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The Trials of Henry Kissinger

39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Did Henry Kissinger sabotage the 1968 Vietnam peace talks for his own political gain? Did he orchestrate the secret bombing of Cambodia without approval from the U.S. Congress? Did he authorize covert operations - involving kidnapping and assassination -

Even as it preaches to those who will relish its witch-hunting zeal, The Trials of Henry Kissinger makes a potent assertion that the legendary diplomat and former Secretary of State is guilty of crimes against humanity. Produced for the BBC, seductively narrated by actor Brian Cox, and based on the scathing book by Christopher Hitchens (a Kissinger-bashing journalist featured heavily here in talking-head interviews), this film is clearly biased against its target, but there's ample documentation to support its claims that Kissinger prolonged the Vietnam war and orchestrated the illegal and indiscriminate bombing of Cambodia; supervised the 1973 coup against democratically elected Chilean president Allende; and played a role in U.S.-backed atrocities in East Timor. Expert interviews on both sides of the political fence (but mostly damning Kissinger) make this a compelling, information-packed example of situational ethics in action; additional viewings simultaneously deepen the film's conviction and reveal the weakness of its one-sided embrace of Hitchens. Either way, this is essential viewing for anyone interested in the labyrinthine machinations of international power. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Brian Cox, Henry Kissinger, Anna Chennault, Amy Goodman, Alexander Haig
  • Directors: Eugene Jarecki
  • Writers: Christopher Hitchens, Alex Gibney
  • Producers: Eugene Jarecki, Alex Gibney, David Holbrooke, Jennie Amias, Roy Ackerman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: First Run Features
  • DVD Release Date: August 19, 2003
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009V7S0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,734 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Trials of Henry Kissinger" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Raymondjack on January 11, 2005
Format: DVD
I remember growing up and having no qualms whatsoever about the greatness of Henry Kissinger. I mean, that's the popular mythology: a brilliant man devotes his life to public service, and helps to forge the tough, realist diplomacy that helped America win the Cold War. But as one gets older, and learns how to learn, the facade of many national myths slides to the floor, and what's left is often cruel and ugly. This film lays bare the disparity between what we want to believe about ourselves, and what is actually true. The brilliant German expatriate diplomat is actually a deluded, homicidal madman, drunk on the hooch of power. Kissinger is the perfect illustration of how secrecy and centralized power are the ultimate evils of a democracy, no matter how sincere the original intent. Buy this DVD, then share it with your friends.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Steven Hellerstedt on September 25, 2004
Format: DVD
Inspired by Christopher Hitchens' magazine articles and book, THE TRIALS OF HENRY KISSINGER is a fascinating indictment of its title character. It's a fairly traditional documentary, following a rough chronology of events and employing a voice over narrator (Brian Cox.)

Understandably enough, Kissinger wanted no part of this project. His chief accusers are a pair of pit bull investigative journalists, Hitchens and Seymour Hersh. To their credit, the filmmakers follow each accusation with either an archived taped response of Kissinger answering the charge in another forum and/or a rebuttal by former aides and associates, including Alexander Haig, Brent Scowcroft, William Safire and Kissinger biographer Walter Isaacson. Indeed, given the high powered wordsmiths in this one it's Haig who delivers the best line when at one point he leans forward in his chair and calls Hitchens a "sewer pipe sucker."

Kissinger's major crimes, the actionable and the other, are all treated here. Included is his duplicitous behavior while negotiating a peace agreement with North Vietnam while a member of President Johnson's negotiating team - Kissinger funneled information to the Nixon campaign, which may well have tipped the close election to our last Quaker president. The complex story of Kissinger's involvement in Vietnam and the secret bombing of Cambodia are treated, as is his decision to wiretap his aides, the Indonesian invasion of East Timor and finally his involvement in events leading up to overthrow of Chilean President Salvador Allende.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Messian Dread on November 8, 2004
Format: DVD
When George W. Bush wanted to appoint Henry Kissinger as chairman of the 911 Whitewash comittee, a lot of people stood up and protested over this blatant and arrogant choice of the elite.

After all, Henry Kissinger is the kind of guy who has to check out with his lawyers before he enters a certain country, because there are so many charges against him all over the world.

For those who wonder why, this movie could answer a lot of your questions. You will see what Henry Kissinger has done over the years, his involvement in world politics and the games he played behind the scene.
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Format: DVD
About 2,500 years ago, a Scythian philosopher, Anarcharis, maintained that "laws were like cobwebs; strong enough to detain only the weak, and too weak to hold the strong."
The moral question posed in this compelling 80 minute documentary is, 'Are American citizens, and US government officials in particular, exempt from prosecution and trial when charged with crimes against humanity?' The world community, represented by the International Criminal Tribunal, with its uniform definitions and international laws, is clear on what constitutes crimes against humanity. In the wake of the terrible tragedy of September 11, and the war in Iraq against Saddam Hussein and his Baathist regime, this question takes on additional importance, and new meaning for Americans. Are we to hold ourselves, and our country's leaders, to a lesser standard than we apply to all other nations? How do government leaders make decisions between power and morality; between national interests and idealism? Is there a middle ground between these choices - a possibility to act morally as a country, while protecting our own national interests? Do war criminals reside only in nations whose interests are unfavorable to our own?
On September 11, 2001, mass murder was committed against innocent US civilians, by a group of terrorists, all belonging to the same organization. The US government, and the international community, has sworn to bring to justice those who conceived, organized and commanded the tragic event, and to destroy their organization.
After WWII, those who committed atrocities against humanity were brought to trial, judged and punished accordingly.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Nichomachus on May 29, 2004
Format: DVD
I'd read Hitchens' original Harpers essay and the subsequent book, and one won't find a lot of surprises if you're familiar with those. This documentary is a BBC production, sort of triggered by Hitchens' TRIAL OF HENRY KISSINGER, but it is not necessarily a Hitchens-focused work, although he pops up in it. Thus, this is not a polemic and doesn't pretend to draw final and ultimate conclusions about Kissinger. In one of the extras, the director puts it well, saying they're "making a case for a case" against Kissinger. An indictment, if you will, but not a trial.
Kissinger's early career is only very briefly covered; the producers want very quickly to get us into his machinations during the 1968 Paris peace talks, and the case for Kissinger's manipulation of said talks to affect the outcome of the 1968 election in favor of Nixon. A fascinating interview with a candid Anna Chennault is included. I wish I could have seen the entire interview (Sterling Seagrave's THE SOONG DYNASTY and LORDS OF THE RIM will help give some background on the Chinese right-wingers that ended up in the US). Nixon's backchannel to S. Vietnam's President Nguyen Van Thieu (and LBJ's knowledge of it via the FBI) is now fairly undisputed. Read Larry Berman's scathing and merciless NO PEACE, NO HONOR: NIXON, KISSINGER, AND BETRAYAL IN VIETNAM for an excellent, primary source-based study on this subject (most of the documents are from National Archive and the Ford Library, since Kissinger still has the lock on his files).
The makers here focus on three of Nixon-Ford-Kissingers' Cold War foreign policies: (1) the prolongation and expansion of the Vietnam/Indochina war, (2) the murder of Chile's Gen.
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