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The War at Home
The War at Home
Actors: Betty Boardman, Allen Ginsberg, Henry Haslach, Gaylord Nelson, Wahid Rashad
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Educational, Documentary, African American Cinema, Military & War
NR     2003     1hr 40min

Nominated for an Academy Award and cited by film critic Roger Ebert as one of the twenty greatest political films of all time, THE WAR AT HOME vividly chronicles the anti-war protest movement of the 1960's and 70's. The fi...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Betty Boardman, Allen Ginsberg, Henry Haslach, Gaylord Nelson, Wahid Rashad
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Educational, Documentary, African American Cinema, Military & War
Sub-Genres: King, B.B., Educational, History, Vietnam War, African American Cinema, Military & War
Studio: First Run Features
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 12/16/2003
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

And the Beat Goes On
Earl Wajdyk | Seattle WA | 03/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I was a graduate student at the UW/Madison during the period that this film covers. It shows the history and development of the anti-war movement with a great deal of accuracy. (Not perfectly accurate, but very close.)

Nothing could adequately portray the frustration, anger and betrayal felt by many students and faculty as the war dragged on, no matter what they did, and no matter how many died in Viet-Nam. This was also the period of the spread of the war to Cambodia, the assassination of Martin Luther King, the Chicago Democratic Convention Police Riots, and the Kent State killintgs. Considering all of this, the film does an excellent job of not becoming bogged down in emotion, yet letting the viewer know that it is there.

The tragic bombing of the Army Math Research Center by 4 angry but naive students put a terrible pall on peace activites in Madison, as everyone was horrified by the death of a graduate student who was in the building. However, it did not end the movement, and eventually peace was achieved.

An extremely timely film today (review updated 12/28/06), when many of the same people (and many others as well) have felt it necessary after more than 30 years to return to the streets and their communities to protest another war.

I have found this film very moving personally, but have also found it very useful as a teacher, to give my students a feeling for what that time was like, what some of the issues were, and how people felt, acted, and re-acted. Not to mention any parallels with today,"
Same As It Ever Was
Carl Hoffman | Cleveland Heights,, OH United States | 09/14/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"THE WAR AT HOME is a very strong film somewhat marred by its one-sidedness. Almost everybody interviewed participated in the Vietnam antiwar movement, and most of them participated from the time they first arrived in Madison. The film could have strengthened its case by giving more time to backers of American involvement in Vietnam and people who experienced a transition from one side to the other. A few are featured--my favorite is campus police chief Ralph Hansen--but the preponderance come from the protesters.

No matter how it's presented, however, the case would be equally strong. By the time American involvement in VN ceased in 1973, 65-70% of the U.S. population thought the war was a mistake. Over the passage of 30+ years, it's become clear they were right.

I love the documentary footage in THE WAR AT HOME, the carefully-constructed chronology that puts the Madison protests in the context of the US war effort, the sense of administration refusal to engage with a growing antiwar movement, the pointless sacrifice of 58,000 young Americans, (not to mention who-knows-how-many million Vietnamese), the divisions among Americans (which were sometimes cynically exploited by LBJ and Nixon, although the film doesn't go into much detail about that), the fiasco of the Army Math bombing.

Parallels with the current mess in Iraq are obvious, notably the arrogance of the U.S. administration in going in in the first place, the lying to convince the nation of the danger of WMD, the current floundering for a workable policy. The only "upside" so far, thank God, is that the Iraq death toll is nowhere near that of Vietnam--currently 1,000 American dead, 7,000 wounded, 10,000+ Iraqi dead. (Of course, that's no comfort to the dead, wounded, and their families. And all current western analysis suggests that it will only get worse.) Seeing THE WAR AT HOME appalls me at how little the current administration learned from the bloodshed in Southeast Asia and the difficulties in fighting against guerrillas.

Books which cover some of the same ground include Tom Bates' out-of-print RADS, about the New Year's Gang which bombed the AMRC, and David Maraniss' THEY MARCHED INTO SUNLIGHT, which juxtaposes the 1967 Madison Dow Day protests with a terrible battle in Vietnam, both occurring on the same day in October, 1967. An interesting fact: current VP Dick Cheney, one of the prime movers behind Iraq who still hasn't admitted publicly that there are no WMD, was a grad student in Madison in 1967, famously pursuing "other priorities" than the antiwar movement. According to Maraniss, he looked at the protests as a useless distraction and a waste of time. I only wish he had REALLY learned something at the University of Wisconsin.

THE WAR AT HOME is a fine historical film with unhappy resonances in 2004."
The War at Home: History at it's Darkest
Earl Wajdyk | 03/27/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The War at Home is a moving story about America's turbulent mid-decades. It is a documentary of Madison, Wisconsin's infamous ROTC bombing, an event overshadowed by the Kent-State massacre. In 1969, after riots swept Madison, several students from University of Wisconsin Madison set off a bomb in the army's mathematics labratory. They then proceeded to hijack a plane and drop a dud-bomb on the army's Badger ammunition plant in Baraboo, Wisconsin. The War at Home is the moving story of the anti-war riots leading up to the ROTC bombing, and the hunt for the suspects of the bombing. Where were you?"