New York Times - 03/24/1975
"...A tough film....It is always aware of the primacy of man when man's given even half a chance."
USA Today - 07/05/2002
Sight and Sound - 01/01/2006
"Davis' film showed, with devastating clarity, how the war for the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese had been lost beyond recall -- and how something similar was taking place in America."
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 US 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 there."
Military (USA) |
Theatrical release: March 1975.
When the film won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, outspoken words of protest were voiced by conservative Hollywood. Host for the evening Bob Hope was among them.
Peter Davis continued to film political works, among them the award-winning THE SELLING OF THE PRESIDENT, a television documentary.
Interviewees include Clifford Clark, Daniel Ellsberg, General William Westmoreland, and Robert Kennedy, among others. Footage includes excerpts from addresses by Presidents Eisenhower, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon.
The prescient film was rereleased theatrically in select American cities in 2004.