This picture was taken by my father, Philip Jones Griffiths, in Vietnam in 1968 during the battle for Saigon. This is not a normal “war” photograph. It is not often you see “enemies” cradling each other. However, the American GIs often showed compassion toward the Viet Cong. This sprang from a soldierly admiration for their dedication and bravery — qualities difficult to discern in the average government soldier.
This particular Viet Cong had fought for three days with his intestines in a cooking bowl strapped onto his stomach. Francis Ford Coppola was so inspired by this image that he included a scene in his 1979 film Apocalypse Now with the famous line, “Any man brave enough to fight with his guts strapped on him can drink from my canteen any day.”