Hearts and Minds (re-release)


Generally favorable reviews - based on 9 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9

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Critic Reviews

  1. The unnerving brilliance of the film owes to the director's skill at assembling information and allowing it to speak for itself.
  2. 90
    A masterful documentary, one of the most unsettling discussions of Vietnam and its aftermath ever to appear in any medium.
  3. A powerful piece of documentary filmmaking.
  4. Built to outrage, appall, and indict.
  5. Davis, who won an Oscar for Best Documentary, may not have agreed with presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon on the war, but he heeded Johnson's call to fight for hearts and minds. His aim was dead on target.
  6. 75
    The problem is that the film is at such pains to make its points that it doesn't trust us to find our own connections.
  7. 60
    During his clumsiest moments, Davis' fondness for provocation rises to the surface, which is unfortunate, since it weakens the impact of his many salient points about how American men are socialized to be warriors.
  8. 50
    Hearts and Minds, which gives no clue that atrocities were committed by the other side, and which allows Davis to cut from a rampaging football game, back home, to the Tet offensive, will be a lesson to anybody who thinks that Michael Moore invented the notion of documentary as blunderbuss.
  9. Although the movie's anti-war propaganda mission is clear, it nevertheless makes a strong case for asking questions and examining our country's imperialistic motives.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 9 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 1 out of 2
  1. Nov 5, 2015
    Hearts and Minds is a powerful documentary directed by Peter Davis, that exemplifies what a documentary can and should be. Rightfully soHearts and Minds is a powerful documentary directed by Peter Davis, that exemplifies what a documentary can and should be. Rightfully so Hearts and Minds won the Oscar for Best Documentary, and remains a powerful, yet unsettling viewing experience. Hearts and Minds exemplifies a great documentary, because it tells an important and relevant real story, it remains as objective in it’s presentation as possible, and it never holds back. All of this being said the film really features so much disturbing imagery, only so many people can willingly watch it, and more than likely many more will avoid it.
    The scope of the film is quite large, in terms of time, as it really covers about a ten to fifteen year period. The scope combined with the impact of the Vietnam War, make the story the documentary is telling all the more relevant, and important. When looking at real events in United States history that show an evolution, and are “film” worthy the Vietnam War is on the top of that list. Even more impressive is Davis method of telling his story, as there was probably a story to be told about the war exclusively, but Davis chose to show how the war affected the country. This made the scope larger, and the story even more relevant.
    Davis did a great job of showing the Country’s borderline unflinching faith in its government, and that by the end of the war, the attitudes of almost everybody had changed, in some way. With so many different views, and such a complex issue, it would have been easy for Davis to focus on one side, but he went out of his way to show almost all viewpoints, and even portray them in a way where the audience can empathize with most of them. This makes his presentation all the more powerful, as the audience is almost forced to feel conflicted. Davis used this tactic to show the polarizing aspects of war, as well as “thinking revolution” that the country underwent with Vietnam.
    To fully understand the “Thinking Revolution” Davis had to show the atrocities of war, so that the audience, whenever they may watch it would fully understand why there was a thinking revolution. The film never really holds back, it shows every different viewpoint, as well as what happened in the war, however disturbing it may be. Throughout the film the audience is subjected to terrible imagery, that is even scarier because it’s real, and uncensored. Watching this an audience member could finally realize how glorified films are, as none of them capture the nauseating imagery this film is full of. In the end the message seems anti-war, as it never presents that message, but it also bombards the audience with mostly negative imagery.
    In the end Hearts and Minds is a powerful, albeit disturbing experience, not meant for the weak-stomached or weak-willed. The film brilliantly shows an evolution of multiple societies, as well as the polarizing and negative aspects of the Vietnam War. The film should be commended for showing various different viewpoints and rarely treating any viewpoint with irreverence. Hearts and Minds, truly is a disturbing yet necessary experience.
    Full Review »
  2. RitB
    Dec 28, 2006
    This film is as much a documentary as is Mel Brooks' movie: History of the World Part 1. I'm a Vietnam vet and thought the war was This film is as much a documentary as is Mel Brooks' movie: History of the World Part 1. I'm a Vietnam vet and thought the war was a mistake when I was there, and still feel that way. I thought I might learn something by seeing this movie but all I learned was how NOT to make a documentary film. This was so biased and so slanted in an effort to make it's 'war is bad' message, that it borders on the absurd and it insults the viewer's intelligence. The critics who praise this movie have the IQ of tree bark. Full Review »