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The Power of Nightmares (2004)

Adam Curtis  |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

Price: $14.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Directors: Adam Curtis
  • Producers: BBC
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio:
  • DVD Release Date: November 19, 2007
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000ZI3G30
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #205,913 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Power of Nightmares" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

This film explores the origins in the 1940s and 50s of Islamic Fundamentalism in the Middle East, and Neoconservatism in America, parallels between these movements, and their effect on the world today...

This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media.'s standard return policy will apply.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
By Andy
Format:UMD for PSP
This is an important documentary film that covers the time period after WWII to the present, from the United States and Britain to Egypt, Afghanistan and Iraq. The detail and evidence is astonishing, shown far more vividly than can be found in most newspapers or even analytical news magazines. In places it's even surprisingly funny! It describes the rise of aggressive neoconservatism (most particularly in the US), in parallel with increasingly militant Islam in the Middle East. It shows how those political and religious ideologies are actually dependent upon each other to generate fear in the general population, of people trying to live their daily lives under conditions where those extremists have gained control. Also revealed is the likelihood that al-Qaeda does not exist, at least not as the international terrorist organization normally described in English-language news reporting. Although not for those with a short attention span, this film is recommended for everyone of voting age; four stars out of five because as long as this film is, it neglects to mention some actions in US foreign policy, despite the great significance of those events in historical context.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
My 5 star rating is for the content only. As others have already adequately reported, this Adam Curtis documentary is excellent and should be seen by all. However, the $22.99 version which I just purchased is the same low quality MPEG4 conversion as the lower-priced products. The video is very grainy and is not even close to the quality of the original BBC-TV production. My advice: Watch this on Google video or YouTube; if you must have the DVD, opt for the cheaper versions. Don't waste your money on the $22.99 edition.

It's criminal that there is no high quality version of this important documentary available at any price. Shame on the BBC for failing to create such a product. Amazon UK offers no version of The Power of Nightmares whatsoever. One really has to wonder if someone doesn't feel threatened by what Curtis has to say.
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brief Synopsis May 23, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Here's a brief synopsis of this film: a nutcase is a nutcase is a nutcase. And both the neocons and jihadists fit the bill perfectly. There's a definition of insanity currently making the rounds: that it's doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. But that can also be a symptom of just plain stupidity. A much better definition is doing something totally outrageous and expecting a result completely at odds with common sense and historical precedent. Perfect case in point: one of the Islamic jihadists who helped plan the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat actually believed that seeing the president assassinated would make the people see how corrupt the political system was and they would rise up in rebellion; whereas a sane man would have known that it's precisely in times of national tragedy that people cling all the more tightly to the status quo. Needless to say, this nutcase came in time to see not just the politicians as corrupt but the people themselves. So, too, the neocons set out to destroy Bill Clinton, who they hated; they actually imagined that once the impeachment proceedings began the people would see how corrupt he was and rise up in support of his imeachment. And, of course, they were horrified when the exact opposite happened. Which leads to the most telling piece of both the jihadist and neocon ideology: both believe that personal liberty - individual freedom - is the major symptom of a society's moral decay. Just think about that a moment: these idealogues see an ordinary citizen's freedom to make choices about his or her life as the number one symptom of moral depravity, because it somehow destroys shared social values. Read more ›
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very thoughtful and well argued December 13, 2007
Curtis does an excellent job of expressing his somewhat-Chomskian take on the so-called War on Terror. Even if one does not accept his every argument, there is still much here to that provokes thought. His emphasis on fear--fear for its own sake, fear as a policy--brings to mind Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine, and its argument of guns being a facet of public fear manufactured by the government for its own ends. Here, Curtis extends fear as a foreign policy, terror as a philosophy.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Low Quality DVD, but Excellent Docmentary April 15, 2009
This is NOT an official BBC DVD, but appears to be a low quality MPEG4 conversion. The source is probably the Internet Archives. Don't waste your money on this DVD: simply download the same quality MPEG4 version from


And, while you're at it, download Adam Curtis's other excellent documentary, "The Century of the Self." (Don't bother buying the DVD available here at Amazon, mistitled "Century of Self" - again, another MPEG4 to DVD conversion)
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:UMD for PSP
One would be hard pressed to find a documentary that does a more admirable job of explaining the logic of the conflict between the world created by the American Neoconservative movement and the terrorist ideology running throughout much of the Middle East today. It not only explains the intellectual sources of so much of the wrong-headedness rampant in the world today, but explains the symbiotic relationship between the Neoconservatives under George Bush and the Muslim extremists who have gathered under the banner of Al Queda. The film does a magnificent job of showing how each side has done a marvelous job of distorting and exaggerating the other and done an amazing job of exploiting the fear that their distortions have created.

The documentary rightfully begins by explaining who Sayyid Qutb and Leo Strauss are. Qutb is the Egyptian thinker who articulated theories that Arab culture had to be protected from the selfish individualism that drove Western liberalism. He believed in the creation of technologically developed states that relied upon Islamic law to dictate the norms of political and moral life. His ideas influenced a number of other Arab thinkers, including Ayman al-Zawahiri, who along with his disciple Osama bin Laden is the titular head of Al Queda. The film explains how al-Zawahiri has bizarrely distorted Qutb's extreme ideas to reason that everyday citizens in Islamic countries that support secular, non-Islamacist states, are in fact not Muslims because of that support and therefore can be killed (the film does not discuss the fact that the teaching that non-Muslims can be killed is an aberration in Muslim theology and would be challenged as valid by virtually all of the world's Muslims).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Every American needs towatch this movie - it explains very well why...
Every American needs to watch this movie - it explains very well why Eisenhower warned us to beware of the Military Industrial Complex and many other things.
Published 2 months ago by Ted Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent documentary scholarship and argument
Power of Nightmares is among the best in the genre of investigative journalism. It documents a critically important trend in the misuse of modern media.
Published 6 months ago by Stephen Schafer
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary Movie
This movie explains why things are such a mess now days. It only took two people and their bad ideas to pretty much ruin it for the rest of us.
Published 14 months ago by jay r. leininger
4.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening
I found this rather enlightening, if it is true. I have come to the point that I no longer believe anyone as I used to. Read more
Published 21 months ago by noclaimtofame
5.0 out of 5 stars worth it
This DVD is a must to have. it opens your eyes. This information will help you to realize and predict future events based on the strategies used by the elite and the new world... Read more
Published on March 25, 2012 by Carl A. Castillo
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Analysis of Al-Qaeda to date
This movie will probably not reinforce what you already believe. Instead it will throw light on an important subject as you have never seen it before. Read more
Published on May 9, 2011 by K. O. RN
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Analysis of Al-Qaeda
This movie will probably not reinforce what you already believe. Instead it will throw light on an important subject as you have never seen it before. Read more
Published on May 9, 2011 by K. O. RN
1.0 out of 5 stars WHAT A CROCK!
This is a grotesque, twisted revision of history created completely out of a cut and paste menagerie of storybook edits and compiled from truncated scraps of reality. Read more
Published on February 3, 2011 by bearlyme
1.0 out of 5 stars The Power of Nightmares
I bought this video on recommendation from a friend and watched it a week ago. Since I can remember absolutely nothing of what I viewed in the video, I suppose this review is... Read more
Published on June 21, 2010 by L. Ochs
5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars for content only...
It is unfortunate that this documentary cannot be given a more "proper" release. The free online version is certainly good enough. Read more
Published on January 30, 2010 by David Whittaker
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