Whitman Peace Coalition Movie Recommendations

Anti-war dramas and documentaries are powerful but underutilized teaching tools for raising consciousness and deepening understanding. Don't watch these movies alone! Get friends and acquaintences to watch them with you, and encourage them to do the same with their other friends.


In the Valley of Elah

aScheduled to open: September 14, 2007 (limited, going wider on the 21st) Watch the trailer here.

Synopsis: "In the Valley of Elah" tells the story of a war veteran (Tommy Lee Jones), his wife (Susan Sarandon) and the search for their son, a soldier who recently returned from Iraq but has mysteriously gone missing, and the police detective (Charlize Theron) who helps in the investigation. Paul Haggis directs from his original screenplay based on a story by Mark Boal and Haggis. This will be Haggis' directing follow-up to the Academy Award-winning "Crash." In addition to the Oscar-winning screenplay for "Crash," his recent writing credits include the award-winning "Million Dollar Baby," for which he received an Academy Award-nomination for Best Screenplay, and current releases "The Last Kiss," "Flags of Our Fathers," sino Royale" and "Letters From Iwo Jima." The film is produced by Paul Haggis, Larry Becsey, Patrick Wachsberger, Steve Samuels and Darlene Caamano Loquet. A Summit Entertainment and Samuels Media presentation in association with Nala Films and Blackfriars Bridge.

Written and Directed by: Paul Haggis
Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron, Susan Sarandon, Jason Patric Rating: This film is not yet rated.

Joyeux Noel

aIn 1914, World War I, the bloodiest war ever at that time in human history, was well under way. However on Christmas Eve, numerous sections of the Western Front called an informal, and unauthorized, truce where the various front-line soldiers of the conflict peacefully met each other in No Man's Land to share a precious pause in the carnage with a fleeting brotherhood. This film dramatizes one such section as the French, British and German sides partake in the unique event, even though they are aware that their superiors will not tolerate its occurrence.

Shut up and Sing

Shut up and sing is a documentary film produced and directed by Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck. The film follows the Texas-based country music female trio the Dixie Chicks over three years while the group was under fire after lead singer Natalie Maines publicly criticizing the President of the United States George W. Bush in a 2003 concert in London. The title of the film makes reference to the request by proponents of American conservatism (and by commentator Laura Ingraham in particular, whose book was so titled) that entertainers refrain from making political comments.

Why we fight

aWhy we fight is an unflinching look at the anatomy of the American war machine, weaving unforgettable personal stories with commentary by a "who's who" of military and beltway insiders. Featuring John McCain, William Kristol, Chalmers Johnson, GOre Vidal, Richard Perle and others, Why We Fight launches a bipartisan inquiry into the workings of the military industrial complex and the rise of the American Empire.

Inspired by Dwight Eisenhower's legendary farewell speech filmmaker Jarecki surveys the scorched landscape of a half-century's military adventures, asking how-- and telling why-- a nation of, by, and for the people has become the savings-and-loan of a system whose survival depends on the constant state of war.

US vs. John Lennon

a "The U.S. vs. John Lennon" tells the story of Lennon's transformation from loveable moptop to anti-war activist, and recounts the facts about Nixon's campaign to deport him in 1972. With Walter Cronkite, Gore Vidal, Mario Cuomo, George McGovern, Angela Davis, Bobby Seale, G. Gordon Liddy, Yoko Ono, and Jon Wiener--and archival footage of Richard Nixon, J. Edgar Hoover, and John Lennon. 

Regret to inform

a On her twenty-fourth birthday, Barbara Sonneborn received a knock on her door from a United States Army soldier, and heard the words "We regret to inform you...." Her husband Jeff had been killed by a mortar in Vietnam. She received a box containing Jeff's dog tags still encrusted with his blood. Twenty years later, Sonneborn embarks on a journey through the country where he fought and died. Woven into her personal odyssey are interviews with American and Vietnamese widows from both sides of the conflict who speak openly about the men they loved and how war changed their lives forever.

Iraq for Sale

aIraq for Sale: The War Profiteers is the story of what happens to everyday Americans when corporations go to war. Acclaimed director Robert Greenwald (Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, Outfoxed and Uncovered) takes you inside the lives of soldiers, truck drivers, widows and children who have been changed forever as a result of profiteering in the reconstruction of Iraq. Iraq for Sale uncovers the connections between private corporations making a killing in Iraq and the decision makers who allow them to do so. 

Sir! No Sir!

aSir! No Sir! is a powerful film that shows how GI resistance to the Vietnam War infested the entire armed services, flourishing in army stockades, navy brigs, in the dingy towns that surround military bases, and throughout the battlefields of Vietnam.


The Ground Truth

aThe Ground Truth is a powerful and quietly unflinching documentary that follows the lives of patriotic young Americans--ordinary young Americans who heeded the call for military service in Iraq as they experience recruitment and training, combat, homecoming, and the struggle to reintegrate with families and communities. The terrible conflict in Iraq, depicted with ferocious honesty in the film, is a prelude for the even more challenging battles fought by the soldiers returning home--with personal demons, an uncomprehending public, and an indifferent government. As these battles take shape, each soldier becomes a new kind of hero, bearing witness and giving support to other veterans, and learning to fearlessly wield the most powerful weapon of all - the truth.

