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Berkeley in the Sixties1990

  • 4.4
Civil rights marches, anti-Vietnam War protests, the women's movement and the birth of the Black Panthers, all captured in their immediacy and passion in this gripping documentary. Featuring music from the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, the Band and many others. Nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 1991 Academy Awards®.

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1 member likes this review

In an earlier review of 'Weather Underground' I felt 'Berkeley in the Sixties' should be seen together. 'Berkeley' gives reason for why the Weather Bureau happened.

Beginning with the protest of how the University sold out to the Military-Industrial complex at UC Berkeley the 'doc' shows how students rebelled when HUAC came to the campus and the protests that resulted. It follows the Civil Rights Movement and it was a strong rebuke of HUAC that the Communist Party didn't do when HUAC and the Senate crippled the left in the late 40's and the 50's.

The Anti-HUAC movement led to the Free Speech Movement led by Mario Savio. This refusal to bend, led to the strength of SDS, the Anti-War movement, the Panthers, AIM, the Brown Berets, the Young Lords, Women's Liberation and ultimately to the seventies and the brutal attack against the students of Kent State.

This is important history that affected the world. It's worth your time to watch both of these. While at it see 'As Long as the River Runs', 'Incident at Oglala', 'Wounded Knee', 'The Murder of Fred Hampton' . . .

38da2866761a57607ff8e53f91ae2253?default=https%3a%2f%2fd3uc4wuqnt61m1.cloudfront.net%2fassets%2favatars%2fmale%2favatar m 0042
top reviewer

Member Reviews (5)

9906ff2368f28494251c010dd5ca2eb4?default=https%3a%2f%2fd3uc4wuqnt61m1.cloudfront.net%2fassets%2favatars%2fmale%2favatar m 0064
top reviewer

I only watched the first third of this because I left Berkeley at that point. I had decided that I didn't like mass movements, even mini-mass movements, in the late 50s and early 60s. The anti-nuclear testing movements and the anti House UnAmerican Activities Committee seemed to demonstrate the futility of the efforts. That is, it was obvious that atmospheric testing was dangerous and actually using the damn things was unthinkable. This seemed obvious, and certainly something which should be stopped. With the evidence clear and available, not one main stream politician took up the point. And now amount of rallies, marches and demonstrations would change anybodys' mind.

I think a major point left out of the movie was that the general trust of the mainstream media was destroyed for the people who were there watching, and then reading untrue descriptions on the next day. That was an enormously important shard of reality lancing open many of a half-baked and idealistic mind, especially mine. The music was nice but the fight wasn't worth the cost. One of the alternatives open was dope, freely available, and another was the blended dope/music life which was developing in the Haight. Altamont and Kent State a few years later were sharp jolts, like the FSM (Free Speach Movement) at Sather Gate, indicating futility. It is very sad that the movie does not feel like a snapshot of a particular place and a precise moment, and the token attention to the anti-HUAC, etc. movements and bomb-banning efforts, means that the nature of the FSM and the movement's subsequent ugly disintegrations aren't placed inside the the movie. The atmosphere has been left out, and the first third of the movement fails because the very ground it happened on is ignored. Dan Eaves

1 member likes this review
38da2866761a57607ff8e53f91ae2253?default=https%3a%2f%2fd3uc4wuqnt61m1.cloudfront.net%2fassets%2favatars%2fmale%2favatar m 0042
top reviewer

In an earlier review of 'Weather Underground' I felt 'Berkeley in the Sixties' should be seen together. 'Berkeley' gives reason for why the Weather Bureau happened.

Beginning with the protest of how the University sold out to the Military-Industrial complex at UC Berkeley the 'doc' shows how students rebelled when HUAC came to the campus and the protests that resulted. It follows the Civil Rights Movement and it was a strong rebuke of HUAC that the Communist Party didn't do when HUAC and the Senate crippled the left in the late 40's and the 50's.

The Anti-HUAC movement led to the Free Speech Movement led by Mario Savio. This refusal to bend, led to the strength of SDS, the Anti-War movement, the Panthers, AIM, the Brown Berets, the Young Lords, Women's Liberation and ultimately to the seventies and the brutal attack against the students of Kent State.

This is important history that affected the world. It's worth your time to watch both of these. While at it see 'As Long as the River Runs', 'Incident at Oglala', 'Wounded Knee', 'The Murder of Fred Hampton' . . .

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

A decent if somewhat unremarkable documentary about student radicalism at UC Berkeley in the 1960's. While it does a good job at relating discrete facts, it does a fairly poor job at establishing context. People speak on camera without the film really establishing who they are beyond telling the viewer their name. The film is narrated by someone who repeatedly refers to her own role in events, but her identity has never been established. Not surprisingly, the film is decidedly on the side of the students. That's fine. It's frequently more than a little bit uncritical about what is being said, but the opposing side, especially the university administration, is so ridiculously stupid and incompetent that you can't help but side with the students even when they are not completely right themselves.

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top reviewer

This documentary film presented the collage of when We The People demanded Democracy to be democracy. Berkeley California sizzled as a transcontextualized cultural Philadelphia-Boston Tea Party 1960s*** Incredible memories of my time in Berkeley in the era when Freedom's Song was Silenced ****

I was there. It was like that. Good job.