Hearts and Minds (2004) - Rotten Tomatoes

Hearts and Minds (2004)

Hearts and Minds (2004)

Hearts and Minds




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

The title of this documentary was inspired by the mantra recited by those in charge of the Vietnam War: "In order to win the war, we must win the hearts and minds of the people." The failure to achieve this, coupled with the disastrous no-win policies of the higher-ups, is the nucleus of this film, put together by director Peter Davis in the same manner as Marcel Ophuls' The Sorrow and the Pity. Like the Ophuls film, Davis juxtaposes news footage of the Vietnam war with interviews conducted with its observers and participants, interspersing vignettes of the fatuous comments made by the generals and politicians. The film was briefly withdrawn from distribution when Walter Rostow, one-time advisor to President Johnson, insisted that his reputation had been damaged and demanded that the two minutes featuring Rostow on-camera be deleted. More controversy arose when Hearts and Minds won the Best Documentary Oscar, whereupon the Academy issued a statement--read during the awards ceremony by Frank Sinatra--that it did not condone or advocate the volatile statements made by the producers during their acceptance speech.more
Rating: R
Genre: Documentary
Directed By: ,
Written By: Peter Davis
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 25, 2002
Rialto - Official Site

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Critic Reviews for Hearts and Minds

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (1)

A cry of despair made by a person whose viewpoint hadn't yet been soundly vindicated.

Full Review… | July 2, 2014
AV Club
Top Critic

has not lost its power to provoke and challenge our conventional understanding of patriotism and the necessity of war

Full Review… | July 29, 2014
Q Network Film Desk

It's a cinematic essay of constant movement and provocation, a record of one man finding his way through the fog of war.

Full Review… | June 23, 2014
The Dissolve

Provocative Vietnam War docu with violence, racial slurs.

Full Review… | August 24, 2012
Common Sense Media

Peter Davis' Oscar-winning feature is a must-see documentary about Vietnam.

Full Review… | April 22, 2012

... the first film to confront exactly what the United States did in Vietnam in the name of fighting communism and winning the "hearts and minds" of the Vietnamese people.

Full Review… | November 18, 2010
Turner Classic Movies Online

Audience Reviews for Hearts and Minds


one of the most powerful documentaries i've ever seen. it's admittedly biased and no surprise it was a big influence on michael moore. still shocking 35 years later. it's hard to tell if we've learned anything and the war machine goes on as brutal and senseless as ever.

Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

It's the sign of a truly great documentary when it can be powerful, moving, startling, and even eye opening almost 40 years after the fact, when all the facts have already been laid to bear. Hearts and Minds is an incredible documentary made in 1974 about the conflicting attitudes of the Vietnam war. It pulls no punches whatsoever and provides remarkable, revealing interviews with both Americans and Vietnamese; from soldiers to politicians to civilians on both sides, and extremely disturbing footage showing the aftermath of the rash of American bombings within Vietnam, where innumerable innocent civilians were killed, including many children. Obviously, the film leans in the direction of peace, but it's as subjective as a documentary could possibly be on this subject, and it definitely makes one think of the true consequences of war, the nature of American imperialism, and how it all relates to our current situation in Iraq and the rest of the world. I can only imagine how shocking this must have been when it was released not long after the end of the Vietnam war - no wonder it won a very deserving Oscar. This is a seminal documentary, and should be on everyone's "must-see" list.

Christopher Mercer

Super Reviewer


What more is there to say about a documentary such as this? It is truly required viewing to anyone who wants to comprehend the complexities of war.

I've heard derision of this film over at IMDB, partly over the minor connection it draws between the sports-culture in America and the connection with wartime machismo. I believe it is an interesting and not entirely false connection to make. There IS a connection between War and Sport, and I believe the film was not saying anything new by briefly liking the two together, and it only does so on two occasions... specifically, right before a particularly graphic montage of the Tet Offensive.

This movie presents both sides, although not always fairly.. but at the same time, it is hard to present the pro-war side fairly when many of their arguments are obviously absurd, callous or evidence of their desire to mitigate their sense of loss, embarassment, or guilt.

One of the best, or at least most popular, war documentaries ever made.

Daniel Hetteix

Super Reviewer

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