The War Tapes

aMarch 2004, just as the insurgent movement strengthened, several members of one National Guard unit arrived in Iraq, carrying digital video cameras. The War Tapes follows three men: Sergeant Steve Pink, a young carpenter who joined the Guard for college money; Sergeant Zack Bazzi, a traveler and university student; and Specialist Mike Moriarty, a husband and father driven to fight by honor and redemption. With Director Deborah�s guidance, the soldiers shot over 900 hours of videotape during their yearlong deployment. These soldiers got the story the 2,700 embedded reporters never could.

The Road to Guantanamo

aRoad to Guantanamo is the terrifying first-hand account of three British citizens who were held for two years without charges in the American military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Known as the "Tipton Three," in reference to their home town in Britain, the three were eventually returned to Britain and released, still having had no formal charges ever made against them at any time during their ordeal. Part documentary, part dramatization, the film chronicls the sequence of events that led from the trio setting out from Tipton in the British Midlands for a wedding in Pakistan, to their crossing the Afghanistan border just as the U.S. began their invasion, to their eventual capture by the Northern Alliance and their imprisonment in Camp X-Ray and later at Camp Delta in Guantanamo.

Winter Solider

aWinter Soldier documents the "Winter Soldier Investigation" conducted by Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) in Detroit, Michigan in the winter of 1971. This heartfelt, emotional story follows the VVAW as they call to veterans all over the country to come to Detroit to tell their stories. At the investigation, over 125 veterans representing every major combat unit to see action in Vietnam, gave eye-witness testimony to war crimes and atrocities they either participated in or witnessed. The purpose of the investigation was to bring to light the nature of American military policy in Vietnam.

Uncovered: The War on Iraq

aIn his documentary feature, UNCOVERED: The War on Iraq, filmmaker Robert Greenwald chronicles the Bush Administration's determined quest to invade Iraq following the events of September 11, 2001. The film deconstructs the administration's case for war through interviews with U.S intelligence and defense officials, foreign service experts, and U.N. weapons inspectors -- including a former CIA director, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia and even President Bush's Secretary of the Army. Their analyses and conclusions are sobering, and often disturbing, regardless of one's political affiliations.

Occupation: Dreamland

aOccupation: Dreamland is an unflinchingly candid portrait of a squad of American soldiers deployed in the doomed Iraq city of Falluja during the winter of 2004. A collective study of the soldiers unfolds as they patrol an environment of low-intensity conflict creeping steadily towards catastrophe. Through the squads activities Occupation: Dreamland provides a vital glimpse into the last days of Falluja. The film documents the citys waning stability before a final series of military assaults began in the spring of 2004 that effectively destroyed it. 

Mission Accomplished

aWith tongue planted firmly in cheek, journalist Sean Langan swipes his title from the banner that flew aboard the USS Lincoln in May of 2003 when President George W. Bush declared the Iraq War a grand success. Reporting from the notorious Sunni Triangle more than six months after the war has "ended", Langan captures a profound grassroots view of resistance fighters and American troops in a region where few reporters dared to travel. An important and eye-opening documentary.

Control Room

aA chronicle which provides a rare window into the international perception of the Iraq War, courtesy of Al Jazeera, the Arab world's most popular news outlet. Roundly criticized by Cabinet members and Pentagon officials for reporting with a pro-Iraqi bias, and strongly condemned for frequently airing civilian causalities as well as footage of American POWs, the station has revealed (and continues to show the world) everything about the Iraq War that the Bush administration did not want it to see.

I Know I am Not Alone 

aArmed with an acoustic guitar and a video camera, musician Michael Franti takes us on a musical journey through war and occupation in Iraq, Israel and Palestine. Along the way he shares his music with families, doctors, musicians, soldiers and everyday people who in turn reveal to him the often overlooked human cost of war.
With its guerrilla style footage captured in active war zones, the documentary is unlike the many academic and politically driven pieces in the marketplace, instead offering the audience a sense of intimate travel and the opportunity to hear the voices of everyday people living, creating and surviving under the harsh conditions of war and occupation.

Arlington West

aArlington West is a film that documents the reactions of everyday Americans as they visit the sands of Santa Barbara's West Beach. Produced for Veterans for Peace under the direction of Peter Dudar and Sally Marr, this film shows an area that has sprouted into a national phenomena and become the de facto burial ground for the more than 1,000 American soldiers killed since the war in Iraq began in March 2003. In a series of close-up interviews with proud and inquisitive soldiers, grieving relatives, and passersby of all ages intermixed with longer pans of the crosses and mourners in action, Arlington West provides a meaningful glimpse at a questionable war. Characters include everyone from cute, forward-thinking kids to ignorant, backward-thinking adults. Among other tear-jerking, heartfelt memories of fallen friends and family, all under the lens of "why?" The scene of a young soldier who lays flowers and kisses on the crosses of more than two dozen of his former mates reigns as memorable. But most troublesome of all is the sign early on in the film that announces, "If we were to honor the Iraqi dead, it would fill this entire beach." If it goes on much longer, we may need to bring in some more sand.

Peace One Day

aPeace One Day is the story of one man's attempts to persuade the global community via the United Nations to officially sanction a global ceasefire day; a day of non-violence; a day of Peace. This documentary charts the remarkable 6-year journey of the filmmaker as he meets heads of state, Nobel Peace Laureates, aid agencies, freedom fighters, media moguls, the innocent victims of war and, eventually, everyone who was anyone at the UN. An individual genuinely can make a difference: The UN International Day of Peace is now fixed in the calendar on 21st September annually. The real challenge has now begun - to get the world to unite on a day fast approaching.