The Trials of Henry Kissinger (2002)

The Trials of Henry Kissinger (2002)



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.
Documentary , Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
First Run

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Critic Reviews for The Trials of Henry Kissinger

All Critics (58) | Top Critics (18)

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.

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

The film is insightful about Kissinger's background and history.

Full Review… | December 13, 2002
Denver Post
Top Critic

Fascinating to watch as a portrait of political celebrity and ego.

Full Review… | December 6, 2002
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

A stunning and overwhelmingly cogent case for Kissinger as a calculating war criminal.

December 6, 2002
Boston Globe
Top Critic

While the filmmaking is standard documentary fare and the approach overtly biased, the narration, with tales of intelligence intrigue and ruthless foreign policy, is compelling and convincing.

Full Review… | December 5, 2002
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Trials of Henry Kissinger


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

Alex Wolf Rkc
Alex Wolf Rkc

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.

Nathan Martin
Nathan Martin

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

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