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Wartorn 1861-2010 (DVD)

4.7 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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(May 17, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

Executive produced by James Gandolfini (HBO's Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq) and produced by award-winning filmmakers Jon Alpert, Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Matt O’Neill, this 75-minute HBO Documentary Films presentation explores combat stress and posttraumatic stress on military personnel and their families throughout recorded American military history.

Beginning with the first documented cases from the Civil War, the film examines occurrences of PTSD through two World Wars and Vietnam, as well as more recent cases involving soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The stories are told through soldiers’ revealing letters and journals; photographs and combat footage; first-person interviews with veterans of WWII, the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom; and interviews with family members of soldiers with PTSD.

Special Features

The Pentagon post-premiere panel discussion

Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • 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: Unrated
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: May 17, 2011
  • Run Time: 67 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004MQ6VRE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,400 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Wartorn 1861-2010 (DVD)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This documentary is mainly about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) all the way from the Civil War in 1861 up until The Iraq war in 2003-2010. Throughout these many different wars, Post Traumatic Stress has been called many things. Civil War they called it Hysteria or Melancholy, WWI they called it Shell-shock, WWII they called it Battle Fatigue, Vietnam and the Iraq War both called it Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This Documentary which is just over an hour is not too hard to watch, but may be hard to watch by some who have been affected by PTSD or have even just been overseas. The documentary shows about 5 different lives that PTSD has affected as well as their families.

The first was a Union soldier back in 1861 who committed suicide. Then there is a mother whom talks about her son that shot himself after coming back from Iraq. There is another segment in the film where a young soldier comes home from Iraq and within a month was arrested for putting a gun to a middle eastern taxi driver man's head. This is a sad segment, as well as the part in the film where a father of two explains how his son knew he was going crazy, but was not listened to by the military doctors and was told he was faking it and to get back to his room. Well they gave him his gun and bullets and set him to his room, as well as told his fellow soldiers to leave him alone and let him be...he shot himself back in his room. The last segment of this documentary was about a man who did 3 or 4 tours in Iraq and was discharged due to him losing it. The film shows him at his house looking at photos from Iraq and describing his feeling towards them.
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Format: DVD
WARTORN 1861-2010 (2010, though dated 2011) was a marvel, a riveting film that was as compelling as it was heartbreaking and unbearable. Produced and presented by James Gandolfini - who does all the interviews here - this film covers the serious disease PTSD ("post-traumatic stress disorder") that afflicts around 45% of war veterans.

Touching on one or two soldiers from every major war, beginning with the Civil War and ending with the Iraq War, this film allows the victims and their families to tell the stories in their own words, at their own pace. Letters from a young Civil War victim, read in a gradually weakening, quavering voice by an actor, are as effective as the face-to-face interviews with the present soldiers.

I was most touched by the fact that WWII and Korean vets have benefitted the most, even if it is far too late, from recognition/treatments. The stories of several WWII vets will leave you in tears - but you will cry as much for the Iraq War vets and their stories. One came home and committed suicide; another young soldier drunkenly shot a Middle Eastern cab driver, thinking he was back in Iraq. After he was arrested he realized he wasn't having a nightmare - it was real. He received 6 years in the slam.

Nice compassion.

Notable is the lack of interviews with Korean War vets, and I think only two Vietnam vets are interviewed. The pace is crisp, the condition, while not defined or delineated properly, is explained so well through the victims themselves. In spite of the dreadful photos and film shown here, I think this should be part of American schools' curriculum. Kids and even soldiers' families need to learn about this.
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While the people and stories presented were interesting, it felt like the documentary ended too soon, leaving the other half of the whole issue hardly discussed - treatment and help for those affected. It just ended, without a real feeling of any hope or success for the veterans in the future.
Watching this with my wife, a mental health professional with the VA who specializes in PTSD treatment, we were both waiting for the documentary to discuss the latest efforts by the VA to treat OIF and OEF veterans with PTSD and TBI's, which has become a VA priority. In the last couple of years, new treatments and therapies have been implemented that have had positive results for the veterans treated.
I think that the producers should revisit and update this documentary to show that the VA and the military are trying to fix the mistakes of not offering adequate or enough treatment in previous years, and that PTSD treatment is now a priority in order to help veterans live their lives successfully.
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Format: DVD
As I write this in 2013 the United States is still warring with and occupying Afghanistan and, albeit with even less publicity, Iraq. Lies take longer to tell than truths, after all, hence these incredibly long, needless wars supported by lies of two American presidents and counting since 2001.

The 2010 documentary WARTORN tells the truth about war, so it's over in just 75 minutes. As WARTORN honestly tells it, even the guys who win the conflict can still end up losing because of the psychological effects of killing. WARTORN's film clips and photos of the dead from the Civil War to Afghanistan and Iraq, both soldier and civilian, ought to give you a hint. But if you're slow, just listen to the WARTORN testimonies of American troops and their families about what happens when Johnny comes marching home.

WARTORN refers to the mental illness suffered by soldiers as post-traumatic stress disorder. Do an on-line video search of "George Carlin Shell Shock," for a clip of the late, great comedian in the 1980s where in just two minutes and 40 seconds (again, the truth never takes long) he explains why, instead of the proper designation of shell shock, the sickness has come to be known by that loopy name "post-traumatic stress disorder." When words are used to obscure information rather than convey it, you get terms like that.

Nonetheless, WARTORN communicates what war does to the troops those in favor of invading nations would tell you to support. See WARTORN.

One last thing. If you wonder why the graphic battlefield images WARTORN presents have so often failed to make it to news reports all these years, look up who owns the print and broadcast organizations that control all information outside of the small number of independent media.
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