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Winter Soldier - The Film

Winter Soldier Review

Playboy, May 1972
by Bruce Williams

Few moviegoers, unfortunately, will have an opportunity to see Winter Soldier, a stirring documentary that was shown early this year in a special film makers' series at Manhattan's Whitney Museum of American Art. Put together under the aegis of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Winter Soldier is a passionate cry of protest, taken from the actual testimony of former American soldiers at the Winter Soldier Investigation in Detroit in January and February 1971. After the Cally trial, a group of penitent GI's voluntarily appeared to confess the atrocities they had committed during service in Vietnam; maiming, burning, rape, throwing suspected Viet Cong out of helicopters, beheading others, shooting innocent civilians in the back. "You'd bring back ears...whoever got the most ears got the most beers." testifies one returned veteran in a voice choked with shame. What makes Winter Soldier uncommonly powerful is that the bearded contrite awakened young Americans; who testify have so little in common with their counterparts from earlier wars - former Nazi henchmen, for example, who almost invariably pointed an accusing finger at some higher authority or at society as a whole. These soldiers never try to cop out, and their painful honesty may be the only hopeful sign in the horror stories told here.


A Film You Shouldn't See
Jake McCarthy, St. Louis Post Dispatch

A shattering statement on the degradation of war
Variety, Cannes Film Festival

The power to rivet your gaze to the screen and glue you to your seat
Sally Helgesen, Village Voice

See All Reviews

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