5 user 12 critic

National Bird (2016)

Unrated | | Documentary | 11 November 2016 (USA)
1:54 | Trailer
Drone whistleblower interviewed about borderless information gathering by the government.


Sonia Kennebeck
4 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Heather Linebaugh Heather Linebaugh ... Self - Former Drone Imagery Analyst (as Heather)
Daniel Hale Daniel Hale ... Self - Private Contractor and Former Signals Intelligence Analyst (as Daniel)
Lisa Ling Lisa Ling ... Self - Former Technical Sergeant on Drone Surveillance System (as Lisa)
Jesselyn Radack ... Self
Asma Nazihi Eschen Asma Nazihi Eschen ... Self
Stanley McChrystal ... Self (as General Stanley McCrysthal - Ret.)
Kim Dunbar Kim Dunbar ... Self
Allen Capron Allen Capron ... Self
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Barack Obama ... Self (archive footage)


National Bird follows the dramatic journey of three whistleblowers who are determined to break the silence around one of the most controversial current affairs issues of our time: the secret U.S. drone war. At the center of the film are three U.S. military veterans. Plagued by guilt over participating in the killing of faceless people in foreign countries, they decide to speak out publicly, despite the possible consequences. Their stories take dramatic turns, leading one of the protagonists to Afghanistan where she learns about a horrendous incident. But her journey also gives hope for peace and redemption. National Bird gives rare insight into the U.S. drone program through the eyes of veterans and survivors, connecting their stories as never seen before in a documentary. Its images haunt the audience and bring a faraway issue close to home.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A chilling expose of America's modern warfare program. See more »




Unrated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The film is dedicated "In memory of the lives lost on February 21, 2010". See more »

Crazy Credits

No person in this film disclosed classified material to the filmmakers. See more »

User Reviews

Unjustified War Is Morally Repugnant...However This Seems Like A Group Vendetta Against Drones
16 April 2019 | by AudioFileZSee all my reviews

The potential for the use of drone warfare to reduce loss of life in our military is definitely a paradigm shift. Of course when you can kill the enemy with less risk and even more efficiently there comes a huge morality element. It is a new psychology when one is able to kill with ease and without great immediate risk.

What I get in the first half hour of this film is this kind of killing might not be a job for but a few. I'm thinking these people claiming to suffer here may be too emotionally immature for the job they chose and were assigned. This is in part a failure of the vetting system as to who is equipped and suited to engage in a new very lethal element of war.

I'd like to think as a nation and military we are not using this death from above willy nilly. We must have extreme moral litmus tests in the pipe before we feel it is appropriate to resort to this kind of remote control judge, jury, and executioner. I think our military leaders do take this all into account and that when a deadly drone strike is used it passes multiple reviews of appropriateness. Sadly as in all war there will be horrendous mistakes. That isn't what, however, this film is looking at.

National Bird is a film where negatively affected former drone operators tell their PTSD stories, vent, and , pretty much, claim the way they worked was often morally wrong. While they may have a valid point the incompatibility of many of the young drone operators with their jobs once the killing starts must be addressed. It's clear these folks weren't well suited or prepared for their actual jobs. They were poorly vetted and ill-equipped for sure. I don't see this as particularly patriotic, but they have the right most certainly to make this film. I find it tilted toward propaganda. Propaganda that is heartfelt, but none the less propaganda. We all know there are always those who push an agenda in which it really is heartfelt which never assures that it is right however.

Like germ warfare drone warfare needs to be very tightly ruled over with morals at the very center of it all. Nations not abiding must be called out and dealt with by a moral code. I am not naive so I know like The Geneva Convention agreements there is still plenty of evil deviations. I trust The US, Canada, England, and all other freedom loving God fearing nations to set the bar and soon. I also think we're going to have to set new standards for those who we train for these drone related jobs. We need seasoned soldiers proven not to crack under deadly pressure who have chosen the military as a career. Not types here today and running their negative agendas when they leave the next week. These youngsters are the types I can see more fickle like that. They will suffer and they will make lots of negative interviews, even films, muddying the water claiming to be bastions of truth in their zeal, and pioneering yet another new form of PTSD. I feel for them, but I also think they weren't right for the job even before they began. I hope they move toward wellness and find peace. I didn't, however, want to finish this film after about half...too much propaganda for me. I do respect their right to make this film and for those who find it vital.

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English | Dari

Release Date:

11 November 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

National Bird See more »

Filming Locations:

Kabul, Afghanistan


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,030, 13 November 2016

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Ten Forward Films See more »
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