Faith of My Fathers (film)

Faith of My Fathers is a 2005 American television film, directed by Peter Markle. Based on the 1999 memoir of the same name by United States Senator and former United States Navy aviator John McCain (with Mark Salter), it aired on A&E Network on Memorial Day, May 30, 2005.[1]

Filmed in Louisiana,[1] Faith of My Fathers is based on the story of Lieutenant Commander John McCain's experiences as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for five and a half years during the Vietnam War,[2] interleaved with his memories of growing up in a heritage rich with military service. Shawn Hatosy is cast as John McCain, with Scott Glenn as his father, Admiral Jack McCain. Of the North Vietnamese captors, Chi Moui Lo played the keyman "Prick" and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa played prison commander "Cat".

Faith of My Fathers
DVD cover art
Written by Peter Markle
William Bingham
Directed by Peter Markle
Starring Shawn Hatosy
Scott Glenn
Erin Cottrell
Theme music composer Velton Ray Bunch
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Alan Barnette
Editor(s) Scott Boyd
Running time 90 minutes
Original network A&E Network
Original release May 30, 2005


John McCain flies his jet from a carrier on a bombing mission over Hanoi, North Vietnam. As a warning buzzer announces incoming missiles, McCain stays with the bomb drop, but is hit by a missile. He lands in the water and is pulled ashore by an angry mob, and taken prisoner. Asked to give information, he gives out the names of a sports team rather than of his squadron. In flashbacks, his father tells of how his submarine escaped destruction in World War II, and told him not to worry about his grades, as his father and grandfather "really fooled them" by rising to admiral despite doing poorly in school. In prison, McCain sees other prisoners cruelly tortured, while he sees a couple who appear to have decided to cooperate with the enemy. McCain is given a choice to be released early in recognition that his father is commander of US forces in the Pacific, but he refuses, and suffers for it. During a stepped-up bombing campaign, the prisoners sing "Silent Night", after which negotiations result in a release of prisoners and a trip home.


When initially aired, the movie had 3.7 million viewers, and was A&E's highest-rated program in over a year.[3]

Reviews for Faith of My Fathers were mixed, with Variety calling the treatment an "earnest [and] stark, by-the-numbers account of the horrors POWs endured in Vietnam", while The Washington Post said the film was "serviceable" but fell short of McCain's "much more nuanced" memoir.[4] The New York Times said the film lacked complexity and texture, but that it was "a respectful, moving view of a veteran's effort to pay respects to his family and fellow P.O.W.'s."[5]

The film was nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards, in categories involving art direction, cinematography, and editing, but did not win any of them.[6] It was also a nominee for the American Society of Cinematographers Awards of 2005.[7] It was released to DVD by Sony Pictures Television[2] on August 30, 2005.[8]

A DVD of the film was commercially released in June 2008 by Sony Pictures Entertainment, and was also used as a contribution reward by McCain's 2008 presidential campaign.[3]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Recently Reviewed: Faith of My Fathers". Variety. May 30, 2005. Retrieved on November 17, 2006.
  2. ^ a b "Shawn Hatosy And Scott Glenn To Star In ..." (Press release). A&E Network. March 14, 2005. Archived from the original on October 14, 2006. Retrieved April 16, 2008.
  3. ^ a b Jeffrey Ressner and Kenneth Vogel (July 3, 2008). "McCain's TV biopic, reconsidered". The Politico. Retrieved January 30, 2009.
  4. ^ Marcia Davis (May 30, 2005). "'Faith of My Fathers': In Principle, a Noble Effort". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 16, 2008.
  5. ^ Alessandra Stanley (May 30, 2005). "Like Father, Like Son, Like Patriots". The New York Times. Retrieved April 16, 2008.
  6. ^ "Complete list of 2005 primetime Emmy winners". Associated Press for The Chicago Tribune. September 18, 2005. Retrieved April 16, 2008.
  7. ^ "Film Awards". SeismicFX. Retrieved April 16, 2008.
  8. ^ "Faith of My Fathers". Retrieved April 15, 2008.

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