Hearts & Minds: Be ready to be shocked by this hard-hitting reality documentary highlighting how America fought the Vietnam war in contrast to what they wanted in achieve politically. The background to this 1974 production is based on the recommendation of a report compiled in a study led by General Creighton Abrams warning a military intervention in Vietnam was not a viable option for the United States and concluding that economic aid and a pacification program were by far the best solution to the political situation thus winning the “hearts and minds” of the population.
The film is a controversial documentary by nature and does portray the strong views held by ordinary soldiers fighting the war at the time along with an interview with Commander General Westmorland whos ideology gives us an insight into why the war was fought in such a destructive way...stop and rewind.yes he did say that!
To all the netflix Buffs.
The reason that most movie buffs haven't heard of Peter Davis' "Hearts and Minds" is that it is a film not a movie. By which I mean that it is not a film made for entertainment's sake but a serious documentary and thus it isn't listed in any of the classic movie guides like Halliwell's, etc.
In addition, "Hearts and Minds" was shown 40 years ago (1974) at a time when most Americans wanted to ignore its subject matter. When America withrew from active military fighting in Vietnam in 1973 most Americans wanted to forget about the Vietnam war and put it past them.
And let's face it, outside of major metropolitan centes, documentaries are not shown in many theaters because distributors know that the vast majority of the American people are not interested in documentary films. Of course the vast majority of Americans are brain dead but that is a separate issue although it does explain their disinterest in serious dccumentary films.
Finally, one cannot ignore the controversy surrounding the film which led to its withdrawal from distribution when one of the interviewees in the film, Walt Rostow, complained about his portrayal in it and demanded that the two minutes featuring him on-camera be deleted.
Fortunately, thirty years, exactly one generation, later, this extraordinary documentary film has finally gotten the treatment and restoration it so richly deserves.
Bottom line: "Must see" is an overused cliche, but this film is too important NOT to be seen.