Sticks and Bones (1973)


A young man returns home from Vietnam blind. He is very bitter about the war and alienates his family and friends. This movie deals with the aftermath of war and how people react to it both veterans and their families.

Director: Robert Downey Sr (as Robert Downey).
Writers: Robert Downey Sr. (as Robert Downey), David Rabe (play).
Stars: Tom Aldredge, Cliff DeYoung, Anne Jackson, Brad Sullivan.



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  1. Jonathan Shapiro
    December 25, 2020

    Even the Museum of Television and Radio doesn’t have this. Astonishing that American network television would even conceive of airing something this daring

  2. Mark Deming
    January 12, 2021

    Thank you so much for posting this. I saw part of this the first and only time it aired in 1973, and bits of it have been burned into my memory ever since. It’s not hard to see why it was controversial at the time, but it’s also a powerful, fearless statement about the Vietnam war and how it impacted this nation, not just those who fought but those who struggled to understand its consequences.

  3. Michelle
    March 21, 2021

    This is exactly as messed up as I remembered it being. THANK YOU for posting! I’ve been waiting over nearly 50 years to see this again!

  4. Mickey Birnbaum
    July 10, 2021

    Wow wow wow. I remember seeing this on TV when I was thirteen years old–in its only screening–and it changed my understanding of how art operates and of the Vietnam war, and what was possible on TV.. It blew me away. I never forgot it, and it was an inspiration for me to become a playwright and a screenwriter. Thank you so much for finding and resurrecting it. I’m excited to revisit it. The weirdest thing, though, is that I never knew Robert Downey directed it! Inspired choice for the material!

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