The improbable true story behind “The Greatest Beer Run Ever”

“I had 50 years of telling tales about this, and 99 p.c of the individuals did not consider me,” mentioned “Chickie” Donohue. His tall story of “The Best Beer Run Ever” actually did occur, and is now a movement image directed by Academy Award-winner Peter Farrelly.

“A man who introduced beer to his mates in Vietnam? I simply instantly thought that is a film,” mentioned Farrelly.

CBS Information nationwide safety correspondent David Martin requested, “What was it about that story that linked with you?”

“It was the sheer, you recognize, hubris, the stupidity to even try it,” Farrelly replied. “However then, to really undergo, to drag it off? I really like that man!”

And what precisely did Donohue pull off? In 1967 the service provider seaman, who spent approach an excessive amount of time at his native bar in New York Metropolis, was impressed by Colonel Lynch, a former G.I. (and never a colonel) who tended bar. Lynch hated seeing protests in opposition to the Vietnam Conflict, whereas boys from the neighborhood had been combating and dying over there.

Within the film Lynch (performed by Invoice Murray), mentioned, “I would prefer to go over to Vietnam and observe down all of the boys within the neighborhood, and simply give them a beer.”

Donohue (performed by Zac Efron) pipes up, “I can try this.”

So, Donohue signed on to an ammo ship certain for Vietnam, and got down to discover six guys (which grew to become 4, when one was killed and one other despatched residence with malaria).

Martin requested, “Did it happen to you that this may be fairly arduous to seek out 4 guys?”

“I assumed it could be unimaginable,” mentioned Donohue, “however I needed to strive, and if I failed, I failed.”

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Left: In 1967 “Chickie” Donohue sailed to Vietnam to ship beers to guys from the outdated neighborhood. Proper: Donohue as portrayed by Zac Efron in “The Best Beer Run Ever.”

Rick Duggan/Apple TV+


In line with Donohue, Efron nailed him. Martin requested the actor, “What do you suppose you nailed about Chickie?”

“I feel I understood part of why he did it,” Efron replied. “It comes from a pure place within him.”

Extremely, Donohue had barely stepped off his ammo ship when he discovered Tommy Collins. “I mentioned, ‘What the hell are you doing right here?'” Collins recalled. “He says, ‘I got here to deliver you a beer.’ 500,000 troopers and Marines in nation at the moment, and he finds 4 of us. Wonderful!”

“What are the percentages?” requested Martin

“Million to at least one,” mentioned Bobby Pappas, one other of the 4.

“As loopy as this concept was, it simply appears to have been blessed with good luck,” mentioned Martin.

“I do not consider in coincidences anymore,” Donohue mentioned. “Any individual needed it to occur.”

Protruding like a sore thumb in his Madras shirt and denims, Donohue obtained round Vietnam by speaking his approach aboard army flights. When requested Who the hell are you?, he’d whisper, Main, if I informed you the reality, you would not consider me.

“And it labored!” Donohue exclaimed. “It labored!”

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“Chickie” Donohue. 

CBS Information


Should you do not consider him, ask Rick Duggan, who took an image proving Donohue was there. Duggan and his platoon had been manning an ambush website close to the border with North Vietnam: “He discovered me, which is a miracle in itself. We had been by no means in the identical place for greater than two or three days at a time.”

The second when Donohue discovered Duggan was a turning level for Farrelly in his route of the film. “It is gentle at first since you suppose, how foolish is that this?” he mentioned. “However the actuality of it’s not foolish.”

Like the remainder of America, Donohue came upon it was simpler to get into Vietnam than get out. However his unimaginable luck held. He was strolling down a jungle street, and who ought to drive up? Kevin McLoone.

“This is sort of a free fireplace zone,” McLoone recalled. “And I pulled up subsequent to him and mentioned, ‘The place the hell are you going?’ I mentioned, ‘Get in. Get in. Chick, Holy Jesus, Mary and Joseph!'”

WEB EXTRA: Zac Efron on acting with a giant centipede (Video)


Zac Efron on acting with a giant centipede

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When the 1968 Tet Offensive hit, Donohue nonetheless had another title on his listing: Bobby Pappas, based mostly at an enormous ammunition dump attacked by the Vietcong. “They blew up $8 million value of ammunition in eight seconds; $1 million a second,” Pappas mentioned.

It was a impolite awakening. The Vietnam Conflict was nowhere close to gained, and Pappas began taking it out on Donohue. “I begin giving him the enterprise: Oh, yeah, the struggle is over. The struggle is over. Check out this place. It simply regarded like a horror present.”

Donohue mentioned, “When he was yelling at me, I am smiling. I had a giant grin, ‘trigger I assumed he was lifeless. And right here he was cursing me! Nothing incorrect with this man!”

Pappas’ character has the most effective line within the film: “You bought a superb coronary heart, however it’s your mind I am anxious about; it’ll get you killed.”

Martin requested, “Did you actually say that?”

“Sure. I used to be scared for him, you recognize? I did not understand how he was going to get residence, the place he was going to go.”

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“Chickie” Donohue (heart) with the 4 mates he present in Vietnam and handled to beers: Tommy Collins, Bobby Pappas, Rick Duggan and Kevin McLoone.

CBS Information


You realize by now Chickie did get residence. Martin requested him, “What impact did this lengthy, unusual journey have on you?”

“I used to be a staunch supporter of the struggle,” he replied. “However after I obtained there, I noticed issues that simply weren’t proper, and it was simply false, completely false.”

“Honest to say you got here residence with a unique view of the struggle?”

“Yeah: the reality.”

“So, which is extra inconceivable? Your journey? Or the truth that in any case these years a film will get made out of it?”

“The film,” Donohue replied. “That is extra inconceivable.”

“This film goes to be how most individuals bear in mind you; you good with that?”

“Oh yeah!” he mentioned. “I did the correct factor. I used to be letting these youngsters die with out me serving to them, and that is what I needed to do.”

To observe a trailer for “The Best Beer Run Ever” click on on the video participant beneath:


The Greatest Beer Run Ever — Official Trailer | Apple TV+ by
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Story produced by Mary Walsh. Editor: Karen Brenner. 



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