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Hearts and Minds (Criterion Collection) back to product details

Good, but not what I'd been hoping for.
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written by emdoub September 19, 2009 - 8:38 PM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
A pretty solid anti-war documentary, which does a passable job of allowing the presentation of the point of view of the war supporters - showing that there are, indeed, many facets to be considered. That war is horrid is a pretty easy idea to present - what we were trying to accomplish in fighting this particularly horrid war, and why we thought these tactics would further that strategy, would have been wonderful.

Disappointing was the complete whitewash of North Vietnam's role in the war - they are presented, universally, as people fighting for freedom and unification, never as people trying to force Communism and 'unification' upon a populace that didn't want it.

Some professional reviews had led me to hope that this documentary delved into the policies and strategy behind the tactics that were so grievously useless, but this is brushed upon so lightly that one should expect nothing, and enjoy the few bits that do turn up.

I'll give it a 6 - plus 2 points for showing different sides of the question in the US, minus 3 points for being so monotone in examination of the politics and goals in Vietnam. It could have been a lot better - but I've seen many worse.

Thought I knew enough...
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written by MbDooley July 8, 2006 - 12:35 AM PDT
3 out of 4 members found this review helpful
I think most Americans think they know enough about what happened and won't watch any of these kind of documentaries. But this and WINTER SOLDIER are edifying and harrowing. It's a bitter pill to swallow to try and learn from history but be condemned to repeat it collectively with and by all the administration bastards.

Powerful Reality Check
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written by rancimo March 18, 2005 - 5:02 PM PST
4 out of 5 members found this review helpful
A powerful documentary. I often look at the news of current affairs and wonder how much propaganda we're surrounded by. How much of what's going on is hidden for different reason. Did we really learn a lesson from the mistakes we've made in the past? A "must see" for everyone so that we don't continue to make the same mistakes over and over again..

heartless and mindless
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written by RRappuhn September 1, 2004 - 1:07 PM PDT
12 out of 13 members found this review helpful
our involvement was.

I did not see this film when it first appeared in theaters. It is so wonderful now that this medium allows access to all sorts of things that we could never see before.

I did not participate in this conflict (nor did I want to), my lottery numbers were always too high. At the time participated in the various protests against the involvement. But quite frankly had no idea then how utterly and completely ghastly, the situation was. Over the last few years have read many books and many articles on the conflict. This film, coming as it does, toward the end of the conflict, but prior to the Saigon fall, is rather like the early work on the Kennedy assassination, a glimpse or two of the moral poverty behind the involvement, but not the full realization of the overall depravity and destruction of a culture and ourselves that we, America brought to it. Just as in the Kennedy case, far worse revelations have come forward since this film.

Of particular note, the Phoenix Program which some of those interviewed relate their experiences with was, it seems to me, entirely a US creation that was more organized torture, imprisonment, and death for many who were 'accused'. The Gestapo and KGB turning the citizens in to rats, served as models. A simple, hideous farce those standing accused, since the Viet Cong had such a thorough infiltration of the Program and were able to send their own enemies to be tortured and killed.


Of note, though not mentioned in the film, is the revelation, through the pentagon papers of Ho Chi Minh's declaration of independence modeled after our own and his requests for help from the US to unify the country and our participation in non-compliance of the stipulated unification process.

A beautiful film, of course, it has a point of view and message, but one that is more even-handed and in no way portrays what we know now of the lies and overall damage done.

Watch Westmoreland spout that life in the Orient is cheap and then watch while the napalm skin stripped children file past and wonder about the conflict of civilizations and to whom life is 'cheap'. Be sure to watch it with commentary too, because here he sets out what he wants to achieve and why he chose to focus on America and not North Vietnam (whose excesses were certainly, individually as horrid and sordid ).

Be reminded of this, our collective loss and sorrow, when you think back to Kurtz's words 'the horror, the horror...' because surely it was and remains so ( the farce of the MIA's as a bargaining hammer to level against normalization )...as is (and will be ) the Iraqian fiasco....

Powerful and telling look into Vietnam
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written by BVandemark March 10, 2003 - 3:31 PM PST
9 out of 11 members found this review helpful
What really impressed me about this film was the shocking diametric politics of press footage from different sources about the same events during the war. On one side you see what one person is saying about specific events and then you get another picture of what really happened. This is definitely an anti-government, anti-war film in its overall effect. The film shows how complex and devastating the war was in Vietnam and at home. It also shows how the government lied to the American people over and over and over again through different administrations. A must see in the context of the current political climate and events in the Middle East.

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(Average 8.24)
196 Votes
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