Guts and Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver North (1989)




Director:     Mike Robe.

Starring:     David Keith (Lt. Col. Oliver North), Barnard Hughes (CIA Director William Casey),  Annette O'Toole (Betsy),  Amy Stock-Poynton (Fawn Hall), Peter Boyle (Adm. John Poindexter), Paul Dooley (Robert McFarlane), Jim Fitzpatrick (Sargeant Major Collins), Bryan Clark (President Ronald Reagan).

made-for-TV movie


The movie follows the career of Oliver North from his education at the US Naval Academy, to his time in Vietnam, and then to his post on the National Security Council. From here he gets in trouble by getting involved with the Iran-Contra affair.  Reagan said he would never sells arms for hostages  in reference to getting back the US hostages in Iran.  And Congress limited his helping the contra forces against the communist influenced Nicaraguan government.  But Reagan's men secretly did both activities selling arms to the Iranians and using the funds to help the contras (in spite of what he had said and the law of the land).  In the congressional hearings North came off as a real smart-ass who totally believed in his right to break the law because it was in the "best" interests of the country.  

The film was shown on April 30 and May 2, 1989, but the investigations of Iran-Contra were still going on at the time.  The audience is left to draw its own conclusions.  But we can tell you now.  Reagan and his staff decided to break the law and sell arms for hostages and Oliver North was a part of this whole scheme. The thing that saved Reagan was that the country was so conservative at the time and there were no direct documents saying that Reagan gave a direct, written order for the scheme to be put into action.  

Because the United States is so divided between right and left, the right wing declared Ollie North a hero and he was rewarded with various conservative media jobs.

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.


Historical Background:


See Carla's Song (1997).





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