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War Photographer (2001)

James Nachtwey , Christiane Amanpour , Christian Frei  |  NR |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

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War Photographer + Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens + National Geographic's The Photographers
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Product Details

  • Actors: James Nachtwey, Christiane Amanpour, Hans-Hermann Klare, Christiane Breustedt, Des Wright (II)
  • Directors: Christian Frei
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, German
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • 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)
  • DVD Release Date: November 18, 2003
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000C825I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,236 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "War Photographer" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews


Engrossing! Exceptionally intimate, allowing us almost literally to see the world through Mr. Nachtwey's eyes. --New York Times

A great photojournalist and a genuine hero! --New York Magazine

This is as close to being inside a photojournalist's mind as it gets. --Time Out NY

Product Description

{OSCAR NOMINATION, Best Documentary Feature 2002}
{PEABODY AWARD, Georg Foster Peabody Award 2003}
{EMMY AWARD NOMINATION, Cinematography 2004}
{WINNER of 16 International Awards and Nominations 2002-2004}

Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary, WAR PHOTOGRAPHER is the compelling portrait of the man considered the bravest and most important war photographer of our time, James Nachtwey. The film has been in competition in 36 major international film festivals, played theatrically in over 50 cities and has 5 times won prizes for Best Film or Best Documentary.

Although he has won many prestigious photography awards, including Magazine Photographer of the Year several times, Nachtwey is still not well-known by name. Most people, however, would recognize his extraordinarily powerful images of the violence and suffering of wartime that have appeared in almost every major publication worldwide over the last two decades.

For over two years Swiss filmmaker Christian Frei follows Nachtwey around the world, uncovering compassionate and unsettling images from some of the most incendiary spots on the globe -- the burning farmhouses of Kosovo, the homeless and hungry of Indonesia, a battle between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian youth on the West Bank. Frei has created an enthralling yet solemn film about the renowned photographer's daily routine and also his primary motivations, fears and beliefs.

Interviews with colleagues, including CNN's Christiane Amanpour, help describe the remarkable personality of James Nachtwey. Hardly fitting the standard description of a hard-boiled war veteran, instead Nachtwey is a shy, unobtrusive man with the distinction of a philosophy professor and an inner reserve that have allowed him to persevere through the horrors he uncovers and records.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
88 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars humanism reflected October 18, 2003
James Nachtwey is a great human being. Committed to war photography for over 20 years, he proves in this film that the power of empathy is stronger than the power of cynicism. Still able to photograph with compassion and unobtrusiveness, after all those years witnessing misery and evil close up, demands respect.
When I first saw Mr. Nachtwey in flesh and blood, at a slide presentation at UC Berkeley in 2000, the thing that struck me immediately was his soft tone and his sparse comments about his photographs. I guess this was not your typical stereotype of a hardened, irritable and egoistic war photographer. It became obvious to me that Mr. Nachtwey is a man of extraordinary principle, courage and sheer force of will. His photographs speaks a thousand times louder than any political declaration.
Photography is potentially a universal language that trancends cultural barriers. Mr. Nachtwey's photographs of a mob killing a man right in front of his eyes in, despite pleading them desperatly to stop, communicates an universal message. It says: "The world is watching" and "I will not allow myself to be intimidated by murderers". Only an immense moral conviction can create such images, and James Nachtwey has got it.
This kind of photography is difficult. James Nachtwey is one of the few photographers who are able to grab people by instinct rather by intellect. In the film, Nachtwey talks about "the discipline of the frame". In order to make good photographs one always have to take into account their compositions. What makes James Nachtwey stand out is his continually well composed war photographs. Remember, this is not fashion shots, where you have endless time to arrange and compose your frame. Mr.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you even think about watching this, please do November 5, 2004
I'm basically repeating some of what other people have stated, but I have to add to this as well: This is an amazing film that I am extremely grateful to have found. It provides such a close, intimate, detailed view of one person's life, and it shows exactly how courageous one person needs to be in life. It shows the smallest details about being a photographer - the patience required, the willingness to put yourself out there for a better cause, the caring heart you need to have to help the people you capture in film, and the professional detachment you need to walk away from them. But not only does the film provide a view into a war photographer's life, which it does supremely well, it also shows us the life of the many people he works with and photographs. The lives these people lead are sometimes incredibly difficult, and both Nachtwey and Frei manage to capture them without any pretense. Just like someone else mentions in the reviews - this film was definitely one of the most profound movie watching experiences of my life. It has definitely affected me in very many ways. It's simply an amazing film - please watch it if you can.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
This 2001 film is a documentary about James Nachtwey, a war photographer whose camera has documented much of the horror in the world during his 20 year career. He was in Nicaragua, Rwanda and Bosnia during some of the most profound episodes of violence and his photos have won acclaim worldwide.

