50 Documentaries to See Before You Die

Hearts and Minds (1974)

Director: Peter Davis

The Vietnam War is so often the subject of superficial pop culture joking, it's all to easy to reduce it to a lousy war that turned a bunch of American servicemen loopy. (Think of The Big Lebowski.) Which is why Peter Davis's Hearts and Minds, a documentary with no narration, that works just through the tension created between conflicting images and scenes, is all the more important today, when America is again embroiled in a lousy conflict.

Winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1974, Davis's film is full of empathy for the Vietnamese and American GIs, but unafraid to criticize both for the disasterous effects of war. —RS

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