The Camden 28 (2007) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Camden 28 (2007)



Critic Consensus: Despite the fact the events chronicled in The Camden 28 occurred 30 years ago, this poignant and compassionate doc about Vietnam protesters is both powerful and timely.

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Movie Info

Filmmaker Anthony Giacchino explores the remarkable story of 28 anti-war activists who protested the Vietnam War by conspiring to break into a draft-board office in Camden, NJ, and destroy government draft records identifying young men available for military service. On Sunday, August 22, 1971, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and Attorney General John Mitchell announced that 20 anti-war activists had been arrested in and around a Camden draft-board office. Just five days later, the indictment of those 20 individuals -- as well as eight more who were accused of being involved in the incident -- was made public by Mitchell. Charged with conspiracy to remove and destroy files from the draft board, FBI office, and Army Intelligence office, many of the indicted faced up to 47 years in a federal prison if convicted. While the accused referred to themselves as "America's Conscience," the government dubbed them the Camden 28. Many were surprised to hear that all but one of the accused were prominent religious figures -- including four Catholic priests, a Lutheran minister, and 22 Catholic laypeople. All involved claimed that killing was morally indefensible, even in war. Over the course of the next two months, the defense would present its case and many of the defendants would passionately plead their case. In this documentary, filmmaker Giacchino explores the friendships and betrayals that played out as the controversial case of the Camden 28 went before a jury during a time when the country was divided by a war that seemed without end.

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Critic Reviews for The Camden 28

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (11)

Director Anthony Giacchino doesn't always relate the tale in the clearest fashion, but his sometimes overly emotional approach... doesn't detract from its essential fascination.

August 11, 2007
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Not exactly blazing cinema, but intellectually riveting.

Full Review… | August 2, 2007
Top Critic

The moments never add up to a movie.

July 27, 2007
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic

Their story is inspiring and, all these years later, relevant.

Full Review… | July 27, 2007
New York Post
Top Critic

Concise, inventive and unabashedly partisan, The Camden 28 is a small movie that contains multitudes.

July 27, 2007
New York Times
Top Critic

Though the filmmaking is pedestrian, The Camden 28's timeless truths come through with resounding power.

Full Review… | July 26, 2007
AV Club
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Camden 28

MmmmKay..I thought I reviewed this once, but this app is so clunky, it apparently didn't take. A surprisingly good documentary, given I only stumbled on it at the library today. It recalls one of the many anti-Vietnam war protests of the 60's and early 70's, where protesters broke into draft board offices and either burned or destroyed records. In this case in Camden, NJ, the protesters, largely left wing Catholics, were betrayed by one of their own, only to see the Nixon administration and Hoover Justice Dept. screw up the case. This had to be one of J. Edgar Hoover's last big investigations before he went to that big drag bar in the sky. He never lived to see the unusual trial and verdict.

Don Kaiser
Don Kaiser

[font=Century Gothic]In 1971, a group of antiwar activists led by Protestant and Catholic clergy who were inspired by the civil disobedience of priests Philip and Daniel Berrigan decided to steal and destroy draft records in Camden, NJ. "The Camden 28" is a highly engrossing documentary about this action told through archival footage, interviews with participants and footage of a reunion 30 years later. The story is a complex one, with a couple of twists. Not only were the activists concerned with the war in Vietnam, but also the poverty in their native Camden.(Many of the local draftees were selected from the poorest neighborhoods.) It even made me rethink some of my views of religion but I did cringe when one of the priests talked about life being sacred. And it was especially cool that some of these activists are still involved in the antiwar movement thirty years later.[/font] [font=Century Gothic]Note to the film's director: Sorry I couldn't stay after the show but I really did have to run.[/font]

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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