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

4.7 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

ACADEMY AWARD® NOMINEE-- BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE<BR><BR>{Audience Award -- Best Documentary - 2010 Palm Springs Film Festival} <BR>{Audience Award -- Best Documentary - 2009 Mill Valley Film Festival} <BR>{2009 Toronto International Film Festival} <BR>{2009 Vancouver International Film Festival} <BR>{2009 IDFA Film Festival "In Competition"} <BR><BR>In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, a high-level Pentagon official and Vietnam War strategist, concludes that the war is based on decades of lies and leaks 7,000 pages of top secret documents to The New York Times, making headlines around the world. Hailed as a hero, vilified as a traitor, and ostracized by even his closest colleagues, Ellsberg risks life in prison to stop a war he helped plan. <BR><BR>This is the riveting story of one man's profound crisis of conscience that shook a nation, its courts, its free press and its presidency to the core. It is also an acutely timely and piercing look at the world of government secrecy in wartime as revealed by the ultimate insider. Marked by a landmark Supreme Court battle between America's greatest newspapers and its president, this political thriller unravels a saga that leads directly to Watergate, Nixon's resignation and the end of the Vietnam War.

Review

CRITIC'S PICK! Riveting! A straight-ahead, enthralling story of moral courage. --David Edelstein, New York Magazine

Gripping! Almost seismic drama... A classic whistleblower tale. --Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

Gripping, evocative... comprehensively detailed... chilling -- and perversely entertaining. --Gary Goldstein, The Los Angeles Times

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Daniel Ellsberg, Patricia Ellsberg, Tony Russo, Howard Zinn, Hedrick Smith
  • Directors: Judith Ehrlich, Rick Goldsmith
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen, Closed-captioned
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: First Run Features
  • DVD Release Date: July 20, 2010
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00329PYGQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,673 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Dan Ellsberg, the reader probably knows, is the analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the press during the early 1970s. The Vietnam war had been raging, and all of a sudden the mainstream press had access to secret documents that showed, first, that plans had been in place for invasion of Indochina from the time Truman was in office, and that from Truman on, presidents had been lying to us up to and including the alleged attack of two US ships on the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964 which caused the real explosion of that war.

What many people don't know about Dr. Ellsberg is that he was an officer in the Marine Corps before he went into the academic world, then became a Rand Corp. analyst.

The most interesting element of the film is the process of watching Ellsberg change. He even examined a little of what led him into the Marines, wondering, he thought, whether he could make it. He ended up being the only 1st lieutenant overseeing 211 other Marines in a rifle company. While there, he still seemed to believe in "the system."

Early in the film, it seemed like it may go into a pscho-babble direction, i.e., diagnosing why he did what he did, But that wasn't, fortunately, taken too far. But while working for the system--being part of that system that perpetuated the war-- his conscience began to bother him. He talked with others, notably Tony Russo, who encouraged him to follow his conscience.

The film went from a silhouetted "actor" portraying Ellsberg on the phone, or in discussions with others, to an occasional animation. But the animation wasn't frivolous.
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Format: DVD
No government really likes a whistle-blower, especially when that person blows the façade off a seemingly until then justified war. There is something in the ethos of Western civilization that, whether the exposure is done for good and without expectations of remuneration or evil, would rather not know the messy details of what goes on in the backrooms and is as likely to `shoot the messenger' as those who created the vast illegality. The word "snitch" comes to mind. However here in this documentary based on the life and times of one Daniel Ellsberg and his brave, no heroic, efforts to get the truth out is well done, well thought out, and worthy of commemoration.

For a younger generation not familiar with the virtual civil war that was going on in American society in the latter stages of the Vietnam War this will serve as a primer, of sorts. Virtually every institution from the local PTA to the White House was subject to analysis and to questioning about the purposes of its existence. Although such intense scrutiny only lasted for a short while it provided enough political space for the previously seemingly non-heroic ex-Marine Daniel Ellsberg to do his expose, for the mainstream mass media, like the "New York Times", "Washington Post", and "The Boston Globe" very connected to the governmental levers of power, to take a chance on publishing the whole of Ellsberg's discoveries. And, frankly, with the partial exception of Watergate there have been very few subsequent efforts like this from inside the establishment.
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Format: DVD
Recently, I viewed this film in a Portland, Oregon theatre, with Dr. Ellsberg in person conducting a Q&A session following the film.

Reviewed from any direction, this is an excellent piece of personal reportage. Meticulously researched, truthfully written, realisticly but creatively shot, and marvelously edited, this is a serious and highly responsible documentation, not only of an important period of American history, but also of the broad and deep failure of this generation of leaders in positions of responsibility to "do the right thing." And, it may well be a predictor of what can happen to the future of presidential leadership, if well-informed, highly responsible and conscientious citizens and the mainstream media don't take our roles seriously, and act to preserve the values on which this country was founded.

Timme Helzer, Professor and Consultant
Organizational Leadership and Change
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I bought two different movies having to do with the Pentagon Papers. The Most Dangerous Man in America is the best one. There is allot of political passion and deep conscience of the man who revealed what is the truth. This movie shows secrets and cover-ups in Congress and all the way up to the CIA and all other Intelligence. To include all of the lies that America was fed just to keep up a war in Vietnam that should have never been. I was never against this war but this movie caused me to reconsider my old opinions. I was just a child when this war was started. I am glad that I purchased this DVD.
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