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Chicago 10

4.3 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From Brett Morgen, director of The Kid Stays in the Picture, comes a highly-stylized and wildly original documentary film, chronicling the real-life events surrounding the anti-war protest of the 1968 Democratic National Convention held in Chicago and the charismatic protest organizers brought to trial by the city. Told through a visually-arresting animation style and a bold use of archival footage and music, Chicago 10 channels yesterday's voices for peace in a manner that speaks peace for today.


Some documentaries endow historical events with context, while others recreate them in all their messy glory, leaving viewers to organize the chaos themselves. Brett Morgen (co-director, The Kid Stays in the Picture) takes the latter tack in his multi-media reconstruction of the protests during 1968's Democratic National Convention. Using the ensuing conspiracy trial as a framing device, he assembles archival footage and animated sequences into a Rorschach-type pattern (the title refers to the eight defendants and their attorneys). Further, he turns to blistering tracks from the Beastie Boys and Rage Against the Machine to distinguish his doc from the usual nostalgia parade--sprinkled with period-appropriate selections, like Black Sabbath's "War Pigs." In the motion-capture portions, actors voice the primary players: Yippie leaders Abbie Hoffman (Hank Azaria) and Jerry Rubin (Mark Ruffalo), Black Panther Bobby Seale (Jeffrey Wright), Prosecutor Thomas Foran (an ultra-raspy Nick Nolte), and Judge Julius Hoffman (Roy Scheider, in one of his final roles). Until the tone darkens towards the end, Chicago 10 is almost too diverting for its own good. Hoffman and Rubin come across as charismatic comedians rather than committed activists, though there’s nothing funny about their furor over the conflict in Vietnam. If Morgen spends too much time on their Marx Brothers-like antics--in attempting to expose the ridiculousness of their plight, they sometimes seem more like petulant pranksters than First Amendment champions--Chicago 10's contemporary relevance makes it necessary viewing for free-speech proponents and anti-war protestors alike. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

  • Chicago 10 Remix Contest Winner

Product Details

  • Actors: Jeffrey Wright, Nick Nolte, Roy Scheider, Hank Azaria, Dylan Baker
  • Directors: Brett Morgen
  • Writers: Brett Morgen
  • Producers: Brett Morgen, Alison Beckett, Bill Pohlad, Christopher J. Keene, Diane Weyermann
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Animated, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: August 26, 2008
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001AXU1FA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,738 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Chicago 10" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
In September of 1969, Abbie Hoffman and fellow radical activists Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, and Lee Weiner were hauled into court along with Black Panther Bobby Seale on a grand jury indictment for allegedly conspiring to incite the massive anti-Vietnam war protests and resulting violent mayhem that transpired in the Chicago environs during the 1968 Democratic Convention. What resulted is arguably the most overtly political "show trial" in American history.

Using a mélange of animation, archival footage and voiceover re-creation by well-known actors, Brett Morgen expands even further on the eye-catching multimedia technique that he and co-director Nanette Burstein used in their 2002 doc The Kid Stays in the Picture.

The bulk of the animated sequences are re-enactments from the trial itself, with dialog lifted directly from courtroom transcripts (and trust me, no rewrites were required because you couldn't make this stuff up). This visual technique perfectly encapsulates the overall circus atmosphere of the trial, which was largely fueled by Hoffman and Rubin's amusing yet effective use of "guerilla theatre" to disrupt the proceedings and accentuate what they felt to be the inherent absurdity of the charges. The courtroom players are voiced by the likes of Nick Nolte (as prosecutor Thomas Foran), Jeffrey Wright (as Bobby Seale) and the late Roy Scheider (in full "fuddy-duddy" mode as Judge Hoffman).

Do not, however, mistake this film as a gimmicky and superficial "cartoon" that only focuses on the hijinx. There is plenty of evidence on hand, in the form of archival footage (fluidly incorporated by editor Stuart Levy) to remind us that these were very serious times.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The CHICAGO 10 DVD is a gripping movie about the 1968 trial of the "Chicago 8" (later the Chicago 7 when Bobby Seale was separated from the others) who were charged with conspiracy and inciting a riot, among other charges, for the massive demonstrations that took place during the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. People, especially young people, from all over the USA convened to protest the Vietnam War when the massive march went awry and cops began attacking the marchers.

Anyway, the movie combines animation and archival footage of the events that took place during that August 1968. The animation is mainly in the courtroom, which is based on the court transcripts. Everything else is shown through footage either from news feeds or amateur video.

I found the movie gripping as the action switches back and forth from the court house trial to the actions happening during the marches etc., culminating in the mess that was captured by news cameras covering the convention of police unloading on helpless people.

Unfortunately there aren't any extras other than a remixed trailer for the movie. I would have liked to see some more footage of the night in question, but I guess what's in the film is enough.

Recommended for anyone who likes the 60s, history, or counter culture.
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Format: DVD
The SF Chronicle movie page editors headlined their review: "Chicago 10 painted as heroes, but they come off as obnoxious." Millions murdered in a crazy war on the other side of the world by that infamous President from Texas (Lyndon "How many boys did you kill today?" Johnson, not today's imposter George W. Bush), thousands and thousands of young draftees thrown into the vortex of slaughter -- and Abbie Hoffman is obnoxious? Read more: [...]
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Format: DVD
"Chicago 10" is the best documentary I have ever seen of the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention protest. That I'm aware, it's also only the second movie of the Chicago 7+1 trial, which grew out of the U.S. government's attempt to justify the use of excessive force against convention protesters. Counterproductively for the government, the trial immortalized the eight defendants and their two lawyers for which this movie is named.

I've never seen most of this filmed protest footage. At last, there is enough original 1968 material organized in one movie, to visualize the Chicago physical situation experienced by perhaps 40,000 people on all sides. The documentary is presented by sequential intercutting of trial transcript and recreation video animations, with 1968 actuality films, TV, radio, and audio recordings. Historians can now see what was happening almost sequentially in several large outdoor venues.

The 1970 Chicago Seven trial transcript helps organize the original 1968 protest footage. The shockingly bloody park and street confrontation scenes keep the trial's political philosophy arguments relevant and interesting.

A mixed classical and rock movie score is alien in a documentary, and some of the classical pieces are strikingly inappropriate. I recall much of the music as excessively loud. But enough of everything else worked that a defense of this overwhelming music as avant-garde art is acceptable to me.

The "Chicago 10" production device of realistic human animation solves the problem of adding visual interest to audio-only original recordings, and blends well with full voice-over animation of the trial's transcript-only original record. 1968 was an era on the cusp of transition from black-and-white to color film.
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