The Panama Deception (1992)

The Panama Deception


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Movie Info

Barbra Trent's Oscar-winning documentary takes a harsh look at a black period in 20th-century democracy, the late '80s and early '90s when during "Operation Just Cause," the U.S. invaded Panama, ostensibly to oust dictator and known arms and drug kingpin General Manuel Noriega, whom the U.S. aided for over a decade. Basing her information on eyewitness accounts, Trent alleges that U.S. troops killed up to 4,000 Panamanian men between the ages of 15 and 55, buried them secretly in mass graves, … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Special Interest
Directed By: ,
Written By: David Kasper
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 25, 2007


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Critic Reviews for The Panama Deception

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (3)

Forceful condemnation of the Reagan-Bush policy in Panama, especially after the 1989 invasion. Relavent message--a total dismissal of the officual story--and timeley release in election year increased the visibility of docu, which won the Oscar Award.

Full Review… | October 6, 2006
Top Critic

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

A sobering look at how Noriega went from the US payroll to jail.

May 29, 2003
Nitrate Online

A revelatory documentary

March 11, 2003
Uruguay Total

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Austin Chronicle

Audience Reviews for The Panama Deception

This documentary explores the hidden agendas behind the U.S. invasion of Panama.
Watching this documentary now, I couldn't help but draw one-to-one parallels between its subject and the wars in Iraq. All three wars were surrounded in lies and presented to the American public devoid of context and history. And this documentary meticulously picks apart those lies, giving us a history of a region we rarely think seriously about. The parallels I draw between then and now are probably inappropriate and simplistic, but my gut reaction can't be too far off. And when the narrator states that Panama was the training ground for the first Iraq War, I couldn't help but think, "In more ways than you could ever know." I vaguely remember the invasion of Panama; it was when I was still young, believing that we were always the good guys. And even now, in the age of Obama, who at one time convinced us to be optimistic and proud again, I watch this documentary hoping that things have changed, that the public relations branch that presents victims of our attacks as grateful has been dissolved, but then I wake up.
Overall, I think this is an astounding film, one that is required watching for all people who think about voting with the seriousness that it deserves.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Marvellous documentary about the Panama invasion by the United States and the role that the U.S. had in propping up Noriega beforehand. Unfortunately, it relevant only to the historians now.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


I didn't know much about our invasion of Panama before I saw this movie so it made for a good educational experience. Of course it became one more example of how our own government can be just as bad as the terrorists we are trying to stamp out.

Phillip Renke

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