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The War Tapes
The War Tapes
Actors: Zack Bazzi, Duncan Domey, Ben Flanders, Mike Moriarty, Steve Pink
Director: Deborah Scranton
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Documentary, Military & War
NR     2007     1hr 37min

Directed by Deborah Scranton, and produced by Robert May (The Fog of War) and Steve James (Hoop Dreams), THE WAR TAPES is Operation Iraqi Freedom as filmed by Sergeant Steve Pink, Sergeant Zack Bazzi, and Specialist Mark M...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Zack Bazzi, Duncan Domey, Ben Flanders, Mike Moriarty, Steve Pink
Director: Deborah Scranton
Creators: P.H. O'Brien, Peter Ciardelli, Leslie Simmer, Steve James, Adam Singer, Chuck Lacy, Dal LaMagna, Lauren Timmons, Robert May
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Documentary, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Dance, Educational, Iraq War, History, Military & War, Military & War
Studio: Docurama
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 05/15/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/2007
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 37min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: Arabic, English

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Movie Reviews

The soldier's perspective of the Iraq war
Kyle Tolle | Phoenix, Arizona USA | 05/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"`The War Tapes' is a unique documentary recorded by 3 soldiers in the New Hampshire Army National Guard during their one year deployment in Iraq. Using cameras mounted on vehicle turrets, dashboards, and helmets along with utilizing night vision devices and thermal imagers, this compilation is assembled from over 800 hours of footage. Sergeants Steve Pink and Zack Brazzi, along with Specialist Michael Moriarty are the central characters that carry the cameras and capture the images.

Almost from the first day on the ground in country, powerful and unsettling footage is shown from mortar attacks, ambushes, firefights, explosions, and injuries sustained from soldiers and civilians alike in Iraq. The video is graphic and intense and it leaves a serious impression about what soldiers have to endure in Iraq. You can get a sense of the underlying tension and anxiety experienced by these soldiers as they narrate what they've seen and felt. Also shown are their attitudes and thoughts regarding why America is in Iraq and the consequences of the war.

In-between segments of the documentary, footage is shown with Michael Moriarty's wife, Zack Bazzi's mother, and Steve Pink's girlfriend. They all put on a brave face but you can sense the emotional turmoil of having loved ones so far away in such a dangerous environment. The families at home also share their mixed feelings about the American involvement in Iraq and the difficulties of being on their own. Upon re-deploying back to the United States, there are physical and emotional changes evident in the returning soldiers and it is significant in how this affects a person's lifestyle and relationships.

`The War Tapes' is a well produced documentary, in my opinion, and delivers a thought provoking, important, and sometimes disturbing look at many aspects dealing with the war in Iraq. To compliment the main program, there are 2 extra features on the DVD that are worth checking out. One is a collection of interviews lasting just under 30 minutes and the second is 80 minutes of additional material covering several different and interesting topics.
The Soldier's Perspective
Rick B | Virginia | 08/04/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Having grown up in a career military family, I must applaud this film. The fact that it was commissioned and sponsored by the U.S. Army National Guard is a positive sign that the military is attempting to ease the transition of fighting troops back into normal civilian life.

What are the messages of this film? According to the Extra Features:

1) Understand what we soldiers have been through in service to our country.
2) We were sent to Iraq to kill people. Right or wrong, that was our mission, and we did it to the best of our ability. Judge us on that basis.
3) Support our troops without asking whether the Iraq War was necessary. That question only demoralizes us and makes our job more difficult.
4) Don't blame us the way you did the Vietnam veterans. We are all wounded warriors, emotionally if not physically. Welcome us home as heroes.

I served in the Army as a medic during the Vietnam conflict. When I returned home from overseas, I was confused and depressed for six months. I needed to talk with my family about what I had experienced, but no one seemed to understand or even wanted to listen. The soldiers in this film said it was very helpful for their families in understanding "why I am the way I am since I returned."

This film may not be considered a true "documentary" in the sense that the cameramen said all the tapes were turned over to Command for their editing and approval. The sergeant described that when he started thinking of himself as a photojournalist and asking other soldiers what they thought about apparently inane orders on camera, his commander called him in and warned him these were actions unbecoming a non-commissioned officer.

If you are looking for a film that says "The Iraqis are real people and they are suffering too," this is not it. But this film supports the troops without question, helps their families to understand what they went through for us, and they deserve this and a lot more from the American public.
Real war by real people
Daniel B. Clendenin | | 06/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"John Burns, the Baghdad bureau chief for the New York Times, calls this film "the single best document (book, film, or article) you could see on the war in Iraq." Director Deborah Scranton taught three soldiers from New Hampshire's National Guard --Steve Pink, Mike Moriarty, and the Lebanese-American Zack Bazzi who is fluent in Arabic --how to use a camera, then edited their 800 hours of war footage down to 97 minutes. The result is a first person visual narrative of the war in Iraq. It's probably about as close as you can get to experiencing war vicariously-- the chaos, bravado, feelings of helplessness, fear, vulgarity, boredom, and cynicism. Endless rows of charred vehicles in an equipment vehicle. Security escorts protecting convoys of Halliburton trucks carrying septic waste ("follow that shit truck!") or cheese cake. Children everywhere. And yes, IEDs and daily mortar attacks lobbed into Camp Anaconda. The film documents the stories of the three soldiers from their deployment to their return to their families and post war symptoms, including several takes with their wives back home interspersed throughout the film. Parts of this film are very hard to watch."
War From the Inside
Bryan A. Pfleeger | Metairie, Louisiana United States | 07/04/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"In 2004 Deborah Scranton was invited to join a New Hampshire National Guard unit being deployed to Iraq as an imbedded journalist. She and producing partner Charles Lacy had a different idea: why not provide the soldiers with miniDV camaras and let them record what they experienced. What resulted was some 800 hours of footage that was edited into the brillant 97 minutes of the War Tapes.

The story follows the day to day lives of three soldiers from training to return from duty one year later. Mike Moriority is a hard line patriot who wanted to be deployed to Iraq as a result of what he saw at 9-11. Steven Pink is a wise cracking college graduate who thinks service will make him a better man. Jack Bazzi is a Lebanese emigre who uses his knowledge of Arabic to give us a unique view of the culture.

Through these men we see the horror of war close up. The footage is graphic and haunting and is not always easy to watch but it is essential. There is more to be seen and talked about here than in 10 conventional war films. Whether you are pro war or antiwar there is something here that you can take in and discuss with others. The essential question is the age old one:why are we fighting. To some it is to bring democracy to the Iraqi people to others the ony real reason is for the oil and to make money for corporations like Haliburton.

Do yourself a favor and seek this one out and make the choice for yourself. Excellent and well recommended."