Famous Images from Fall of Saigon

This page is to look at some of the most powerful images that came out of the fall of Saigon. These images were captured by real people in the field and they also have a story for themselves not just the image. They risked their life in order to get photos out to the public and to for them to have a greater impact on society. These images are famous as they really define the struggle and how quickly the United States had to move in order to evcaute Saigon and get out all the United States Citizens based in Saigon but also trying to evacuate as many Vietnamese as possible along with themselves. The famous image of the Helicotper on the rooftop immeadditley strikes you when you think of the Fall of Saigon. So this page looks at these famous images and also a little bit of information behind those that took them as it wasn't just American and Vietnamese photograhpers out there there were Europeans, Asians as well who were behind some of these images. 

Helicopter on rooftop Saigon

Evacuation on Rooftop

Hugh Van Es was a Dutch photograhper who covered the Vietnam War and argubaly took one of the most famous images from the Fall of Saigon and one of the most famous images in terms of the Vietnam war. 

He arrived in Hong Kong as a freelancer in 1967, joined the South China Morning Post as chief photographer, and got a chance the following year to go to Vietnam as a soundman for NBC News, which he took. After a brief stint, he joined The Associated Press photo staff in Saigon from 1969-72 and then covered the last three years of the war from 1972-75 for United Press International.

And his shot of the helicopter escape from a Saigon rooftop on April 29, 1975 became a stunning metaphor for the desperate U.S. withdrawal and its overall policy failure in Vietnam.

Van Es recalls seeing the Helicopter on the rooftop and aiming his camera and taking the photo in 10 frames hoping to capture the moment in which he did. 

Saigon famous rooftop years later

Same rooftop years later in Saigon

Van Es returned to Saigon in 1990 to relive and look at the place he had shot the famous image. 

The building in which the image was shot still stands today however it is surrounded by big apartment blocks and shopping malls.

Van Es commented when he returned saying "It hasn't changed much since I was last  here; but our photos changed the views of those who were lucky enough not to witness the terrible war"

Saigon Liberation by the PRG and North Vietnamese troops

Celebration of the Liberation of Saigon

Soldiers of PRG and North Vietnamese troops are shown attending the rally staged in front of the Du Doc Lap (former presidential place) in Saigon on May 7th to celebrate the liberation of Saigon. During the rally, General Tran Van Tra, chairman of the Military Management Committee of PRG, was presented to South Vietnamese people. 

The photograhper for this image was difficult to find but I presume it would be a North Vietnamese photographer at this rally. I think it was important to include a photo from the North's side and in an aftermath of the Fall of Saigon.