The Wall (1997)

TV Movie
Drama, Ethnic, History, War • 1997
A trilogy of fictional stories based on objects left at the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Washington, D.C. Includes The Pencil Holder, The Badge, and The Player.


TV Movie


Drama, Ethnic, History, War

Original Air Date





  • Edward James Olmos
  • Richard Chevolleau
  • Dean McDermott
  • Clive Cholerton
  • Billy Parrot
  • D. Garnet Harding
  • Jack Nguyễn
In THE PENCILHOLDER at a base camp in Vietnam, 10-year-old Ben Holst (Trevor Blumas), son of widower Army Colonel Holst (Edward James Olmos), tries to gain his father’s affection any way he can. When Ben makes a wooden pencilholder and offers it as a gift, his father sees only the flaws—the cracks in the varnish. Colonel Holst is given new perspective into his relationship with Ben, when they end up at the bedside of a dying soldier. The delirious soldier mistakes Ben for his own son, and Ben, playing along, gives the soldier the pencilholder belittled by his father. The message is not lost on Colonel Holst, and years later, father and son leave the object as a memorial to the dying man who brought them together. THE BADGE is the story of Bracey Mitchell (Savion Glover), who firmly believes it is his patriotic duty to go to war to defend his country. His grandmother (Ruby Dee) presents him with a silver badge, which previous generations of Mitchell men have worn to war as their talisman for a safe return. The charm, actually an old deputy sheriff’s badge found by 10-year-old Billy Mitchell in the 1930s, has been passed from father to son in this African-American family. It seemed to bring good luck to Billy in World War II, but disgrace to his son, Larry, in the Korean conflict. The badge fails to save grandson Bracey in Vietnam, as he is killed moments after showing the “good luck” piece to a buddy. The badge eventually makes its way back to the Mitchell family. In THE PLAYER , a cynical soldier named Bishop (Frank Whaley) will do almost anything to make a buck on the side, including arranging transfers to safer duty for front line troops. When he encounters Luis (Michael DeLorenzo), a guitar playing wonder — “Hendrix and Clapton rolled into one” — Bishop offers to transfer Luis out of his combat unit so Luis can play guitar at the officers’ club that Bishop manages. But on his third tour of duty, Luis puts his men before his music and refuses the transfer. Reflecting on the guitar Luis leaves behind, Bishop learns that some people can’t be bought.