Apr 10, 2018

29 Documentaries About War That the US Government Doesn't Want You to See

By Tim Hjersted / filmsforaction.org
29 Documentaries About War That the US Government Doesn't Want You to See
Oil wells on fire during the Gulf War in Kuwait, 1991

These documentaries expose the ugly truth about war and the governments who wage them. The US government is focused on in this collection because I am based in the US, and it is every citizen's duty to call out and name the crimes of their government. It's all too easy to decry the injustices of other countries while remaining silent when those crimes are committed by our own. But nothing good has ever come from silence when the truth is marginalized and lies are amplified.

As John Pilger says, we must break the silence. But first, we must understand the truth about war, so that we will no longer be fooled by the lies our own government tells us again and again. This kind of media literacy is vitally necessary today. The same government that asked us to trust us with Vietnam, Iraq, and countless other conflicts, is asking us to trust them again when it comes to Russia, Syria, Iran, and North Korea. Let us not forget what we have already learned. 

These documentaries are all mostly free to watch online. A few cost a few dollars to rent. Suggest other films to add to this list via our contact page

If you believe this information is important for everyone to know, please share it. While some of us are familiar with this information, there is always a new generation that must regretfully learn about this history for the first time. This makes this collection especially useful for high school and college students.

Given a large number of people still defend and support aggressive US foreign policy (thanks largely to a complicit and compliant corporate mass media), there is still a great need for this information to reach a wider consciousness. 

Even if we watched some of these films years ago and their conclusions seem obvious, we should never take for granted how many people have yet to take this journey and would benefit from learning about it now. Even many folks that have seen some of these films and consider themselves pretty informed will likely be shocked by the history they will learn about from the ones they haven't seen yet.

 

