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The Fog of War - Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara Reviews

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Dan S

Super Reviewer

April 19, 2013
A mesmerizing, slightly offbeat documentary from the great Errol Morris ("The Thin Blue Line") concerning former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara and his experiences in both WWII and Vietnam, and looking back on his decisions and how to pertain to the days we live in now. McNamara appears to be a very likable, flawed individual (like we all are) who seems to be historically misunderstood given his reputation that he screwed up the Vietnam War quite badly. Instead we get an honest, genuine look at a man who gives a fair look at himself and his decisions, admits to his mistakes, but remains proud of his many accomplishments. Definitely a more humanizing look at a politician, in a day and age where people love to eat these people for lunch. One of the better documentaries I can recall, and anyone from the Kennedy-Johnson era should give this a look.
hunterjt13
hunterjt13

Super Reviewer

December 10, 2012
Robert McNamara explains his life during the two World Wars and the Vietnam War.
For those of us who are students of history but didn't live during the times of the Vietnam War and WWII, this film doesn't have the resonance it might otherwise have. What I see is McNamara the apologist and McNamara the regretful soldier, personalities that he freely oscillates between almost at will. He wags his finger at the camera so many times that I felt like he was giving me, a small boy, a lecture on how to live. The film becomes a compilation of McNamara saying, "I did my best, but I fucked up, but damn it, I did my best!"
Overall, I think this film is a good introduction to people who know little about the wars, but it ultimately devolves into a talking head documentary.
Ken S

Super Reviewer

May 5, 2007
Not a whole lot to say other than see it!
Jeremy S

Super Reviewer

May 17, 2007
Ranks amongst the most fascinating documentaries I have ever seen. More than a Vietnam War or politics or war itself, The Fog of War is a testimony to the life of Robert MaNamara, as if we the audience are godlike watching while a human being explains his life, his passions, his mistakes, asking for foegiveness and compassion in the face of history and death.
CloudStrife84
CloudStrife84

Super Reviewer

April 16, 2007
The actual subject itself, which this documentary revolved around, wasn't really all that captivating to me. The reason for that is the simple fact that it doesn't hit very close to home, as it's mainly targeted towards an American audience, and therefore not something I can relate to as much as I would have liked. On the other hand, thanks to the brilliant way it is told and presented by Robert McNamara, it somehow became more appealing than I would have otherwise thought of it. His great narration gave it a very human and modest touch, which, in the end, came to lift up my rating a notch above "average".
Morgan G

Super Reviewer

October 28, 2007
Far scarier than a horror movie.
Daniel H

Super Reviewer

February 28, 2007
It's pro war! It's anti-war! It's pro-war... well, not really. It's just about McNamara, and his uncanny ability to avoid both of the previous questions.

Some might find the neutral tone refreshing, regardless. Not about miltiary strategy, but the morally-neutral engineering of military PR and morale in the late 20th century.. the day-to-day business of an unpopular war.
Michael G

Super Reviewer

November 22, 2006
A very interesting history lesson.
Jeffrey M

Super Reviewer

January 11, 2012
Fog of War is a brilliant, fascinating, and absolutely absorbing documentary. It features an elderly, introspective, but also very lively Robert McNamara as he reflects on the lessons heā(TM)s learned from his life experiences, notably the quagmire in Vietnam. The documentary does an excellent job of illustrating and relating all the lessons involved, and is particularly chilling in its recounting of the Cuban missile crisis. Fog of War will go down with Why We Fight and Inside Job, as the best political documentaries between 2000-2010.
John B

Super Reviewer

January 13, 2010
One of the best documentaries ever produced. Congratulations to Errol Morris and to Bob McNamara for finally coming clean about his regrettable involvement in the Vietnam War campaign. A sense of relief for the man and a telling tale on the failure of policy.
Joseph E

Super Reviewer

June 30, 2010
One word..Amazing.
Curt C

Super Reviewer

June 2, 2006
This was meant find fault or inconsistancies in Robert McNamara's actions as Secretary of Defense I'm told. However, I came out of this finding him a brilliant man doing the best he possibly could under inconceivable conditions. Incredibly thought provocing and engaging material, even if I got the "wrong" message; the 'evil music' tricks were quite apparent however.
Critique Threatt
Critique Threatt

Super Reviewer

June 23, 2012
It's Robert McNamara talking about his youth, his days as President of Ford and working as Secretary Of Defense for President Kennedy and LBJ. It's interesting to hear him speak and remember the turbulant times of the 1960's and even questioning his own motives of war and his controversial decisions during the Vietnam War. I particularly liked the story McNamara mentions of how America was so close to a nuclear war catastrophe and how sudden a threat like that was avoided.
Anthony V

Super Reviewer

July 4, 2007
McNamara gives 11 lessons he's learned from his vast experience with American warfare. Should be required viewing for US citizens.
Blaster1618
Blaster1618

Super Reviewer

September 11, 2010
I've been watching a lot of forgettable fluff lately. This is not that. I watched this movie several years ago and caught it on cable a few times. Once I here his wavering voice it just draws me in. Like Alfred Noble, McNamara pioneered safety in the modern automobile but was part of orchestrating the fire bombing of Tokyo. He was hand picked by the Ford family to be the first non-Ford as president of the ford motor company. Kennedy snatched him away to be secretary of defense during Cuba through Vietnam. The movies shot with him talking directly to the camera. There are a few cutaways to some stock footage. He speaks with a degree of unfiltered honesty not to be expected from someone involved in government. He is a mathematician like me, with a strong moral compass. I guarantee you will not be bored watching this movie. It will give a new perspective on modern events it takes them from historic characters that made this happen to flawed people who did the best they could with what they had.
Deb S

Super Reviewer

March 21, 2010
"We all make mistakes. We know we make mistakes. I don't know any military commander, who is honest, who would say he has not made a mistake. ...the fog of war."

A shocking view behind the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, and the Cold War. Definitely thought provoking.
constanzaboutter
constanzaboutter

Super Reviewer

July 3, 2009
It is one of the best documentaries ever made. A very thought and provoking film, useful for teaching the Cold War to A Level or IB classes.
shannylee38
shannylee38

Super Reviewer

October 20, 2007
One of the few great documentaries which truly addresses to the real questions of war. Something that some countries dont do much. But if you like politics, maybe this documentary will be the one to watch for and think about its importance in this point in time.
Kit X

Super Reviewer

April 17, 2006
beautiful
December 26, 2013
Riveting. A remarkable piece of journalistic filmmaking, and a remarkable reflection on warfare ethics and the toll it takes on the decision makers behind the policies. It's amazing to listen to MacNamara talk about the decisions made during the Vietnam War, and how those decisions have affected him in his life since. Morris, who is one of the best (if not the best) documentarians of all time, takes us on a journey through MacNamara's life, but spends a long time to focus on the Vietnam War. Through plenty of archival footage, and some mysteriously obtained recordings of conversations with military and political leaders, Morris is able to seamlessly put us in the shoes of MacNamara.
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