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1971 (2014)

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The story of a notorious 1971 activist burglary of an FBI office that led to the Bureau's numerous abuses against dissidents being exposed.


2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bonnie Raines ...
Herself (as Bonnie)
John Raines ...
Himself (as John)
Bob Williamson ...
Himself (as Bob)
Keith Forsyth ...
Himself (as Keith)
Bill Davidon ...
Himself (as Bill)
Betty Medsger ...
Herself, reporter, The Washington Post
Terry Neist ...
Himself, former FBI agent
Athan Theoharis ...
Himself, professor of history, Marquette University
J. Edgar Hoover ...
Himself, director of the FBI (archive footage)
Sanford Ungar ...
Himself, journalist
Benjamin C. Bradlee ...
Himself, executive editor, The Washington Post (archive footage)
Katherine Graham ...
Herself, publisher, The Washington Post (archive footage) (as Katharine Graham)
Himself, senator, South Dakota (archive footage)
Himself, senator, Kansas (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)


On March 8th, 1971, eight ordinary citizens broke into an FBI office in Media, PA. Calling themselves the Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI, they removed every file in the office. Mailed anonymously, the stolen documents started to show up in newsrooms. The heist yielded a trove of damning evidence. The most significant revelation was COINTELPRO, a controversial, secret, illegal surveillance program overseen by lifelong Bureau director J. Edgar Hoover. Despite one of the largest investigations ever conducted, the FBI was unable to catch the burglars. Those responsible have never revealed their identities. Until now. For the first time the burglars have decided to speak about their actions. 1971 is their story, examining the consequences and implications of their actions - then and now. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

18 April 2014 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


In the recreation of the crime scene which occurs during the Ali - Frazier fight of March 8th 1971, there are cut aways to another person in the building watching the fight. The fight was closed circuit only, and there was no cable TV in 1971, so anybody wanting to see the fight live either had to be in the arena or in theaters and auditoriums broadcasting the fight for a fee. See more »

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User Reviews

Good, but oh, those reconstructions!
25 January 2016 | by See all my reviews

Having lived through this period, and remembering a lot of it well, the film was something of a nostalgia trip for me, and a terrific companion piece to Betty Medsger's excellent book. (Wish we'd seen more of her.)

But why oh WHY do documentary filmmakers feel it necessary to use reconstructions with actors, as here? They are not only distracting (and perhaps confusing - ?), they suggest that the director does not trust her witnesses, who are FAR more interesting to watch and listen to than the dully animated wallpaper of the reconstructions.

For a purist like me, such tricks make me distrust the veracity of the material, but then I'm an old school documentarian, and growing more curmudgeonly with the passing of the years.


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