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The Pentagon Papers


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The Pentagon Papers + The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
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Product Details

  • Actors: James Spader, Claire Forlani, Paul Giamatti, Alan Arkin, Kenneth Welsh
  • Directors: Rod Holcomb
  • Writers: Jason Horwitch
  • Producers: Rod Holcomb, Fritzi Horstman, John Sacret Young, Joshua D. Maurer, Stephen J. Turnbull
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: February 17, 2004
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000WN1N6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,123 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Pentagon Papers" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The story of Daniel Ellsberg, a high-ranking Pentagon official who, in his effort to preserve American democracy, leaks top-secret Defense Department documents to the media. Stars James Spader, Alan Arkin and Paul Giamatti.

From the Back Cover

Expose a nation's treachery...or protect it as a matter of national security? It's the dilemma facing Daniel Ellsberg (James Spader) when he stumbles across "The Pentagon Papers." Based on a true story, this compelling film traces the story of Ellsberg, an ambitious, Harvard-educated ex-Marine assigned to the top position at the Pentagon. As an analyst assigned to monitor the information coming out of Vietnam, Ellsberg is shocked to discover a 7,000-page, top-secret report that reveals the true extent of America's clandestine involvement in the conflict. And his decision to expose the stunning truth behind the government's active participation will either label him as national hero...or a seditious renegade, intent on damaging the nation's security and best interests. "The Pentagon Papers" is a powerful political drama, hailed by critics. Also starring Emmy Award-nominee Alan Arkin.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 24 customer reviews
I am a big fan of James Spader and he did a great job.
sleepingbeauty
This film goes further, providing an extremely rare opportunity to make us smarter about the inner workings of our government.
James R. Dustrude
One of the best stories about the strange goings-on in Washington, DC.
Joann C. Supulski

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By tahl2 on August 29, 2004
Format: DVD
Despite excellent supporting performances, this movie is really a one-man show: it's all about Spader's smart, emotional performance as Daniel Ellsberg.

Very little of the movie happens in the Watergate time-frame from which we know Ellberg's name. Most instead covers the ten years (roughly 1963-1973) during which he reached the point of thinking the most patriotic act he could take was to release top-secret Department of Defense material about the Vietnam war. It's an engrossing exploration of the great questions: what is duty? to whom do we owe loyalty?

Nothing explodes, except during a few striking, necessary scenes in Vietnam. Thanks be for intelligent film-making.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By LaDeBoBo on January 5, 2005
Format: DVD
THE PENTAGON PAPERS is a truly engrossing dramatic film! Despite being "made for TV," wonderful performances abound in this movie. James Spader--an extraordinarily gifted actor--gives a top-notch portrayal of Daniel Ellsberg, which keeps the viewers' attention throughout the course of the film. The story has a fascinating plot that explores a complex question: is treason justifiable when it will reveal the truth to the public? Should revealing classified documents to prove the failures of the Vietnam war be considered treason...or should it be considered an act of patriotism? This film thoughtfully considers these questions and more, and leaves you to form your own opinions about whether Ellsberg's actions were right or wrong.

If you are a fan of James Spader, this film is a must...as he is at his best here. For anyone interested in a good story, based on true events, this movie is worth a look!
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Nancy L. Middleton on September 16, 2005
Format: DVD
This movie came out on TNT within a month of the start of "Operation Iraqi Freedom." I had taped it off the TV and made copies of the TV broadcast for just about everyone I knew.

For those of us who watched with jaws dropped as Congress voted nearly unanimously to support the war, the movie brings back in vivid detail the times from the late 60's. I appreciate that it brought out the personal inner turmoil of a man who was initially a "hawk" (because he felt that Communism must be stopped), but who became convinced that the Viet Nam War was wrong and that he needed to do something to stop it, even at the risk of being tried for treason.

Having lived in Washington throughout the entire Watergate affair, leaving a week or two after Nixon, I really appreciate the delicious irony of the fact that Nixon was so anxious to discredit Ellsburg that he had his "Watergate Burglers" break into Ellsburg's psychiatrist office and steal his file. It was this contamination of due process that resulted in Ellsburg's trial being thrown out of court.

This movie is a must-see for any student of democracy, and any American who is under 45....
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. Walsh on April 12, 2010
Format: DVD
Though a serviceman involved in the Vietnam War, I never knew so much about what was really going on until seeing this great film. Want to know about Vietnam, political corruption, and the misuse of truth? See it!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By P. Schumacher on February 17, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This movie starts very slowly, but picks up momentum fast.

It is a clear and even moving account of Daniel Ellsberg, and his transformation from a gung-ho military analyst to the foremost opponent of the Vietnam War.

It does a great job in making his evolution believable.

The acting is good. James Spader is robotic, but that's appropriate to Ellsberg himself. Paul Giamatti is great as his also-evolving colleague. Claire Forlani begins better than she ends; toward the end of the movie she seems to be simply going through the motions--her performance lacks fire and sincerity. The woman who plays Ellsberg's first wife, however, is sensational.

Several nice touches:

The quick cuts between historical footage and what is happening in the film are seamless and powerful.

The scenes in Vietnam are a revelation.

The take on Nixon's thugs (Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell) is astonishing.

An informative, powerful film.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By sleepingbeauty on April 15, 2013
Format: DVD
This movie was very informative. I am a big fan of James Spader and he did a great job. It irritates me that our government lied to us. We need movies like this to be made.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sunny Mosley on January 30, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film was fascinating! James Spader characterization was engrossing. Have watched this depiction several times and seem not to get tired of it. Peaked my interest in this period of history which led to my purchase of "The Most Dangerous Man in America" and "All the President's Men". All of which I would recommend highly.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jorge Barbarosa on June 19, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I think this was made for TV. Good presentation or familiarization with the subject of Dan Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers. The papers themselves are on the web in .pdf files. Exhaustive reading but worth it. This film put the actual events behind the report and how it was made public into a nice neat package.
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