6.6/10
1,276
16 user 5 critic

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.

Director:

Rod Holcomb

Writer:

Jason Horwitch
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

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

Photos

Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

More Like This 

I Witness (2003)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

After 27 bodies are discovered in a collapsed tunnel in Tijuana, a man tries to unravel the mystery before becoming the next victim.

Director: Rowdy Herrington
Stars: Jeff Daniels, James Spader, Portia de Rossi
The Stickup (2002)
Action | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

It's a quiet little town where nothing happens - until the day the bank is hit for half a million dollars by a thief wearing a clowns mask.

Director: Rowdy Herrington
Stars: James Spader, Leslie Stefanson, David Keith
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

When a young man accidentally kills someone, he is plunged into a rich man's world of blackmail, betrayal, adultery and ...murder.

Director: Rich Cowan
Stars: Matthew Davis, James Spader, Aidan Quinn
True Colors (1991)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Best friends from law school to election night, their friendship is sorely tested when one learns of another's betrayal.

Director: Herbert Ross
Stars: John Cusack, James Spader, Imogen Stubbs
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A female marriage counselor and a male depression expert try to solve the marital problems of a troubled couple.

Director: John McNaughton
Stars: James Spader, Melora Walters, Jay Mohr
Storyville (1992)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

While investigating his own blackmailing, a young politician uncovers his family's deep secrets.

Director: Mark Frost
Stars: James Spader, Joanne Whalley, Jason Robards
Driftwood (1997)
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

When Sarah walks alone along the desolate beach one day she find an unconscious man, who has been brought to land by the waves. When he awakens he doesn't remember anything. He has no name ... See full summary »

Director: Ronan O'Leary
Stars: James Spader, Anne Brochet, Barry McGovern
Jack's Back (1988)
Crime | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A serial killer in Los Angeles celebrates Jack the Ripper's 100th birthday by committing similar murders and only one has a chance of stopping him.

Director: Rowdy Herrington
Stars: James Spader, Cynthia Gibb, Jim Haynie
A Killer in the Family (TV Movie 1983)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A father serving time for murder convinces his three teenage sons that his life is being threatened by fellow inmates and that they should break him out of jail. However, when his sons ... See full summary »

Director: Richard T. Heffron
Stars: Robert Mitchum, James Spader, Lance Kerwin
Bad Influence (1990)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Michael, a wimpy young executive, is about to get pulverized by a jealous boyfriend in a bar when a handsome, mysterious stranger steps in--and then disappears. Later that night, while ... See full summary »

Director: Curtis Hanson
Stars: Rob Lowe, James Spader, Lisa Zane
Dream Lover (1993)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A successful businessman tries to uncover what is wrong with his wife.

Director: Nicholas Kazan
Stars: James Spader, Mädchen Amick, Fredric Lehne
Critical Care (1997)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Werner Ernst is a young hospital resident who becomes embroiled in a legal battle between two half-sisters who are fighting over the care of their comatose father. But are they really ... See full summary »

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: James Spader, Kyra Sedgwick, Helen Mirren
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Spader ... Daniel Ellsberg
Claire Forlani ... Patricia Marx
Paul Giamatti ... Anthony Russo
Alan Arkin ... Harry Rowen
Kenneth Welsh ... John McNaughon
Maria del Mar ... Carol Ellsberg
Sean McCann Sean McCann ... John Mitchell
James Downing ... H.R. Haldeman
Richard Fitzpatrick Richard Fitzpatrick ... John Ehrlichman
Jonas Chernick ... Neil Sheehan
Amy Price-Francis ... Jan Butler
Aaron Ashmore ... Randy Kehler
George R. Robertson ... Senator Fulbright (as George Robertson)
Robert Seeliger ... FBI Agent
Roland Rothchild Roland Rothchild ... FBI Agent
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

His greatest act of patriotism was an act of treason. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 March 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Pentagon-ügyirat See more »

Filming Locations:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color (archive footage)| Black and White (archive footage)| Black and White | Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This tele-movie was made and first broadcast about thirty-two years after "The Pentagon Papers" were first published in 1971. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Spook (2003) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
The Truth Will Set You Free
20 March 2010 | by TheMulderFoxSee all my reviews

Daniel Ellsberg is a brilliant and impassioned military analyst who wants nothing more than to serve his country in the most meaningful way he can. However in the end it seems that his greatest act of patriotism is to commit an act of treason.

Sounds like gripping stuff, the kicker is that it is all based on real life events. Now these types of docudramas can go horridly wrong all too easily in so many ways, however "The Pentagon Papers" manages to cleverly avoid most of these. Half of this is down to a solid script and the other primarily to the director for clearly thinking his decisions through to completion and creating a cohesive film on the whole.

Now I have to confess that I am a fan of James Spaders' work and find him to be a very under rated actor over the whole. Now that being said he does do an admirable job of chronicling the characters proverbial decent into madness (if you will forgive the dramatized language) as he goes from being a trusted insider only three steps removed from the president to being branded a traitor and hunted by the F.B.I.

The movie has some shortcomings and most of them I feel are likely due to time constraints placed on made for TV movies. They could, for instance, have easily taken time to develop the gaps in the story some more. Specifically in terms of the inter personal relationships portrayed and in terms of Elsberg's ever increasing sense of disillusionment in the government he believed in so vehemently just a few years before. As it seems at times, though years have passed in the time line, nothing has really changed for the characters.

That having been said I am of the opinion that the film does capture the general feeling of mistrust in the government that was so prevalent during the early seventies, as more and more revelations of the abuse of power at the highest levels and the lies that were being fed to the public to justify even greater lies became known. Although it is all related from very personal perspectives.

One of the strongest elements was the visual style employed by the director. I was constantly reminded of Oliver Stone in that respect. The uses of period news broadcasts are very cleverly deployed throughout the movie.

So do yourself a favor and watch "The Pentagon Papers", it can be both enlightening and entertaining, definitely 90 odd minutes well spent.


3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 16 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed