involvement in the heavy fighting in Hue during the 1968 Tet offensive. (Officially called The General Offensive and Uprising of Tet Mau Than 1968 by North Vietnam and the Viet Cong)

Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown: Vietnam

IMDb: 8.7/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

In episode 4 of season 4, the late great Anthony Bourdain visits Hue in Vietnam.  He describes Vietnam as being one of his favorite places in the world and you can see that through the screen with his energy and genuine joy of being there. Shows like this are important for the progression of countries like Vietnam, with its recent history, it’s very easy to look at the country as the place that the Vietnam war took place, but it’s so much more than that. You’d be selling yourself short if you only looked at it through that lens.

Other Episodes to watch on Vietnam: “Parts Unknown”: Hanoi ( Featuring Barack Obama), Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations – Vietnam.

Three Seasons

IMDb: 7.2/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 78%

Fourth on our list is Three Seasons, the first American movie filmed entirely in Vietnam, post-war. It focuses on the westernization of Ho Chi Minh City and the rise of capitalism in modern Vietnam. The movie does well to show how Vietnamese society is affected by the influx of tourism, skyscrapers, international advertisement as well as 5-star resorts.

Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam

IMDb: 8.1/10

Luke Nguyen is a Vietnamese Australian chef and the owner of the very famous Vietnamese restaurant in Australia called Red Lantern. Fifth and final on our list is Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam which sees him return to the country of his heritage to take a culinary journey through all the regions. Each episode is based in a different region of Vietnam, therefore showcasing each place’s special dish.

This series is a great watch, you not only get to familiarize yourself with local cuisine, but you also get to see authentic Vietnam in all its chaotic beauty.

Interested in Teaching English in Vietnam? We’ll send you more info!




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About Ntobeko Ntombela

Ntobeko is TravelBud's marketing intern and is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) in Digital Marketing. Read more about him and other TravelBud authors.

He handles TravelBud's social media, blog writing and general content creation. Check out the inspiring stories he's created on the TravelBud Instagram page, featuring TravelBud alumni and their incredible experiences teaching and volunteering abroad.

He's done a fair bit of travel in his life, having explored Thailand, the UK, Italy, France and Germany.

His favorite place so far? That would be Rome, Italy but coming in a close second, thanks to a few memorable nights out, would be Phuket, Thailand.

Filed under  Vietnam 


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