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About the Project

Death Rattler is a feature documentary film about a son’s search to reclaim his father’s legacy as a war hero in Vietnam.

Captain Jim “Rabbit” Hare flew 307 missions with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 323, the Death Rattlers. He won the Distinguished Flying Cross before being shot down over Danang Harbor in 1967. Jim died in 1998 after a long battle with Agent Orange-related prostate cancer. Today his ashes sit in his mother-in-law’s basement in a cardboard box.

Brian O’Hare graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and served as a Marine in the first Persian Gulf War. He left the Marines as a Captain, going on to become a filmmaker and writer in Los Angeles.

The film is being shot in the U.S. and Vietnam, where Brian interviews his father’s surviving comrades and fighters on both sides of the line. The story unfolds through a treasure trove of personal archival material, including Jim’s powerful audiotape letters home and super-8 footage shot in Vietnam.

Brian explores what it means to be a warrior in America and probes the fabled mystique of the Marine Corps. The film is a fearless and honest confrontation of the impacts of war, a study of estrangement and reconciliation, and a requiem to those who fought and died.

Death Rattler is being created by a distinguished team of filmmakers, including two former Marines, whose work has won the nation’s top honors for documentary filmmaking and screened in festivals around the world.

Director’s Statement