The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear Image
Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 6 Critics What's this?

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7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 11 Ratings

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  • Summary: This film was originally aired as a BBC documentary comprised of three one-hour episodes "Baby, It's Cold Outside," "The Phantom Victory" and "Shadows in the Cave." The documentaries question whether the threat of terrorism to the West is a politically driven fantasy and if al-Qaeda reallyThis film was originally aired as a BBC documentary comprised of three one-hour episodes "Baby, It's Cold Outside," "The Phantom Victory" and "Shadows in the Cave." The documentaries question whether the threat of terrorism to the West is a politically driven fantasy and if al-Qaeda really is an organised network. (BBC) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. It's a fluid cinematic essay, rooted in painstakingly assembled evidence, that heightens and cleanses your perceptions.
  2. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    90
    A superb, eye-opening and often absurdly funny deconstruction of the myths and realities of global terrorism that is marked by a balance, broadmindedness and sense of historical perspective so absent from many recent political-themed documentaries.
  3. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    88
    It's intriguing stuff, but Curtis overplays his hand when he underplays the existence of any real threat (Madrid? London? Amman?), proposes that Al Qaeda is a fiction and risks undermining the credibility of an otherwise compelling argument.
  4. 80
    The Power of Nightmares is essentially polemical. As partisan filmmaking it is often brilliant and sometimes hilarious-a superior version of "Syriana" (which also prudently subtracts Israel and the Palestinians from the Middle East equation).
  5. Eye-opening political documentary focuses on "the strange world of violence and fear, fantasy and deception, in which we now live."
  6. 50
    It is startling that a three-hour film dealing largely with the history of the Middle East should find no time to mention either the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the role of oil in the region. And it is more than a little unsatisfying to see the complex history of American conservatism reduced to the dreams and schemes of a handful of intellectuals.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Aug 28, 2013
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Earth shattering documentary. Changed some of the fundamental ways I perceive America's role on the world's stage. Adam Curtis has a remarkable way of taking complex modern historical events and making a coherent and ruthless argument for his agenda. This film has had inspired me to continue reading modern political philosophy. Expand
  2. LeeS.
    Jan 24, 2006
    10
    Best documentary I have ever seen on the war on terror! Mind blowing!
  3. GregS.
    Jan 18, 2006
    9
    This is a fascinating documentary about the similarities between the American Neoconservatives and Islamic Fundamentalists, showing both of This is a fascinating documentary about the similarities between the American Neoconservatives and Islamic Fundamentalists, showing both of their extremist agendas of paranoia and fear. Highly recommended. Expand
  4. PeterS.
    Jan 5, 2006
    6
    When i saw this, I felt that I had been reeducated about the forces at work in the world today. That Al Qaeda was not a vast, centralized When i saw this, I felt that I had been reeducated about the forces at work in the world today. That Al Qaeda was not a vast, centralized organization was news to me and somehow seemed right. But now, six months later, I'm not so sure. I need more information. The vote is still out. Expand