Produced at the height of the Vietnam War, Emile de Antonio?s Oscar®-nominated 1968 documentary chronicles the war?s historical roots. With palpable outrage, De Antonio (Point of Order, Underground) assembles period interv... more »iews with journalists, politicians, and key military personnel and international newsreel and archival footage to create a scathing chronicle of America? escalating involvement in this divisive conflict. The savage and horrific images speak for themselves in perhaps the most controversial film of de Antonio?s career, and the film he cites as his personal favorite.« less
"I was really surprised when I saw this documentary because I was expecting a newer film about Vietnam but I was very pleased with this purchase! I had to watch it twice just to take it all in. This is BY FAR one of the best, if not the best, documentaries concerning Vietnam that I have ever seen! It comes from a time when there was far less spin (euphemism for lies) in the media than there is today. This documentary will definitely take you back to the roots of that conflict and the pictures and film are incredible.
This video covers the history of that struggle from the end of WW 2, with Ho Chi Minh's first Hanoi press conference in 1945, until 1968 right before the Tet Offensive. What I liked most about it was that there were several original interviews from politicians from both sides of the Vietnam camp and it also had a lot of original war footage from both the French and VietCong spanning the fifties. They even talk about who and why that monk burned himself, which made international news and had incredible political consequences world-wide. The video was in fact made by a leftist, but any intelligent person knows to ignore the messenger and pay attention to the message. After all, it shouldn't be left vs. right but right vs. wrong in my book. I'll get off my soapbox here and get back to the review...
There was so much information covered in this film, much that I never knew and have since then read up on things covered like some of the older treaties, that the US re-nigged on for example in the fifties, and even touched on some Asian philosophy with interviews given by people who had lived there for years. You will definitely get a better understanding of what was in the minds of the Vietnamese people.
I also loved all the original footage of the US policy makers at the time which will definitely give you insight as to why we were really there. What struck me the most was how what the politicians said back then mirrors almost exactly what they are saying today concerning Iraq. Any student of contemporary politics will recognize that right away but I have to admit, I was not expecting to see that because I put Vietnam and Iraq in different perspectives but when you see what they say on the floors of Congress in the fifties and sixties, it will send chills through your spine!
This was by far the most interesting documentary I have seen in a long time and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in knowing the complicated dynamics of the Vietnam War. You can really sense the truth in this video which is quite rare nowadays. There is a lot of information contained here that even the most ardent student may not have seen before. The only aspect of the film that I did not like was some of the music that they played between segments but then again, it is from the sixties. You will not regret this purchase. "
They Didn't Know the Half of It
tamiii | San Juan Capistrano, Ca. United States | 06/30/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If by chance you've stumbled upon this documentary, count yourself lucky. This film helped change a nation without the benefit of the subsequently revealed Pentagon Papers or now known confirming documents. In retrospect it seems a cautious, subtle condemnation of the war. Nevertheless, the film remains important in various ways: cameras on location could accidentally reveal an unintended story; the truth could be discovered despite secrecy; and, careful storytelling can change the opinion of a nation."
The War That Never Ended
Jamigo Speaks | NYC Area USA | 09/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"That's right. The Vietnam War never ended. Yes, the Vietnamese won their Independence and today are sought out by Americans as lucrative trading partners. But their victory was never acknowledged by the US government. More importantly, many Americans still cherish the myth that the war, whch killed 60,000 American troops and 3,000,000 Asians, overwhelmingly civilians, was "a Noble Cause" as Ronald Regan proclamed, after taking office. Yet before the war even ended the US had become "Bosom Buddies" with Comunist China, which had been labeled the "real adversary" at the war's beginning, the main justification for fighting the Vietnamese. Out of deference to China, the US, under Nixon and Ford, even went on to support the Cambodian Regime of Pol Pot, at the very time he was comitting genocide on his own people! And the "Gulf of Tonkin Incident" which was supposedly the "trigger" of the war, had been exposed as a HOAX, via The Pentagon Papers!
The hostilities between the countries ended, but the war that had divided our nation raged on passionately at home, but never died... it just quietly "faded away" over time, unresolved.
The Vietnam War re-emerged as our "AWOL" President debated John Kerry, the outspoken Antiwar Veteren of the Seventies, who had somehow changed sides along the way, during the 2004 Presidential Election. The same "Swift Boat" individuals who were paid to justify the additional deaths of their fellow soldiers during the Vietnam War were now being paid again to justify the deaths of the children of their dead comrades, this time in Iraq.
Withdrawal of troops from Vietnam would result in the "collapse of the world as we knew it," the argument of the "Domino Theory" went. Now the same forces claimed that a withdral from Iraq would result in a "Failed State" (i.e. a country not totally controlled by our "much wiser" US leaders) and result in "International Ruin and Chaos!" Nevermind the fact that the diversion of National Guard resources in Iraq has resulted in the Greatest Natural Calamity in US history at home- the Katrina Hurricane Disaster of 2005!
All the elements of the current debate of the Iraq war are present in de Antonio's brilliant film, "In the Year of the Pig", yet there are some differences. There was no Fox News, to act as the Propaganda Wing of the War Lobby then, and the media wasn't controlled by War Corporations like General Elecric that gets much of it's profits from military contracts, and owns NBC Television outright.
Without de Antonio there would have been be no "Hearts and Minds" later to shatter more underlying myths of the Vietnam War. There would be no Michael Moore, who followed in his tradition, or recent reflective films like "The Fog of War".
The artistry of those earlier films such as "In the Year of the Pig" was that, unlike Moore, there was no "voice-over" or intervention by the filmmaker to prove a point. The viewer was just shown a juxtaposition of the sides, of different pieces of reality, and was left to draw his own conclusions. It was great filmmaking!
I give "In the Year of the Pig" my own humble gesture of "a solid Upward Fist"!"
RT Watson | Tempe, AZ United States | 01/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This may well be one of the finest documentaries ever made. Some of it is luck in that the time in which it was made allowed Antonio to speak with US polititions from a (sadly) bygone era and, yes, both sides of the aisle were interviewed. It could reasonably be viewed as well inside the anti-Vietnam War camp, as a warning for any of you who supported the war. But, in fairness, it seems to be more of a precocious examination of how and why the US lost (this is made before the Tet Offensive). I wouldn't dismiss it on ideological grounds."
Thirty Years' Time . . . .
W. GRUENDLER I I | Palm Bay, FL | 05/01/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
". . . has not diminished the power of this documentary. I sought it out in the used market and found it at last. Get a copy for your Viet Nam era collection and stack it with "The Anderson Platoon", "Medium Cool", "Getting Straight", "Alice's Restaurant", "The Green Berets", and others made during, not after, that conflict. I watched it again today - the anniversary of the reunification of Viet Nam - with my two youngest sons who are interested in that war, having played virtual versions of it in their video worlds. Seems the conflicting ideologies were all given pretty fair treatment to me. See the internet movie data base (imdb) for the strange bedfellows cast of original characters, including General Curtis "bomb them back into the stone age" LeMay to Daniel "Brother of Philip" Berrigan.... Original and amazing combat footage supplied by North Viet Nam includes the 1954 fall of Dien Bien Phu. There is some horrifying footage of the self-immolation of Thich Quang Duc, and revealing, candid interviews with American enlisted and officers in the field. In short, if you are at all interested in the Viet Nam War and have read or are planning to read Christan Appy's "Patriots", be sure to buy this video for yourself and your family and friends. I am a Viet Nam combat infantry veteran."