Hearts and Minds 1974 NR CC

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(65) IMDb 8.4/10
Available in HD

A startling and courageous film, Peter Davis's landmark 1974 documentary unflinchingly confronted the United States' involvement in Vietnam at the height of the controversy surrounding it. Using a wealth of sources--from interviews to footage of the conflict and the upheaval it caused on the home front--Davis constructs a powerfully affecting picture of the disastrous impacts of war.

Georges Bidault, Clark Clifford
1 hour 52 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

Hearts and Minds

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Product Details

Genres Military & War, Documentary
Director Peter Davis
Starring Georges Bidault, Clark Clifford
Supporting actors George Coker, Kay Dvorshock, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Daniel Ellsberg, Randy Floyd, J. William Fulbright, Brian Holden, William Marshall, Robert Muller, Khanh Nguyen, Walt Rostow, William C. Westmoreland, Ngo Dinh Diem, Chi Minh Ho, Bob Hope, Lyndon Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy
Studio The Criterion Collection
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 3-day viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

I fully expect HEARTS AND MINDS to blow him away!
Eric Weiss
Many of the students had dads, uncles, even brothers who had fought in the VietNam war.
Amazon Customer
This is, without doubt, one of the best, most memorable movies I have ever seen.
Geoff Scotton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

93 of 104 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 5, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The images from Hearts and Minds are disturbingly heartbreaking and grotesque. For example, a naked little girl is shown running down a road with skin pealing off her body as napalm continues to eat into her flesh. American soldiers watch the girl running by them, until it seems as if the camera that is capturing the moment urges the soldiers to help the girl. A Viet Cong suspect is shot point blank in the head on the street and his body falls to the ground with blood pulsating out of his temple. A child cries in agony by the grave of someone close to him while the grave diggers take a break with a cool Coca Cola. These unsettling scenes slowly descend into some unused space of the brain as they will return to consciousness in order to haunt the viewer of the horrors of the Vietnam War at a later time.

Peter Davis had accumulated over 200 hours of footage before beginning the long process of editing down the film into a feasible 112 minutes. During these 112 minutes the audience gets to follow how the American mindset which is created from young age, and how it influenced the decisions of the war. Davis brings the audience to a high school football game where young minds are formed into believing that what they do is right and that they have to win at all costs. Similar mentality saturates the thinking behind the American decision makers as President Lyndon B. Johnson increased the American participation in the war, to which he stated, "The ultimate victory will depend on the hearts and minds of the people who actually live out there." The President's statement also became the title for the film.
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102 of 115 people found the following review helpful By Lyle B. Forehand on July 14, 2002
Format: DVD
It's interesting that so many of those who have reviewed this film have included information about when and where they first saw it. But I understand. In 1974 we had cowardly withdrawn our promised assistance to our Vietnamese "friends." The riots had stopped. We stopped caring about a war that continued unabated; the evening news no longer led with stories of American vs. "bad guy" bodycounts. I saw the film in a theater located on one of the very streets where the most bottles had been thrown by students and other youth, and where the most heads had been bashed by Seattle's finest (gee, some things never change!) When the film ended there was absolute silence: no one spoke; no one moved from their seat; it seemed no one even breathed. After almost a minute you could finally hear some muffled sobs only. There were, and are, no words to express the darkness of men's souls; there is only art. And, besides being a good documentary on the Vietnam war,
(by "good" I mean it will anger both sides, and provoke much conversation and debate,) this film is art, of the most important kind.
A late-blooming "child of the 60's" I am oft-dismayed that more recent generations neither know nor value the cultural icons of our youth, many of which I still hold dear. But the single most true thing about our generation was growing up in the shadow of a news machine that fed us war and hate on a daily basis. A shadow that was sometimes our own hatred, and sometimes our fear of oncoming nuclear missles (which fortunately never came,) or the fear of a loved one in a body bag.
Please watch this film. You'll gain a better understanding, not just of part of the war, but of a part of the soul of America . . .my part.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By T. Biddle on July 31, 2006
Format: DVD
To start off, the "criticism" that this film is "too one-sided" or has "an agenda", demonstrates a lack of understanding of what a documentary is and does. Documentary filmmakers ALL have agendas; they have a point-of-view and must engage viewers emotionally or they fail in their task.

I saw "Hearts and Minds" in college in about 1977. The campus auditorium was packed with mostly sympathetic "liberal" college students, with the exception of about half a dozen uniformed military clearly present to ridicule the film and voice their opposition. As has been mentioned in other reviews, a stunned silence gripped the room at the end of the film, as the parade clown shouting "Come on! Smile! Get happy!" pranced into the fade-out at the end of the credits. The only sound was the audible sobbing coming from the military protesters. We as an audience stayed to talk to them and to help them deal with the emotions they were experiencing. It was one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had at a movie. It forever burned the power of film into my mind.

Of course, the filmmakers have an anti-war agenda. Of course, the film is harshly critical of a government that, in its view, sent a generation off to an un-winnable war and basically forgot about them and the horrific experience they endured. The film is compassionate and caring about the soldiers in the Vietnam war while being unmerciful in its presentation of the politicians and upper-echelon bureaucrats who perpetuated the war. ("Are you really asking me this goddamn silly question, Mr. Davis?" asks presidential advisor Walt Rostow, almost rolling his eyes, when asked to explain the origins of the Vietnam conflict.
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