The War at Home: The Untold History of Class War in the United States
104 min · "In a time when many are questioning institutional integrity across society, seeking accurate and relevant information to help make sense of our supposedly post-truth era, Noble shines a spotlight into our dark past while providing a...
The War You Don't See
98 min · A powerful and timely investigation into the media’s role in war, tracing the history of embedded and independent reporting from the carnage of World War One to the destruction of Hiroshima, and from the invasion of Vietnam to the...
The Power Principle: Corporate Empire and the Rise of the National Security State
264 min · "A gripping, deeply informative account of the plunder, hypocrisy, and mass violence of plutocracy and empire; insightful, historically grounded and highly relevant to the events of today." - Michael Parenti, Historian, Author The Face...
Counter-Intelligence: Shining a Light on Black Operations
360 min · "Scott Noble may have outdone himself with Counter Intelligence. The Psywar filmmaker amassed a tour de force of power elite and deep state scholars weighing in and synthesizing decades of research. From the rise of the national...
Oliver Stone: The Untold History Of The United States
570 min · There is a classified America we were never meant to see. From Academy Award®-winning writer/director Oliver Stone, this ten-part documentary series looks back at human events that at the time went under reported, but that crucially...
War By Other Means
52 min · John Pilger travels to many third world countries to investigate the devastating results of loans from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). This film shows how many wars today are not carried out at the barrel of a gun...
What I've Learned About U.S. Foreign Policy
118 min · This is a powerful 10-part compilation that (in important ways) pulls aside the veil of Official myths and Lies about "freedom", "democracy", Human Rights, etc., being the basis of U.S. foreign policy.
Breaking The Silence: Truth And Lies In The War On Terror
51 min · "BREAKING THE SILENCE is a film with enormous emotional power, bringing us the human consequences of our military attacks on Middle East countries. It also provides us with important insights into the reasons for these cruelties...
Bitter Lake
136 min · Adam Curtis: Politicians used to have the confidence to tell us stories that made sense of the chaos of world events.
The Power of Nightmares
180 min · The Power of Nightmares is a BBC documentary 3-part film series. The films compare the rise of the Neo-Conservative movement in the United States and the radical Islamist movement, making comparisons on their origins and claiming...
Afghanistan War Exposed: An Imperial Conspiracy
37 min · Abby Martin covers the whole truth about the Afghanistan War, from the CIA construct of the 80's through 2020's senseless stalemate. Two decades, three administrations, tens of thousands of lives; it's time to #EndTheForeverWar. 
Buying the War: How Big Media Failed Us
83 min · In 2003, the United States pre-emptively attacked Iraq in a war that would last for eight years claiming an estimated 189,000 lives, costing over $2 trillion and causing untold economic and emotional devastation for the
Vietnam: The Quiet Mutiny
26 min · In this, the first of his 58 documentary films, John Pilger combines candid interviews and amazing frontline footage of Vietnam to portray a growing rift between the US military bureaucrats - "lifers" - and the soldiers who physically...
Cointelpro 101
56 min · COINTELPRO may not be a well-understood acronym but its meaning and continuing impact are absolutely central to understanding the government’s wars and repression against progressive movements. COINTELPRO represents the state’s strategy...
No End in Sight
102 min · A staggering portrait of arrogance and incompetence, the documentary No End in Sight avoids the question of why the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, choosing instead to focus on the war's aftermath--and meticulously examines the chain of...
The Secret Government: The Constitution in Crisis
86 min · In this documentary Bill Moyers exposes the inner workings of the secret government. Though originally broadcast in 1987, it is even more relevant today. Interviews with respected, top military, intelligence, and government insiders...
Iran (Is Not the Problem) (2008)
79 min · IRAN (Is Not The Problem) is a feature length documentary film responding to the failure of the American mass media to provide the public with relevant and accurate information about the standoff between the US and Iran, as happened...
Enemy Image
92 min · When Baghdad exploded under bombs, television chose to bring us fireworks. But does this distant and spectacular image tell us what is really happening on the ground, how it feels or what it means? Television has the means to take us...
Rethink Afghanistan
65 min · Rethink Afghanistan is a ground-breaking, full-length documentary focusing on the key issues surrounding this war. We hope to raise critical questions regarding Afghanistan that Congress must address in oversight hearings, which inform...
The Israeli Lobby
50 min · Is the pro-Israel lobby so strong, financially and politically, that the U.S. relationship with Israel is taboo and therefore unmentionable? And what happens to those who dare expose the unmentionable? In March 2006 the American...
Hearts and Minds
112 min · Peter Davis' landmark documentary Hearts and Minds confronts with stark frankness the United States' involvement in Vietnam and the development of its foreign policy in the 1970s. Using a carefully constructed range of meticulously...
Iraq For Sale: The War Profiteers
76 min · This is the story of what happens to everyday Americans when corporations go to war.  
Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives: The Environmental Footprint of War
58 min · Using on-site and archival footage to illustrate specialist and eyewitness accounts from around the world, "Scarred Lands & Wounded Lives" shows how war and preparations for war further compromise the environmental health of a planet...
The Coming War on China
110 min · The Coming War on China is John Pilger's 60th film for ITV. Pilger reveals what the news doesn't - that the world's greatest military power, the United States, and the world's second economic power, China, both nuclear-armed, are on the...
Gaza Fights For Freedom
84 min · This debut feature film by journalist Abby Martin began while reporting in Palestine, where she was denied entry into Gaza by the Israeli government on the accusation she was a “propagandist.” So Abby connected with a team of...
Soldiers of the Vine: Healing War Trauma with Plant Medicine
65 min · In May of 2016, six American Veterans with PTSD went to the Amazon in search of healing. What they found was another war...for the soul of humanity.
The Occupation of the American Mind: Israel's Public Relations War in the United States
85 min · Over the past few years, Israel's ongoing military occupation of Palestinian territory and repeated invasions of the Gaza strip have triggered a fierce backlash against Israeli policies virtually everywhere in the world -- except the...
War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death
72 min · This critically acclaimed look at American war propaganda exhumes five decades of remarkable archival footage to show how presidents from both parties have relied on fear-driven political spin and craven media complicity to sell a...
Peace, Propaganda, & The Promised Land: US Media & the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
80 min · Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land provides a striking comparison of U.S. and international media coverage of the crisis in the Middle East, zeroing in on how structural distortions in U.S. coverage have reinforced false perceptions...
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