He's a slim, quiet and determined man and he is totally devoted to his craft. He risks his life and brings the agony right onto our television screens and magazines. Christiane Amanpour narrates some of the film and we see video clips of her as well as our photographer, covering the story of a huge mass grave that has been dug up in Bosnia. Because is through their eyes that the rest of the world will learn these stories, she talks about the tremendous responsibilities that they, as journalists, face.

I sat there, transfixed by one terrible image after another. There's death, destruction, crippling poverty and crippled people. And the there are the grieving relatives. It was awful. So awful, in fact, that I actually fell asleep. Perhaps that was because all this horror was too much to handle in one sitting.

I'm glad this film was made. It's a testament to one man's dedication to his profession. It's just that it's really hard to watch. And so my recommendation is limited to only those hearty souls who are willing to catch a glimpse of the world's misery.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent doc about an amazing photographer July 8, 2005
This is an incredible documentary. A must for anyone interested in photojournalism as well as all those truly interested in world peace. A calm, thoughtful photographer continually stepping into dangerous and tragic circumstances and capturing for us and humanity glimpses of the horrific reality of war that are so often and increasingly ignored by the mainstream press in favor of superficial entertainment.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This is one of the best photography documentary I have ever seen. I love photojournalism and this is as good as it gets. I love the story narration that this DVD succeeds in. James Nachtwey is the greatest ever to have photographed all the atrocities up close and personal. You can feel the pain, agony and raw human emotion in his photographs. He is right in the middle of shooting with mostly a wide angle just a few feet away from danger. It needs guts and commitment to do a job which has constant fear of getting killed.

I salute you.....James Nachtwey

You inspire me.

- Uday K
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Have you ever heard of James Nachtwey? Definitely worth knowing.
I had never heard of James Nachtwey although I have seen some of his work. This is an in-depth work about the man and his extraordinary presence in crises situations. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Sahoni Redbird
5.0 out of 5 stars i like
It's a excellent product. I like the product anytime, I recomended this because is really what I was expecting to receive.
Published 29 days ago by Elena
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Compelling!!
In my opinion Nachtwey is one of the top photographers of our generation. Raw and real, this will bring things happening into your living room and allow you to see them as if... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Doug Jantz
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Reccommend
I saw this film when it toured the US in early 2000's. Still as powerful...I am teaching media and filmmaking and I use this in my environmental media class. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Monique ANAIR
5.0 out of 5 stars Cuts to the Core!
James Nachtwey's work and biography exposes all the grief and horror that exists in a War Zone. Generally his work avoids the bloody violence and carnage war inevitably creates,... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Gaby Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Much respect
I have seen several of Nachtwey's pictures and I have always been curious about a war correspondent and the things they do for their job. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Maluba
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally amazing about a war photographer
There are lots of amazing documentaries out there, but no documentary ever hit me quite like this one. Read more
Published on January 3, 2012 by photodesiree
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving documentary for a great photographer
Christian Frei is never in want of original ideas for his films. Here he mounts mini movie cameras on Hachtwey's photo cameras and shows us the world's tragedies as Jim himself saw... Read more
Published on December 21, 2011 by Marco Carnovale
5.0 out of 5 stars As close to Nachtwey's eye as you can get
This is a "must have" for photojournalists of all stripes, both beginners and professionals.
Not only does it give you the insight into the world of war/conflict photography,... Read more
Published on November 30, 2011 by D_Sone
5.0 out of 5 stars This documentary will move you!
I bought this movie because I have a penchant for photography. I saw James Natchway speak online for TED ([... Read more
Published on June 9, 2010 by Patrick
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