Why We Fight


Why We Fight

Critics Consensus

A provocative and timely film that explores the military/industrial complex and the motivating forces that lead us to war.



Reviews Counted: 112

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 67,631


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.3/5

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Movie Info

"Why We Fight" is an unflinching look at the military industrial complex and the rise of the American Empire. Inspired by Dwight Eisenhower's legendary farewell speech (in which he coined the phrase "military industrial complex"), the film surveys the scorched landscape of a half-century's military adventures, asking how -- and telling why -- a nation of, by, and for the people has become the savings-and-loan of a system whose survival depends on a state of constant war. The film moves beyond the headlines of various American military operations to the deeper questions of why -- why does America fight? What are the forces -- political, economic and ideological -- that drive us to fight against an ever-changing enemy?

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Critic Reviews for Why We Fight

All Critics (112) | Top Critics (36)

Ultimately, Why We Fight reveals itself as yet another leftie doc with an anti-war agenda. But the mere fact that it takes time to ask questions and listen to opposing viewpoints sets it apart from the pack.

Nov 27, 2006 | Rating: B
AV Club
Top Critic

A film that stands out for its passion, ambition and clarion-call sincerity, even amid the contemporary onslaught of political documentaries.

Oct 7, 2006

Extremely timely and urgently relevant.

Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

The fact is, Jon Stewart on The Daily Show uncovers this same hypocrisy every night, and does it in two minutes with irony and humor, while Why We Fight attempts it with outrage and scolding.

Mar 30, 2006 | Rating: 3/5

Eugene Jarecki's Why We Fight takes on enough subjects to make five great documentaries, but as a result is so scattered that it doesn't quite make for one good one.

Mar 15, 2006 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

It's impossible to imagine anyone, right-leaning or left, coming away from this hugely important documentary unshaken by its representation of the United States and its military establishment.

Feb 24, 2006 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Why We Fight

Why We Fight discusses America's need to defend the world through war. This is a very interesting documentary that features great interviews by Gore Vidal, John McCain and others on why the US is the only Superpower in the world. This is a powerful film that does make you think and gives you important answers. I found this film to be very good at giving us the facts and it goes in depth with the facts. Although some may not be interested in the subject, those who are should give this film a viewing. The film covers many aspects of why the US uses its military to control and make sure peaces reigns in the world. Many aspect are covered, everything from the Cold War to the war in Iraq. We get to see why the US government tries to concentrate more on its defense than other serious issues. Eisenhower was the first to oppose an extensive National Security policy and warned about the extensive Military industrial complex. We get to understand why the US polices the world and spends more on defense than other nation. This is quite shocking, as you can imagine what other countries spend their budget on. The documentary takes a look at how Military Corporations makes money off the government and it is quite interesting at how all the contractors bid for the biggest contracts for new military hardware. Why We Fight takes an unbiased look at all this, and it's quite effective in giving us both sides of the argument. This is a smartly crafted documentary that is shocking and very interesting from beginning to end.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

A documentary-by-numbers, in a sense, and about the Iraq War mostly, but I found this to be as much about Eisenhower than anything else, which was great, because I didn't know as much about him and his meaning when he famously coined the term Military-Industrial Complex. I liked this documentary because it was as damning as a Michael Moore film and much less sentimental, and the message was stronger because of it. There are situations that just make you throw your hands in the air, and the Iraq War is certainly one of them. Worthy of its accolades, no question.

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

Good documentary with some great moments of emotional power, but it doesn't say all that much new about the current state of the USA that hasn't already been discussed in superior films.

Michael S
Michael S

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]"Why We Fight" is an informative but flawed documentary, that despite providing a comprehensive history lesson through talking heads, participants and archival footage, does not make a very good case. It starts off with Dwight Eisenhower's 1961 farewell address where he explains the menace of the Military Industrial Complex.(It is curious that the film praises Eisenhower's presidency in many ways but two of the most infamous Cold War foreign interventions - Iran and Guatemala - happened on his watch.) The central thesis of the movie is how that has corrupted American foreign policy but I would argue that the weapons makers are simply a group of bottom feeders and war profiteers who have no direct affect on foreign policy. Instead, the government's self-righteous attitude leads the United States into perpetual conflict, first with the Soviet Union and now moving onto Iran and North Korea. In fact, the invasion of Iraq was nothing more than a cynical exploitation of post 9/11 blood lust, waged by an administration looking for an easy win to heighten its popularity, with little congressional opposition due to a lack of backbone, not corruption. And it is ironic that one of the reasons for the invasion was to stop terrorism, when instead it seems to be the cause of the opposite. [/font]

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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