Customer Reviews: Fidel: The Untold Story
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on October 17, 2003
This DVD will be considered heretical by some because it dares to present the idea that not only is there a perspective behind Cuba's communist leader but there is also an individual man.
Here you will see a review of Castro's life, his rise to power, his huge significance for third world countries, his essential contribution to freedom in South Africa, his conflicts with the USA, and (another heresy) his conflicts with, and independence from, the erstwhile Soviet Union. There are more heresies as well. Viewers will be surprised to see Castro publicly admit to mistakes, awkwardly avoid questions about his romantic life because he believes that private lives are not anyone's business (a socialist thinks that--imagine!), his notorious competitive side in sports and games. The film accomplishes this through many interviews with him, old footage of Castro, and interviews with his friends and compatriots. I was most surprised about how shy Castro seemed one-on-one.
I highly recommend the film because it dares to show a picture of Castro that observers rarely get in the USA. I haven't seen a better film on Castro than this one.
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on June 20, 2005
I watched this movie a few months ago and came away very impressed. This movie is a bringing-to-light of the positive acts of the Revolution. Discussed are Cuba's health-care & education systems, the Revolution's role in struggles for Colonial Liberation (most notably South Africa, as acknowledged in this film by Nelson Mandela), and much, much more.

Some will dimiss this film as nothing more than a pro-Revolution propaganda piece. That is unfortunate. While this film is unabashedly sympathetic to Fidel and the Revolution, to criticize it on those grounds alone is childish. If you expect a two hour movie to tell you what Cuba is REALLY all about, you are being naive. It is impossible. To truly understand Cuba, you have to get your information from a variety of sources. Too often, people expect everything they need to know to come from one source. That is just not how it works, especially when it comes to Cuba, and even more so when it comes to films about Cuba.

I see this movie as being one piece of a puzzle that you must put together on your own if you want to understand Cuba. And the understanding at which you arrive will not be the same as everybody else; There will always be differences of opinion regarding Cuba, even among the most learned.

Watch this movie for what it is, a two-hour exposition on the positive acts of the Revolution, and you will not be disappointed. You will only be disapppointed if you expect this to be a "balanced" or a "critical" look at the life of Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution. Like I've said, you just won't find objectivity in materials on Cuba (Jon Lee Anderson' biography of Che Guevara being perhaps a notable exception.)
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on August 11, 2006
What is so rewarding about this traditional-style documentary is the humanization of Castro, a figure made grotesque and often demonized in the United States by a very small minority of persons. Regardless of how you perceive "socialism", this documentary shows Castro from a relatively positive profile and therefore his and Cuba's history from a unique perspective. Americans will be surprised to discover that in many parts of the globe Castro is considered a great hero, whereas here he is portrayed as equal parts monster and tyrant. No mention is made of repressive measures or political prisoners however, an interesting omission, but given the fact that almost all reports and documentaries focus exclusively on his "repression" and the fate of political prisoners, it is somewhat understandable. Even the uneducated would benefit from seeing this documentary, and would probably think of Castro in a different light.
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on September 20, 2005
I've seen other DVDs that were clearly biased against Fidel and the Cuban Revolution. This one was less critical than most orthodox Marxists would be, however I still enjoyed it and recommend it to many people.
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on November 21, 2004
As everyone points out this film is bias, which it is. Yet everyone points that he was a bad person, which killed many people among other things. On the other hand it is interesting to understand why so many people love him, both in Cuba and around the world.

The film does a great job of showing the other side of what we think of Castro. It is pretty even handed in that regard. Most of the negative reviews and comments come from uninformed Americans or Miami Cuban-Americans who hated Castro. Yet Castro has done a lot for Cuba and the rest of the world. The footage is great to see. It helps to reinforce the idea of what Castro has done. An example of this is showing him testing out a bed in a new resort that was being built. This is important because it helps to show that Castro was pushing to create new forms of economy.

Over all it is a good film. Again, bias, yes, but it helps to give a better-rounded idea of who Castro was.
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on October 3, 2005
This film presents the rationale and strategy for the Cuban Revolution from Castro's perspective. It is an exciting story of his motivation, challenges, and tireless efforts to keep the revolution going in Cuba and other oppressed countries despite interference from the U.S. It doesn't include criticism of Castro's Cuba, but you can get that from many sources. If you want to understand why the U.S. Government is so hard on Castro, this film will show you.
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on February 20, 2007
America never gets the real story- should be required viewing.
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on April 3, 2008
Very good film, everyone should be able to see both the bad side of Fidel which we read about in our history books and see in the media, and the good which I got to see for the first time in this film. Only then can we draw our own conclusions and stop being puppets who only believe what the media wants us to believe. Very insightful movie and very easy to understand.
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on March 15, 2005
When you think of Fidel Castro, what do you think? If you are like me - born and raised in America and have only seen American news your whole life, you think of a brutal dictator and somebody we are "not suppose to" like. In reality, Castro is a brave revolutionary who has stood up to the world's only superpower. He is also a guy who is modest and gets emotional about helping human beings.

Here's what the documentary is about:

- There was a leader named Batista. Basically Batista didn't want any opposition groups running against him so Fidel and other dissenters were tortured and imprisoned.

- After Fidel is released from prison, he lives in the hills of Cuba and garners support for a revolution.

- Fidel and the revolution overthrow the Batista government. Batista supporters flee the country (a lot of them come to Miami, Florida.)

- Fidel makes landmark achievements in Cuba. He makes universal healthcare for everyone, ends illiteracy (the first American country to do so - even our country has 44 million illiterate people).

- Basically Cuba is able to survive because they sell sugar and other exports to the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union collapses and sadly Cuba has a financial crises. Food, fuel and other things become rationed.

Even though Castro has his own country of Cuba to take care of, this documentary shows that he helped out Vietnam, Bolivia, Angola and others.

Here are the three reasons why 9 American Presidents have tried to kill Castro and why our media portrays Castro as a "madman"

- Cuba is a communist country with nationalized businesses so American can't do business there

- Batista supporters who live in Miami and in other States lobby the U.S. government to overthrow him.

Sadly from Chile to Nicargua to Panama and other countries, the U.S. has continually stopped the people in those countries from having a democracy. Basically, Cuba is the country that got away from us. If freedom is so important to the U.S., than why doesn't the U.S. let other countries live peacefully, with self-determination? Here's an analogy of the U.S. relationship with Cuba - imagine a small person laying on the floor and a much bigger person having their foot on the smaller person's neck. That is how we are treating Cuba. If you want info on how you can help the Cubans who don't deserve to be treated like this - here's a website I know of - [...]

It's true how reviewers say there isn't freedom of press there. But it is in exchange for providing everyone with an education and healthcare. I saw plenty of times in this documentary where thousands of Cubans marched in the streets and they did vote - and nobody stopped them. Yes, there are some Cubans who live in Cuba who would like a capitalistic country. That is his or her choice, and every human being envisions a different way government should be. But it is hypocritical of us to say that dissenters in Cuba are arrested when in America the Communist Party, USA and the Socialist Workers Party have been wiretapped by the FBI and arrested by the U.S. government numerous times simply for wanting a different type of government.

I strongly suggest you watch this movie to understand our foreign policy.
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on October 22, 2012
Most people in the US know absolutely nothing about Cuba. We know even less about Cuba in the 1960s. While this film doesn't really get into much about Cuban foreign relations during that period, it does give an idea of conditions at that time on the island and peoples' attitudes. It also is a pretty intimate look at Fidel Castro and his perspectives on the Cuban Revolution, at a point characterized by a mix of heady idealism and blunt reality. Highly recommended.
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