Green Beret Tim Kennedy Speaks on John Wayne’s Portrayal in ‘The Green Berets’

by Craig Garrett

John Wayne’s classic performance in The Green Berets was recently paid tribute to by real-life Green Beret, Tim Kennedy. The 1968 film was one of the first studio films to portray the conflict in Vietnam. In it, Wayne played Green Beret Colonel, Mike Kirby. Kennedy is a retired mixed martial artist, author, and highly decorated Green Beret. He had a lot to say about The Duke on “The John Wayne Gritcast” podcast. John Wayne’s official Instagram account posted a portion of Tim Kennedy’s praise.

In the clip, Kennedy lavishes praise on John Wayne‘s portrayal as a Green Beret. “That movie itself really embodied every characteristic that you want to see in a Green Beret,” Kennedy said. He went on to shed light on what The Green Berets showed that he felt most films did not. “…truly it’s like compassionate husband and fathers. Teammates that are doing everything like the motto, liberators of the repressed.” Kennedy added, “Doing everything to fight for those that can’t fight for themselves.” Tim Kennedy served in the United States Army from 2004 to 2009. He earned a Bronze star before transitioning to the Texas Army National Guard. However, Kennedy reenlisted in the United States Army Special Forces in 2017.

‘The Green Berets’ was divisive, but a success for John Wayne

To this day, The Green Berets is one of John Wayne’s most divisive films. Though often thought of as a box office flop, The Green Berets was actually a success. It reportedly grossed over 21 million dollars, making it one of John Wayne’s biggest earners. The cast and crew of the film had mixed political views about the conflict in Vietnam. Star Trek star George Takei recalled interviewing for a role in the film with Wayne.

“And, so I told him – it took a lot of guts – but I told him that I’m campaigning for peace during the Vietnam War,” Takei told Trib Live. “He squinted at me – and I recognized that squint as well – and he said, ‘Well, I want the best actor for this role and, yes, I know about the opposition to the Vietnam War. I’m supporting the war, but I like your candor and so we’ll select the best actor for the role.’ Takei said. And, you know, I wound up with the role and when I came on the set, I said, ‘I’m really happy to be working with you. Why did you cast me when I’ve been campaigning politically against your interests?’ He said, ‘I said I was going to cast the best actor, and I did.”

The Green Berets can be streamed on Amazon Prime.