Hearts and Minds [Criterion Collection] [2 Discs] [DVD/Blu-ray] [Blu-ray/DVD] [1974]

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Overview

Special Features

  • High-definition digital restoration, supervised by director Peter Davis and cinematographer Richard Pearce, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary featuring Davis
  • A collection of over two hours of Davis's unused footage, including excerpts from interviews with presidential adviser George Ball, broadcast journalist David Brinkley, French journalist and historian Philippe Devillers, and political activist Tony Russo; additional excerpts from General William Westmoreland's interview; additional audio excerpts from presidential adviser Walt Rostow's interview; and scenes from a funeral and a military hospital in South Vietnam
  • One Blu-ray and two DVDs, with all content available in both formats
  • PLUS: a booklet featuring essays by Davis, film critic Judith Crist, and historians Robert K. Brigham, George C. Herring, and Ngo Vinh Long

Synopsis

Hearts and Minds
The title of this documentary was inspired by the mantra recited by those in charge of the Vietnam War: "In order to win the war, we must win the hearts and minds of the people." The failure to achieve this, coupled with the disastrous no-win policies of the higher-ups, is the nucleus of this film, put together by director Peter Davis in the same manner as Marcel Ophuls' The Sorrow and the Pity. Like the Ophuls film, Davis juxtaposes news footage of the Vietnam war with interviews conducted with its observers and participants, interspersing vignettes of the fatuous comments made by the generals and politicians. The film was briefly withdrawn from distribution when Walter Rostow, one-time advisor to President Johnson, insisted that his reputation had been damaged and demanded that the two minutes featuring Rostow on-camera be deleted. More controversy arose when Hearts and Minds won the Best Documentary Oscar, whereupon the Academy issued a statement--read during the awards ceremony by Frank Sinatra--that it did not condone or advocate the volatile statements made by the producers during their acceptance speech. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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