Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
The best film ever made about Vietnam, period. This absorbing, fascinating and heartbreaking documentary chronicles the American political climate from the Communist witch hunt McCarthy/Hoover era, when American awareness of the Vietnam situation first hit widespread public consciousness, through to the fighting on the battlefields and the effects felt back home when U.S. involvement became extremely unpopular among the citizens of the country. Multiple viewpoints, various sources and different methods of storytelling are employed to give an affecting portrait of the horrors of war, and, in particular, the effect that this one had on the people of Vietnam. Director Peter Davis uses battlefield footage, fascinating interviews and stock clips to illustrate a portrait of a nation gone power mad, a revealing and devastating film that was hotly controversial in its day (even defamed by Frank Sinatra at the Oscars the night it took its Documentary Feature prize home) and continues to raise eyebrows. Powerful and totally unforgettable.
The Criterion Collection: #156
Academy Award: Best Documentary Feature
Golden Globe Award Nomination: Best Documentary Film