The film is centered around US involvement in the Vietnam War, in particular, the period between 1965-66 when the historical basis for Robin William’s character: Adrian Cronauer, actually served in Vietnam for the Armed Forces Radio (AFR). I will provide a bit more context for the Vietnam War as a whole alongside more context for Cronauer.


The actual war dragged on for much longer with increasing intensity and bloodshed spanning from 1954 to 1975, though conflict built up long before with Vietnamese communists in northern Vietnam rebelling against their French colonists in 1946.[1] The United States entered the stage with supply aid to France beginning in the 1940s and actual soldiers beginning in the late 1950s. By the time the film takes place in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson had officially declared war on August 7, 1964, and began to increase US intervention in the region including increased military forces and airstrikes.[2] This was one of the first wars following the expansion of television and media coverage in war zones, resulting in a great deal of footage, photos, and media in general around the war. This had an intense impact on public opinion, particularly as the US government and military efforts to filter the content of the war that was sent home to the American people began to falter. The Vietnam War was significantly censored by the military, particularly with regard to information about how the war was going, and this was one of the major criticisms of the US government during the war alongside the anti-war protests at home.

The majority of the fighting from the Vietcong consisted of guerilla warfare and these forces included people of all ages including children, as seen in the picture below.

Sochurek, Howard, “Young Guerrillas…,” (Photograph), 1954. “Who Is the Enemy Here”. Time Magazine, 2017.


            Adrian Cronauer was a disc-jockey or “DJ” for the Armed Forces Radio in Saigon, Vietnam from 1965-66 hosting the morning show Dawn Buster. He continued to work in broadcasting after the war and had worked in other broadcasting positions prior to Vietnam, but moved into work with the US Government in the POW/MIA Office, and with the profits from this film was able to attend law school and earn a law degree.[3]

“Picture of Adrian Cronauer.” Digital Image. BBC News. July 20, 2018. Accessed November 8th, 2020.

[1] CNN Editorial Research, “Vietnam War Fast Facts,” CNN, accessed November 11, 2020,

[2] CNN Editorial Research, “Vietnam War Fast Facts.”

[3] “Remembering Adrian Cronauer, The DJ Who Inspired ‘Good Morning Vietnam,” Fresh Air (NPR, July 23, 2018).