Ride the Thunder: A Vietnam War Story of Honor and Triumph by Richard Botkin was published in July 2009. The book “recounts the exploits of the U.S. Marines and their Vietnamese allies largely responsible for thwarting the Communist invasion of South Vietnam-known as the Easter Offensive of 1972.” Now, several years later, Botkin is ready to share that story he told in the book on the big screen with America.
Semper Fi – always faithful – is the Marine’s way of life and Botkin wants to help restore the honor due to our veterans who maligned and scorned and spit upon as they returned to the United States. According to the movie’s website, “Rich Botkin’s dream, to take back the much-maligned history of the Vietnam War, and to restore the rightful honor due those Americans and South Vietnamese who served there, has been years in the making.”
Botkin, who served in the US Marines actively from 1980 to 1983 and for twelve years in the reserves, spent five years writing the book and making several trips back and forth from Vietnam, along with countless hours of interviews of American and South Vietnamese Marines. Now, that book will come to life in film.
According to Tami Jackson:
The movie, which is approximately 60% re-enactment and 40% interviews, has been 4 years in the works.
Botkin partnered with Fred Koster (screen writer and director), of Koster Films, and through private funding they have brought the essence of the book to the big screen.
But unlike so many film productions, Ride the Thunder has 2-fold high purpose: 1) to change the mis-remembrance of the Vietnam War; and 2) to give those U.S. and South Vietnamese Veterans, who valiantly fought against the Communists, a better place in history.
There are also 4 key charities that Ride the Thunder will support through any profits: the Semper Fi Fund, Agape International Missions, Field of Dreams and Allegiant Giving.
Eric St. John, an American actor and a skilled martial artist, play the lead role of John Ripley, a character based on real life war hero Col. John Ripley.