Vietnam: The Secret Agent

The definitive exposé of the consequences of America's wartime use of Agent Orange in Vietnam
Year Released
Film Length(s)
56 mins
Remote video URL


Using striking archive and war footage in support of interviews with veterans, scientists, attorneys, the U.S. Air Force, the Veterans Administration, Dow Chemical and more; this film documents the extraordinary history of chemical warfare, agricultural herbicides, damage to the world environment, and the plight of Vietnam veterans and their families as they struggle for treatment of exposure to Agent Orange and dioxin.

Featured review

This powerful documentary uncovers the moral, legal, and public health implications of the largest episode of chemical warfare in the history of armed conflict. In only one hour, Viet Nam:The Secret Agent delivers the authoritative account of the history and troubling legacy of Agent Orange. Like the herbicide itself, this work raises more questions than it answers, which is precisely the point.
David Zierler
Ph.D., Office of the Historian, U.S. Department of State


As soldiers return from new wars plagued by illness, disability and post-traumatic stress, as citizens question leaders’ decisions, as fresh environmental catastrophes evoke debate about accountability; it is critical to illuminate struggles and lessons from the past. Every issue raised in this film resonates in today’s classroom.

The many DVD extras include witnesses to the environmental effects in Vietnam, legal and veterans' perspectives today, artists' responses to the legacy of Agent Orange and more.


For over a decade, I have taught the Agent Orange story as a case study to a generation of students unaware of the public health and environmental damages of this tragic episode in our shared history. Vietnam: The Secret Agent is a powerful work that needs to be seen by all.
Greg Möller
Ph.D. Professor of Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology, University of Idaho
This is one of the most incisive and damning documentaries ever made about corporate abuse in this country. It traces the history of chemical warfare by the military and also the widespread, long-term use of agricultural herbicides. The use of Agent Orange as a defoliant in Vietnam is extraordinarily well researched, as are the disastrous consequences of its use on American servicemen. Jacki Ochs directed, and her approach is methodical and scrupulously fair - our outrage at the abuses she shows us is eminently justified.
Peter Rainer
Los Angeles Herald

Awards and Screenings

Special Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival, 1984
Premiere, New York Film Festival, 1983
John Grierson Award and Blue Ribbon Award, American Film Festival, 1984
Best Independent Film, New England Film Festival, 1984
Best In Time, Hemisfilm Festival, 1984
Cinema Du Reel, Paris, 1984
Mannheim Film Festival, 1984
Sydney and Melbourne Film Festivals, 1984

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • DVD Extras
  • Resources for Educators

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

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