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14 customer reviews

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(Feb 24, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Product Description

Available for the first time on DVD, FTA is a riveting slice of the Vietnam anti-war movement, following Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherlands Free The Army Tour of U.S. Army bases in 1971.

The FTA is a now-fascinating 1972 documentary capturing actors Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland in a then-infamous traveling troupe of political theatre protesting both the Vietnam war and the presence of American military bases in Okinawa, the Philippines, Japan, and elsewhere along the Pacific Rim. A kind of anti-USO show, "FTA" (i.e., "F**K the Army") featured Fonda, Sutherland, folk musician Len Chandler, singer-songwriters Holly Near and Rita Martinson, and comedian Paul Mooney in a sketch-and-tune performance for dissident soldiers and sailors. The show itself doesn't leap out as particularly dynamic all these decades later, but it's the context that matters. Early on, Sutherland describes an assault by U.S. forces on a Vietnamese village as if he were calling a baseball game--a macabre but effective satire that rouses the audience. Fonda participates in a sketch about the way families of officers are treated far better by the American government than the families of ordinary grunts. Much of the film is dedicated to the comments and testimony of servicemen who had seen and done what most of us will never know about Vietnam. Black soldiers define and describe the role of racism in the war, and much is said about racist policies toward the native peoples of the countries where American bases were allegedly so unwelcome. Throughout, Fonda takes any opportunity to declare, in the most general terms, that U.S. troops don’t want to be in whatever country "FTA" is visiting, but again that kind of hyperbole was a then-part of everyone's life and times. --Tom Keogh

Special Features

  • Update: Interview with Jane Fonda

Product Details

  • Actors: Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland
  • Directors: Francine Parker
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: American Sign Language (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: February 24, 2009
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001HBVE7Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,609 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "FTA" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. J. Walsh on February 16, 2015
Format: DVD
Donald Sutherland had just made "MASH", Jane Fonda had just cut her hair but wasn't "Hanoi Jane" yet, but anyone who questions whether or not she supported the troops at the time should watch this and judge for themselves. The "entertainment" is dated but it seemed like their hearts were in the right place. Some of the soldiers they interview gave their honest insight at the time about a war they didn't choose to fight in, but some of what they say mirrors what soldiers today have said about wars we currently fight in. We still have cynical soldiers that ask "what are we fighting for?". There is one tense moment with a drunk heckler stopping the show, but they seemed to have a lot of love and support from the audience. A lot of soldiers today on active duty would never be on camera speaking their mind against their leaders.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gary Lee on August 24, 2014
Format: DVD
This important documentary about the antiwar movement during the Vietnam conflict is fascinating for uncovering hidden history of the resistance to the war and to U.S. imperialism in the Pacific Rim among the troops themselves. We see soldiers in all their humanity as they react to their plight at being drafted or recruited to fight a war they did not believe in. The FTA show was remarkable for the way it captured their disaffection and focused on specific issues that were creating their unrest at the time.

Unfortunately, the film gives only a fragmentary view of the show, which was put together by some very good writers and had top performers. The coherence of the material is lost in the scattershot approach. Only Donald Sutherland's riveting soliloquy at the finale gives a sense of the show's ability to deeply affect an audience. Didactically, the film is good, covering a catalog of grievances, but missed the chance to show the power of theater, "political vaudeville, as Jane Fonda called it, to spark social protest. Fonda's 20 minute present day interview, reminiscing on the genesis of the show and its impact, if included on the disc, is almost better than the film itself for making the viewer understand what the experience was all about.
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11 of 18 people found the following review helpful By HH on February 15, 2009
Format: DVD
I'm thrilled this is out FINALLY, it's an interesting movie, certainly the original demonstration wouldn't have gone so smoothly had Sutherland and Fonda not been involved, but as far as entertainment value, it's forced and mixed to say the least. Maybe if Abbie Hoffman, Lenny Bruce or the Smothers Brothers Variety writers had been involved at this point, it would have been a wittier, more clever show. As it stands, it has the subtlety of an axe through a forehead. Since a similar high profile show with "stars" wasn't done to protest our last ten years of administration, I think FTA shows how much more guts people had then to fight for something they believed in, without fear of unpopularity or jail time.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Beatrice M. Dewing on January 30, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film celebrates some forgotten history of the US Anti-War Movement.

During the US war against Vietnam, GI war resistors organized an active anti-war resistance movement within their own military organizations. Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland (who played Hawkeye in the original M*A*S*H movie) were among those performers who toured the Pacific Rim to entertain and encourage GI war resistors.

The film contains some hard-hitting and vibrant performances, showcasing local grass-roots musicians and reminding us how music unites, supports and energizes popular resistance movements.
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9 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Keith D. Danner on May 31, 2010
Format: DVD
This is exactly the corrective to the view out there that the anti-war movement and the army were somehow different during the Vietnam era. The army, like US society, was split. To see the number of soldiers who attended these shows, and their laughter at the skits that mock the idiocy of their commanding officers, is to see that the movement against the war was inside and outside the army. Is the content of the skits hilarious or inventive? Not particularly. But I would rather see this concrete evidence of solidarity with the soldiers from the anti-war movement than Bob Hope's silly jingoistic USO shows any day. The "F" in the title, by the way, stands not for "Free" the Army, but for a rather more forceful verb.

The film also shows, incidentally, the not insignificant sexism in the subsequent vilification of Fonda from the right. Why was there never the same level of vilification (which I would also have disagreed with) of Sutherland? Sexism.

If you are interested in completing your view of the war and of the movement against it, this is a good place to go. Also useful: The American War (book) For more on the Tet Offensive and its impact, see Tet: The Turning Point in the Vietnam War, by Don Oberdorfer, plus the collection of essays in Vietnam and America: The Most Comprehensive Documented History of the Vietnam War, edited by Marvin Gettleman, Jane Franklin, Marilyn Young and H. Bruce Franklin.

Gerald Nicosia's Home to War: A History of the Vietnam Veterans' Movement is a history based on hundreds of interviews with men who fought in Vietnam and then came home to be active in the antiwar movement. The War Within: America's Battle Over Vietnam by Tom Wells is a comprehensive history of the antiwar movement, from its earliest days to the end of the war in 1975.

For an excellent history that focuses specifically on the GI rebellion during the war, read David Cortright's Soldiers in Revolt, republished by Haymarket Books.
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