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The Pentagon Papers (2003)

Defense worker Daniel Ellsberg seeks to publish a series of classified government documents detailing the true nature of America's involvement in the Vietnam War.




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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Patricia Marx
Anthony Russo
Harry Rowen
John McNaughon
Carol Ellsberg
Sean McCann ...
James Downing ...
Richard Fitzpatrick ...
Neil Sheehan
Jan Butler
Randy Kehler
Senator Fulbright (as George Robertson)
FBI Agent
Roland Rothchild ...
FBI Agent


Daniel Ellsberg, a hawkish analyst for the Rand Corporation think-tank and later for the U.S. government, supports the war in Vietnam until two powerful occurrences: the experience, first-hand, of combat and political turmoil in Vietnam, and the discovery of secret Defense Department documents detailing the deliberate fabrication of reasons to initiate and expand the war. Facing a crisis of conscience, Ellsberg becomes convinced that the American people have not been told the truth about the war, its justifications, or its likely outcome. He decides to expose the secret history of the war in hopes that the American public, its eyes opened, will force the government to end the war. In order to do so, he must risk his career and his freedom, perhaps even his life. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


His greatest act of patriotism was an act of treason.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some war images and brief sexuality | See all certifications »




Release Date:

9 March 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Pentagon-ügyirat  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The exterior of a bar supposedly located in Saigon clearly displays signs written in the Thai language, and some of the signs are from contemporary times, as evidenced by product logos, rather than from 1965. See more »


Referenced in Spook (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

Amazing Story Told Amazingly Well
31 May 2003 | by (Santa Monica, CA) – See all my reviews

This is a terrific movie about a story that few know. I believe Walter Cronkite called Daniel Ellsberg's leaking of the Pentagon Papers war document the most important story of the latter part of the 20th Century. Performances are really strong and the direction excellent. This is one of those rare moments when a telefilm elevates itself and becomes something very important.

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