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Hearts and Minds (1974) - movie overview

Hearts and Minds (1974)

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Running Time
1 hour, 52 minutes

Country USA

Studio Audjeff Inc., Columbia Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Warner Brothers

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• Hearts and Minds

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Genre: Documentary, Political, Society, Military, Suspense

Plot: A landmark in documentary feature films, this Academy Award-winning documentary is an insightful critique of the US's cataclysmic involvement in Vietnam. The film exposes the duplicitous nature of the American government, obsessive in its quest to squelch Communism and advance its own imperialist agenda, documented here in a media savvy trail of propaganda ranging from archival footage, excerpts from press conferences, newsreels, and clips from jingoistic Hollywood war pictures. Director Peter Davis also uses damaging interviews (including disturbingly racist comments from U.S. soldiers and General William Westmoreland), pop music from the period, and material he shot himself in Vietnam to create an indelible visual essay against war. Eschewing narration, the film has a cinema verite style which gains its power from juxtaposition and the severity of its images. Released only two short years after the January 1973 agreement that brought home U.S. troops, the film stands as one of the strongest films condemning the war and the America's involvement in it. HEARTS AND MINDS's title derives from a now infamous speech given by former President Lyndon Johnson in which he stated, "The ultimate victory will depend on the hearts and minds of the people who actually live out there."

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