The Trials of Henry Kissinger (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Trials of Henry Kissinger (2002)

The Trials of Henry Kissinger (2002)

The Trials of Henry Kissinger



Critic Consensus: This compelling unauthorized biography takes a muckraker's view of the controversial diplomat.

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Movie Info

The Trials of Henry Kissinger is a documentary based on Christopher Hitchens' controversial book about the Nobel Laureate and famous U.S. diplomat. Filmmakers Eugene Jarecki and Alex Gibney thoroughly examine Kissinger's life and career, from his childhood escape from the Nazis to his canny achievement of celebrity status and formidable power over American foreign policy under Presidents Nixon and Ford. The film presents the case that Kissinger could be tried as a war criminal in International Criminal Court for his role in influencing illegal military actions by the U.S. government. Hitchens, other journalists, and several political figures, including Kissinger supporters like Alexander Haig, discuss Kissinger's role in the following events -- the secret bombings of Cambodia during the Vietnam War, which killed thousands of civilians in the neutral country, and indirectly led to the rise of the Khmer Rouge; the 1970 military coup in Chile that brought vicious dictator Augusto Pinochet to power; and the 1975 massacre of East Timor by a U.S.-backed Indonesian military. The film describes how a new climate of international justice, exemplified by Pinochet's arrest, could mean that Kissinger will eventually have to defend his actions in court.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Special Interest
Directed By: ,
Written By: Alex Gibney
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 19, 2003
First Run

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Critic Reviews for The Trials of Henry Kissinger

All Critics (65) | Top Critics (23)

In a larger sense, this powerfully muckraking film is about the accountability of public figures and about how, in regard to international justice, there can be no exceptions.

Full Review… | August 7, 2004
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

Even if the case against Kissinger is not fully convincing, the documentary keeps you glued to your seat and thinking long after you've left the theater.

Full Review… | February 13, 2003
Miami Herald
Top Critic

An Incendiary piece of a rather innocuous order

Full Review… | September 6, 2010
Cinema Writer

Much of Kissinger's career has been spent smoothing the way for rich industrialists, ambitious rightwing politicos, military men, and, of course, himself.

Full Review… | May 5, 2010
East Bay Express

provocative study

Full Review… | December 3, 2009
Old School Reviews

A fast-paced documentary that entertains as it informs.

Full Review… | October 26, 2007
All Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for The Trials of Henry Kissinger


It makes a strong (if pretty one sided) case against Kissinger, who has maintained a strangely high degree of respect and admiration in many circles. I'm glad someone is willing to point out that giving him the Nobel Peace Prize was just a terrible idea.

Alec Barniskis
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer


on sided but good. makes you ask if the ends justify the means. him and nixon were doing lots of dirty stuff against a dirty enemy. Hes undeniably smart and believes in his causes


Hitchens, Gibney, and Jarecki make a great case against Kissinger, and you feel compelled to believe their impressions of the controversial figure. It's not quite as interesting as you'd think, but it's a good first outing for Eugene Jarecki and shows promise for his future career as a documentary filmmaker.

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