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Hearts and Minds (The Criterion Collection)

71 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

A courageous and startling film, Peter Davis' landmark documentary Hearts and Minds unflinchingly confronts the United States' involvement in Vietnam. Using a wealth of sources-from interviews to newsreels to documentary footage of the conflict at home and abroad-Davis constructs a powerfully affecting portrait of the disastrous effects of war. Explosive, persuasive, and shocking, Hearts and Minds is an overwhelming emotional experience and the controversial winner of the 1974 Academy Award® for Best Documentary.

Special Features

  • New Digital Transfer Supervised By the Director and Cinematographer
  • Accompanying Booklet Containing Multiple Printed Essays On The Film

Product Details

  • Actors: Dwight D. Eisenhower, William Marshall, Georges Bidault, Les Brown, Clark Clifford
  • Directors: Peter Davis
  • Producers: Peter Davis, Bert Schneider, Henry Lange, Mike Burns, Richard Pearce
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: June 25, 2002
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006673L
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,142 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Hearts and Minds (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 106 people found the following review helpful By Swederunner 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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103 of 116 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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28 of 29 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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