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The Pentagon Papers (TV Movie 2003) - Plot Summary Poster

(2003 TV Movie)

Plot Summary

  • 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>
  • In the 70s, the ambitious and brilliant Daniel Ellsberg (James Spader) aims to work in the Defense Department of the USA. His ambition destroys his marriage and he goes to Vietnam to fight. He meets Patricia Marx (Claire Forlani), the daughter of a wealthy manufacturer of toys, and they have a brief affair. Once back in the USA, he works as analyst for the Rand Corporation and he finds secret Defense Department documents showing that the American population was being deceived along four successive governments about the Vietnam War. With the support of Patricia and his close friend Anthony Russo (Paul Giamatti), he decides to disclose the documents to the American people, being accused of treason by the government of Richard Nixon.

    - Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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