The Ground Truth (2006)
"The Ground Truth: After the Killing Ends" (original title)

R  |   |  Documentary, War  |  19 January 2006 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 695 users   Metascore: 74/100
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The filmmaker's subjects are patriotic young Americans - ordinary men and women who heeded the call for military service in Iraq - as they experience recruitment and training, combat, ... See full summary »


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Credited cast:
Robert Acosta ...
Kelly Dougherty ...
Patricia Foulkrod ...
Host / Interviewer
Nicole Huze ...
Herself (as Nickie Huze)
Denver Jones ...
Joyce Lucey ...
Kevin Lucey ...
Jackie Massey ...
Jimmy Massey ...
Demond Mullins ...
Herold Noel ...
Chad Reiber ...
Steve Robinson ...


The filmmaker's subjects are patriotic young Americans - ordinary men and women 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 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. Written by Focus Features

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Documentary | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing violent content, and language | See all certifications »


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Release Date:

19 January 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Ground Truth  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$12,207 (USA) (15 September 2006)


$12,207 (USA) (15 September 2006)

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References Top Gun (1986) See more »


Written and Performed by Patty Griffin
Courtesy of A&M Records under license from Universal Music Enterprises
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User Reviews

More like an inconvenient truth.
25 June 2013 | by (Hampshire, England) – See all my reviews

One of the more bizarre things about the war in the Middle East, at least from a British perspective, was how all-too-keen we were to wade on in with the Americans in the name of fighting 'terror'. This is when, for the decades born out of the strife that followed the Irish Civil War, we nary went anywhere near an enemy far closer to home and far more prone to a defeat than any stretch of land pertaining to throw a seemingly unlimited amount of Muslims at you. We are, of course, speaking about Britain's struggle with the Irish Republican Army – an organisation whose actions over the years have meant that, even prior to the respective invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, terrorism and the threat of terrorism was nothing at all new to the U.K. There was never any conquest of The Emerald Isle, but that never stopped any Briton fervently celebrating its patron saint on March the 17th (as the day of their own, St. George, goes largely unnoticed) nor grinning affectionately when recalling the charming image of a typically lovable Irishman, whose fondness for beer is matched only by his penchant for boxing, comes to mind. There was no crusade up and down the streets and through the cities of Ireland, searching for the dogs responsible for destroying pubs and hotels up and down our country like there is in The Middle East, where untold horrors are being bestowed upon people who probably aren't even interested in the West, but are most likely becoming more and more radicalised as an invading force loiters unwelcomely.

But to an extent, I digress. In The Ground Truth, a probing American documentary from Patricia Foulkrod which is more about the mindset of the solider and how rotten, lying American politicians essentially con their young men into fighting a war they really don't want to be anywhere near, we cover more-so the process of what happens to a grunt from their basic training to the harsh realities of post-war life than any sort of political sub-study. The documentary begins in late 2005 with a Venice Beach-set inauguration, as American men enlist to join the forces. They are young and energetic; they are surrounded by advertising boards informing the onlooker of a body building product and there is very much this presence of masculinity. We learn that some signed up because a recruitment officer was convincing enough, others tell us that the allure of merely escaping one's neighbourhood and travelling the world was enough to join - one informs us they saw "Top Gun" and joined – a film which didn't even depict the Army but was about the Air Force, and was actually about Americans 'fighting' in a war that never even happened but for on the ice rinks of Lake Placid and across the chessboards of Reykjavik.

The whole thing reminds us of the opening act of Oliver Stone's "Born on the Fourth of July", made by a man who had already been there and already done that – a film wherein one's very essence of even being a man is questioned should one refute going to war. The entire process is, of course, in preparation for fighting in Iraq – arguably the biggest sham war in the history of mankind; a war so futile, unpleasant and unnecessary that everybody, from anti-war politicians who're at the top of their game anyway, right the way through to a 2008 produced episode of "Family Guy" which depicts one of its characters being told that we're in Iraq because 9/11 was induced by "a bunch of Saudi Arabians, Lebanese and Egyptians financed by a Saudi Arabian guy living in Afghanistan and sheltered by Pakistanis" have had a respective 'pop' at it.

To an extent, it is a 21st Century "Korea"; a conflict whereby, thanks to latter-day MacArthurism, we have conspired to go on an ego-centric death march into neighbouring Iraq (China) having defeated the majority of the Afghan (North Korean) army. It is a war so false and so vehemently putrid that even the pro-war American politicians want nothing to do with it in earnest: who could forget the agonising sequence in Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11", wherein he poses to several American politicians, application forms in hand, that they send their own sons over there to fight the good fight? The Ground Truth weasels out the lies Americans are told in order to sign up; tells of the realities of the fighting and the post-war fighting that the politicians don't bother with, things that are not limited to the losing of one's mind when all is said and done. Americans, in this regard, have is good and healthy: British veterans of the conflict, after having left the Army, are forced into living on the streets while immigrants who can barely speak the language are given houses – those characters in "Jarhead", a film set during Gulf War One about how conflict didn't actually kick off for some troops, never had it so good.

There was a very interesting quote I remember finding in a history text book at my old school some years ago, a quote made by an American who fought in both World War II as well as the Vietnam War. He spoke of how in WWII, you knew who your enemy was: you wore the green uniform, they wore the grey ones and the idea was to push through Europe and into Berlin. Cut to twenty years later and confusion reigns in Vietnam, where nobody knew who the enemy was; where the enemy were; where anyone was going or what anyone was trying to achieve. Some people don't like to compare Iraq to Vietnam, but the material we see and hear in Foulkrod's documentary makes it hard not to think of the above; observe what's happening and draw one's own conclusions – this is a tough, powerful work of non-fiction which works well.

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