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Winter Soldier (1972)

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For three days in 1971, former US soldiers who were in Vietnam testify in Detroit about their war experiences. Nearly 30 speak, describing atrocities personally committed or witnessed, ... See full summary »

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Scott Shimabukuro ...
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Kenneth Campbell ...
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Scott Camil ...
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Steve Pitkin ...
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Jonathan Birch ...
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Charles Stevens ...
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Fred Nienke ...
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Nathan Hale ...
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Murphy Lloyd ...
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Carl Rippberger ...
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Storyline

For three days in 1971, former US soldiers who were in Vietnam testify in Detroit about their war experiences. Nearly 30 speak, describing atrocities personally committed or witnessed, telling of inaccurate body counts, and recounting the process of destroying a village. The atrocities are casual, seem routine, and are sanctioned or committed by officers. Images from the war illustrate the testimony; there's a side discussion among veterans about racism and a couple of interviews about the soldiers' self-realization. The testimony appears in the US Congressional Record on April 6 and 7, 1971. A "winter soldier" contrasts with Paine's "summer soldier and sunshine patriot." Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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19 June 2010 (Japan)  »

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Stratiotes tou heimona  »

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Strong anti-war statement
24 December 2002 | by (Toronto) – See all my reviews

Probably the most self-critical Vietnam-related film to have been made in the U.S. (which might explain its scarcity), WINTER SOLDIER is a frequently moving and disturbing documentary about the inculcation of eager, pliable young American men, of a conscienceless barbarism. The fact that the panel of 'Nam vets, convened in front of spectators and a camera crew to convey their opposition to the war, is made up predominantly of articulate, sensitive-seeming men may point to why these particular people broke free of the bonds of pleasure-killing faceless innocent civilians ("gooks"), and came to realize the profound inhumanity of their and their peers' actions and, far worse, the actions of the U.S. military in creating them.

Unlike the callousness of the soldiers interviewed in documentaries like INTERVIEWS WITH MY LAI VETERANS and MILLS OF THE GODS, these speakers appear ashamed, penitent, and destined to spend the rest of their days with horrible memories of the torture and massacres they took part in, as well as anger at a government that made them pawns, not only in an imperialistic gambit disguised as a mercy mission, but also in a morality-play tug-of-war back home.


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