Metascore
64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 32 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Starring:
  • Summary: Exploring Vietnam-era struggles that remain relevant today, The U.S. vs. John Lennon tells the true story of the U.S. Government's attempts to silence John Lennon, the beloved musician and iconic advocate for peace. (Lions Gate)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 26
  2. Negative: 2 out of 26
  1. 100
    This movie is both sad and inspiring. It offers proof that Lennon's wit and art are everlasting.
  2. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    75
    Ending the film with a perfunctory run-through of Lennon's murder on the doorstep of his Manhattan apartment building, however, foregrounds an unfortunate irony: Had the INS succeeded in forcing Lennon out of the U.S., he might be alive today.
  3. People who love Lennon will almost certainly like the film; his detractors will almost certainly howl "bias!" Even so, it's a movie that, at its best, makes you ache with the memory of an anguished era and its fallen pop culture hero.
  4. Loosely organized but still fascinating.
  5. 70
    Snazzy, mawkish, and practically Pavlovian in recycling all requisite late-'60s images. Given its subject, though, this David Leaf–John Scheinfeld production is not only poignant but even topical.
  6. 63
    A nice little documentary that provides a view of recent history for those who didn't live through it, or a nostalgia trip for those who did. However, as vehicle for presenting anything new or surprising, it fails.
  7. 16
    There's precious little of Lennon's legendary crankiness on display in The U.S. Vs. John Lennon, a fawning hagiography that diligently shaves away the ex-Beatle's rough edges and knotty idiosyncrasies.

See all 26 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 1 out of 7
  1. BeatlesFan
    Sep 16, 2006
    10
    If you're a fan of John Lennon, you will love this.
  2. Apr 20, 2014
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. "We came here to show and to say to all of you that apathy isn't it, that we can do something!"

    ~ John Lennon speaking at Ann Arbor's Crisler Arena in December 1971

    And even as he was being investigated, tapped, followed and threatened with deportation for speaking out against the war in Viet Nam, John Lennon kept on talking and writing and singing about peace. Whether you're old enough to remember the late 1960s / early 1970s or not, this insightful and engaging documentary is a must-see portrait of one of this century's most influential, passionate and fascinating men in the

    context of those times. You may be familiar with some of the photos, movie footage and interviews in the film - especially if you're an old timer like me :-) - but the artful way it's all put together is brilliant and the all-Lennon soundtrack pulsing like a heartbeat throughout is irresistible. Yoko Ono's narration is thoughtful and tasteful and she also contributed some never-before-seen photos and home movies. But the star of the show is John's own charismatic presence as musician, activist and man. And by the time the credits rolled to the tune of "Instant Karma... and we all shine on", I couldn't help but sing along as I walked out of the theater. This movie will inspire you. See it!
    Expand
  3. CatreseaA.C.
    Oct 1, 2006
    10
    "We came here to show and to say to all of you that apathy isn't it, that we can do something!" ~ John Lennon speaking at Ann Arbor's Crisler Arena in December 1971 And even as he was being investigated, tapped, followed and threatened with deportation for speaking out against the war in Viet Nam, John Lennon kept on talking and writing and singing about peace. Whether you're old enough to remember the late 1960s / early 1970s or not, this insightful and engaging documentary is a must-see portrait of one of this century's most influential, passionate and fascinating men in the context of those times. You may be familiar with some of the photos, movie footage and interviews in the film - especially if you're an old timer like me - but the artful way it's all put together is brilliant and the all-Lennon soundtrack pulsing like a heartbeat throughout is irresistible. Yoko Ono's narration is thoughtful and tasteful and she also contributed some never-before-seen photos and home movies. But the star of the show is John's own charismatic presence as musician, activist and man. And by the time the credits rolled to the tune of "Instant Karma... and we all shine on", I couldn't help but sing along as I walked out of the theater. See this movie and be inspired. Expand
  4. TheresaS.
    Oct 2, 2006
    10
    Fascinating & inspirational with the best soundtrack of the year! I loved it!
  5. MandyH.
    Oct 2, 2006
    10
    Brilliant, like the man himself.
  6. WadeT.
    Oct 20, 2006
    7
    The U.S. vs John Lennon suffers from what makes it enjoyable, which is the unabashed love the filmmakers have for John Lennon. Lennon is portrayed as a heroic figure who was beyond his time considering his political affiliations. While that makes the storytelling upbeat, it also makes the story very one sided. The alternative view on Lennon isn't really provided nor are his affiliations really explored for their full context. The shame is there appears to be more meat to the John Lennon story then the filmmakers had the courage to go after. It ends being an enjoyable film that somehow seems disappointing. Expand
  7. horrorgrrrl
    Oct 2, 2006
    3
    I like John Lennon more than I dislike him... but the high ratings this movie has received are proof that people too often base their opinions of such material on simplistic political sympathies rather than objective assessment of filmmaking prowess. This is a very poorly put together documentary. For all its talk of the Vietnam war, it doesn't even acknowledge its end... or the reason it was fought in the first place. As for John Lennon's answer? Peace. Well, peace is an objective not a solution... it's not a plan. And never does Lennon address the intricacies of the war, he just grows his hair and stays in his bed... and eventually shares that bed, figuratively speaking, with the same radical figures who comprise 80% of the interviews. Peace is an objective few would disagree with. It's like saying you're in favor of beautiful scenery and clear skies. What peace is not is a sophisticated answer to sometimes complicated problems. This film entirely avoids discussing actual issues in any kind of substantive manner. Is peace the answer to the rise of the Nazis? John Lennon's rise from humble beginnings would have been far more fascinating than this documentary - it is a 5-minute segment that has been stretched to almost two hours. I was moved by the ending, when I got to see him with his son... got to see the joyful life he was living with wife and child, a life taken far too soon. John's love story was far more powerful than his over-hyped battle with the American government. This is an example of how NOT to make a documentary. Expand