The Greatest Beer Run Ever ending explained – did Chickie find meaning in life?

September 29, 2022
Eamon Hennedy 0
Apple TV+, Ending Explained, Film, Streaming Service
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This article discusses the ending of the Apple TV+ film The Greatest Beer Run Ever (2022) and will contain spoilers.

The journey at the heart of The Greatest Beer Run Ever sees John ‘Chickie’ Donohue (Zac Efron) take a duffel bag full of beer to Vietnam to personally deliver it to friends who are fighting in the conflict. While the film begins with Dickie very much in favor of the war and somewhat aghast at the American media’s negative coverage, by the time the film comes to its final stretch, the character has had his eyes opened to the realities of the situation and the complexities of the conflict and has very much changed his attitudes in many ways for the film’s poignant conclusion.

The Greatest Beer Run Ever ending explained

Upon returning home from Vietnam and his beer run, Chickie is clearly somewhat haunted by his time there. Returning to the bar where he frequents with his friends and which is owned by The Colonel (Bill Murray), they ask Chickie about his trip, clearly anticipating an account of a fun adventure but are somewhat taken aback by Chickie’s more secluded nature and more contrary tone to The Colonel’s attempts at simplifying any conversation about the conflict.

Somewhat subdued, Chickie visits the mother of his friend Tommy to return a pair of Rosary beads she had handed to him at the start of the film in the hopes of returning them to Tommy, who was missing in action. She tells Chickie she is proud of him for going and supporting his friends and those from the neighborhood, but he tells her he feels guilty about Tommy’s death and about his enlisting, telling her that he had convinced Tommy to go after he had expressed doubts. As he breaks down in front of her, she gently hugs him.

Chickie then returns to the park, which was the site of an anti-war protest at the start of the film, where Chickie had started a fight with protestors. There he runs into his sister, who berates him for making her and his parents worry about him. She asks him did he deliver the beers, and he tells her that he did but that being over there has led him to believe he needs to change things in his life, such as “less drinking and more thinking.” When she asks him if he is really going to quit drinking, he jovially replies that he said “less drinking.” She sits down next to him, and he offers her a can of beer from his duffel bag, and they sit in the park.

The on-screen text describes that the remainder of Chickie’s friends returned from Vietnam, while Chickie himself went on to become a ‘sandhog’ tunnel builder in New York, eventually becoming a legislative and political director. It’s a poignant confirmation that Chickie’s final words in the movie weren’t just an empty proclamation and that his experiences very much led him to try and take his life in a more meaningful direction.

What did you think of the ending of The Greatest Beer Run Ever? Comment below.

You can watch this film with a subscription to Apple TV+.

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