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Underground (1976)

 -  Documentary  -  9 May 1976 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 101 users  
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It's the mid 1970s and the Weather Underground Organization (WUO), a radical (and violent) offshoot of the Students for a Democratic Society, explains to leftist filmmakers the difficulties... See full summary »

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Title: Underground (1976)

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It's the mid 1970s and the Weather Underground Organization (WUO), a radical (and violent) offshoot of the Students for a Democratic Society, explains to leftist filmmakers the difficulties and experiences of being underground and wanted by the federal government. Written by Rex Iscariot <jakartajoe@xoommail.com>

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The Film The FBI Didn't Want You To See

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9 May 1976 (USA)  »

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Featured in The Weather Underground (2002) See more »

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Interesting documentary of a passed era.
6 February 2000 | by (Tucson, AZ) – See all my reviews

This film is not likely to be of interest to anyone who does not already know the basic history of the Weather Underground and the Students for a Democratic Society, with the possible exception of radical activists. It is basically an interview with some of the wanted members of the Weather Underground Organization, a radical left "terrorist" organization which grew out of the 60s political counterculture. WUO was wanted for a string of bombings (including the US Capital Building), and as such their faces are not visible. All of the members of the group who are interviewed in the film have since surfaced, and some are presently serving long prison sentences.

I was born in 1972, and as such I was not really cognizant of what was going on the mid-70s but in hindsight what strikes me about this film is how much it feels like the "end" of something. The political idealism of the 1960s had long since imploded, and WUO's struggle seems futile - a few dozen radicals does not a revolution make.

It is interesting to hear stories about what drove these people to pursue a life of armed struggle in the United States. Short clips of Black Panthers and people like Fidel Castro are included to give context to WUO's struggle. WUO was not a nihilist organization; there were specific aims and ideology behind what they fought for.

In no way do I condone their actions, and my politics are very much opposed to that of WUO's, but you have to admire the courage, dedication, and commitment to action (rather than just talk) which defined this organization.

Before watching this film (still in print), it would be helpful (if you have not already done so) to do some reading on the subject, or else the film is not likely to be of much interest (Familiarity with the basics of WUO and its origins is assumed).

Try Ron Jacobs's superb "The Way the Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground" for starters.

The value of this film is in its underlying optimism; that there was a time in America where people felt that they really could change the world - that you could fight the system and win.

WUO failed, of course, and several decades of cynicism and apathy followed.


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