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Comment: Disc has some light scratches around outer edges, in case with artwork & insert. DVD viewed in full and plays clearly. From a private collection. UPC 094922550958
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Occupation: Dreamland

16 customer reviews

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(Mar 07, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

An unflinchingly candid portrait of a squad of American Soldiers deployed in the doomed Iraqi city of Falluja during the winter of 2004. Filmmakers Garrett Scott and Ian Olds were given full access to all operations of the Army's famed 82nd Airborne, and lived with the unit 24/7.

Many Americans drive around with "Support Our Troops" stickers affixed to their vehicles, and if Occupation: Dreamland is any indication, the men and women who are serving their country in Iraq could certainly use it. Filmed in early 2004, director-editor Ian Olds' documentary (for which he was given full access by the U.S. authorities) follows a group of soldiers from the Army's 82nd Airborne Division stationed in al-Falluja (also known as Falloujah), Iraq's "city of mosques," where their mission is to maintain the peace and root out insurgents, but their goal is simply to survive their tours of duty and go home. Many of these young men, a lot of them poor and under-educated, joined the military because they lacked viable career or life alternatives; once stationed in Iraq, they clearly wonder why they are there ("What exactly are we protecting?" asks one. "I don't know"). Their daily lives, at least as depicted rather matter-of-factly by Olds, seem to consist of stretches of drudgery punctuated by occasional outbursts of gunfire and dangerous activity, along with meetings in which officers try to persuade them to re-enlist once their contracts expire. Although there are snipers and bombers around, we don't witness any casualties (filming was completed before the Marines laid bloody siege to al-Falluja in April of that same year). Instead, what we see is an uneasy co-existence between locals who don't want them there ("America can go to the moon and make nuclear rockets," says one Iraqi, "but it can't make the people") and soldiers who are duty-bound to fulfill their missions and understand why they are mistrusted, but have little sympathy for those they are supposed to help ("I hate these people," mutters one). They may call their base of operations "Dreamland" (it's actually an abandoned Ba'athist retreat), but for most of these guys, "nightmare" might be more appropriate. --Sam Graham

Special Features

  • Side A:
  • Feature Film with optional commentaries
  • Side B:
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Fallujah in Context: Timeline of the assault, select footage of Marine assault and select footage of residents during April's siege
  • Where are they now?
  • NBC Today Show profile on film
  • WNYC feature radio interview with Leonard Lopate

Product Details

  • Actors: Matthew Bacik, Chris Corcione, Eric Forbes, Patrick Napoli, Thomas Turner
  • Directors: Ian Olds, Garrett Scott
  • Producers: Garrett Scott, Irene Min, Nancy Roth, Selina Lewis Davidson
  • Format: Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Rumur Releasing
  • DVD Release Date: March 7, 2006
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000DZ7XYI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,139 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Occupation: Dreamland" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Anne K. Hall on February 20, 2006
Format: DVD
We've all seen so much of the debate for and against the war, the glamorous hollywood depictions, the local hero eulogies in our home towns, but this is the first movie that I've known of that lets the soldiers speak for themselves. It's important and truly fascinating to see what really goes on in Iraq, day to day on the streets and in the bunk rooms. Everybody says they support the troops but it's so easy to forget that they're a diverse group of individuals with dreams, fears, and opinions about this work that they're doing. It's also really interesting to see them interact with the Iraqi citizens and to get their view on the occupation.

As a person with a close family member recently sent home after getting injured in Iraq, these soldiers really ring true to me. I was happy to get to know them a little bit through this film. These men and women are slowly returning and picking up their lives. If we truly support them, we will make an effort to understand what they've been through as we welcome them back home.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sean Young on November 29, 2007
Format: DVD
This film really shows the average experiences of the infantry in Iraq. I am a Soldier with 2 tours in Iraq and there is no other documentary that covers the war that I can relate to like this. It follows a squad from the 82nd Airborne on their day to day lives pulling missions in Fallujah. It really gives you a feel what it is like to deal with the Iraqis and the soldier's feelings on it. From combat missions to reenlistment briefings this film puts you in the lower enlisted and junior NCO's shoes.

A lot of the other reviews were saying things about it being anti-war and I completely disagree. You get a lot of honest comments from the Soldier's and Iraqi civilians, it's honesty, not anti-war. It's funny how combat troops on the ground have more empathy for people that are potentially trying to kill them than Americans 10,000 miles away.

A few other films that cover this war that are worth watching;

Combat Diary The Marines of Lima CO, this is an unfortunate story and every American should hear it. These Marines dealt with the worst case scenerio and somehow drove on.

Gunner Palace, this film shows how support troops live in Iraq. These guys are an embarrassment to the US Army, however it is still acurate on how a lot of troops live in Iraq
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Joseph A. Fiorentino on April 3, 2006
Format: DVD
I really found this film affecting. It is not partisan or simplistic. It respects our troops by listening and being there. The military team the audience gets to hang with is strikingly diverse on every level. I walked out of the theater thinking that insight is more interesting than "answers". Every American should see this film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Shmuckatelli on April 2, 2011
Format: DVD
I first watched this movie while stationed just a few miles from the city of Falluja itself in 2008. It was shocking and honest in a way that "documentaries" are no longer usually portrayed. It was not some sort of anti-war propaganda spewed by a leftest European commentator. It is a video chronology of everything that happened to one specific unit of soldiers prior to the first battle for Falluja. The words are not spoken by the film maker, and no agenda is forced. The words are mainly from the soldiers, and occasionally from the civilians, and possibly insurgents (at least they were mad enough to be insurgents). The events are tragic and disheartening to the viewer and the soldiers involved, but what a normal civilian viewer might not notice is everything that was being done wrong.

By 2008, long after the second battle of Falluja, and after "The Surge", so many lessons had been learned from the blood, sweat, and tears from deployments like the one in "Occupation: Dreamland", that it seemed like the events in this documentary were unimaginable. "Dreamland" is like a crash course in the "why" of modern tactics. It shows, from top to bottom, everything that should NEVER be done in current COIN or urban operations, before anyone ever wrote down the right way. The wrong responses to IED's, the wrong tactics for patrolling, the wrong attitudes of command, the wrong way to do everything. By the end of the movie, you might feel like clearly the city of Falluja is doomed to be a hotbed of terrorism in Iraq, and that US efforts to quell the area are hopeless. Except for the fact that the city has been relatively quiet for years. Combat troops pulled out of Falluja before most other large population centers. I know, I watched huge convoys of Marines head home from a rather quiet Camp Falluja.
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19 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Compusurge on February 20, 2006
Format: DVD
Two primary thoughts I would convey about Occupation Dreamland: 1) It's very real. This is not a typical war film... it embraces reality with two arms wrapped around it and brings you inside a situation that is on the brink of chaos. 2) No matter which side of the political debate you reside on, Dreamland is a film you ought to see.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MP06011999 on October 13, 2012
Format: DVD
It's so very sad that while America has two major wars raging you are hard pressed to find ANY major media coverage. There was better coverage of Vietnam! So, if you want to see what your government has been working so hard at making sure you don't see, watch this. Watch the extras if you want to see more of the story.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Adam Galinsky on March 18, 2006
Format: DVD
Going into this movie I was expecting a tired rendition of war-time life. Instead I found a gripping portrait of a number of brave soldiers who were burdened with fighting an enemy they could not see or find. This movie offers a window into the real situation in iraq- one uncluttered by the overblown pomposity of the nightly news. See this movie!!!
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