7.4/10
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24 user 14 critic

Let There Be Light (1980)

Not Rated | | Documentary, War | 16 December 1980 (USA)
A group of mentally traumatized veteran patients is followed as they go through psychiatric treatment.

Director:

John Huston

Writer:

John Huston
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1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Uncredited cast:
Walter Huston ... Narrator (uncredited)
Benjamin Simon Benjamin Simon ... Self (uncredited)
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Storyline

A documentary, filmed shortly after the end of WW2, shot entirely in a US Army psychiatric hospital. Candidly shot, the film shows the mental casualties of war - soldiers with PTSD and other neurological issues: their symptoms, how they cope and, if they're lucky, how they are cured. Written by grantss

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Genres:

Documentary | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A controversial work at the time, this film was suppressed by the United States government for over thirty years after it was produced. See more »

Quotes

Unnamed Soldier: I believe, in your profession, it's called 'Nostalgia'.
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Connections

Edited into Level Five (1997) See more »

User Reviews

 
The Soldiers General Patton Would Have Slapped
17 November 2015 | by robertguttmanSee all my reviews

I saw this film for the first time and was not surprised to learn afterwords that it was suppressed for over 30 years after being completed. I understand that the Army commissioned John Huston to make it. I have no idea what the Army authorities expected the result to be but what the got was something truly extraordinary. Nevertheless, the idea of mentally-disturbed veterans being treated by psychiatrists must have been considered a pretty sensitive subject during the immediate post-WW-II period.

Although the term "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" did not exist in the 1940s, the syndrome certainly did. In World War I it was referred to as "Shell Shock" and in World War II it was called "Battle Fatigue" or "Combat Fatigue". Put another way, the subject of this film is the men whom General George Patton would have treated by slapping. Fortunately, however, the treatment received by the soldiers depicted in this film is psychotherapy combined with hypnosis and sodium pentothal. The results are truly remarkable.

I can empathize with this film because I know that my own father returned from WW-II suffering from what was later called "PTSD". Although his symptoms were not as extreme as the soldiers depicted in this film, I know that he was shipped home before the end of the war because the doctors had declared him no longer fit for combat. I know that, after witnessing hundreds of men killed in battle, he went into shock after seeing a woman hit by a car while en route home, and came to in the hospital three days later. I know that, soon after returning home, he left town because he felt guilty about having survived the war, and he couldn't bear to see the wives, sisters and parents of people that he knew wouldn't be coming back. I know that, despite having flown numerous combat missions during the war, he couldn't bring himself to fly in an airplane for years afterwords.

Like the soldiers depicted in the film, my father eventually managed to get on with his life in a productive manner. However, I don't think he ever really did entirely get over what he experienced during the war. I don't imagine the soldiers in the film did, either.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 December 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

E la luce fu See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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