Synopsis by Hal Erickson
My Father, My Son was based on the wrenching autobiographical book by Admiral Elmo Zumwalt. This TV movie begins in 1968, when Secretary of the Navy Zumwalt orders the anti-personnel drug Agent Orange to be sprayed on enemy troops in Vietnam; the Admiral has been assured by his superiors that the drug is essentially harmless. Meanwhile, Zumwalt's son Elmo III (Keith Carradine), having survived numerous debilitating childhood diseases, is serving in Nam. Fifteen years pass: Elmo III has contacted cancer, and Admiral Zumwalt must come to grips with the likelihood that his son's illness was caused by Agent Orange. Though the film does not shy away from politicizing, the focal point of My Father, My Son is the ever-strengthening relationship between Admiral Zumwalt and his stricken son (who died shortly after this film was first telecast in May of 1988).
Admiral, Agent-Orange, cancer, father, military, son, war