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F.T.A.1972

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  • 3.5
Available for the first time since it mysteriously disappeared in 1972 after only one week in theaters, this raucous film is a riveting slice of the Vietnam anti-war movement. Reviving the wonderfully campy, yet biting theater of Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland’s Free the Army (or, more popularly, “F*** the Army”) Tour, FTA captures the entertaining magic and mayhem of the anti-war and pro-labor show as it rallies and rouses dissident GIs stationed along the Pacific Rim. A gritty mix of rollicking performances and GI interviews, FTA juxtaposes lighthearted political satire with the somber realities of war, occupation and the absurdities of military life, a barbed rebuke to the staid USO program. From Okinawa to the Philippines, stirred by the show’s provocative message, the members of the U.S. military find courage to speak out candidly in front of the camera. Fonda and Sutherland are joined on stage by an all-star cast of musicians and activists including folk musician Len Chandler, songstress Rita Martinson, and comedian Paul Mooney. A fresh look at the Vietnam anti-war movement through the songs and skits that shook a generation, this film will leave you singing along with the fired-up men and women of the military.

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5 members like this review

For baby boomers this is probably like looking at an old picture and asking, 'is that what I looked like?' Aside from the well-intentioned innocence of hyperbolic accusations against the enemy - US - during the Vietnam invasion, the truths then revealed by those young voices still ring true more than fifty years later. But more than the pleasure of reviewing an old photo album, FTA re-affirmed that the struggle against oppression (US imperial power in particular) and the struggle for social and economic justice never ends. I do not know, nor does it matter, where Sutherland and Fonda are today regarding political ideology, but they are due a debt for being front line soldiers for peace and justice.

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Member Reviews (8)

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top reviewer

For baby boomers this is probably like looking at an old picture and asking, 'is that what I looked like?' Aside from the well-intentioned innocence of hyperbolic accusations against the enemy - US - during the Vietnam invasion, the truths then revealed by those young voices still ring true more than fifty years later. But more than the pleasure of reviewing an old photo album, FTA re-affirmed that the struggle against oppression (US imperial power in particular) and the struggle for social and economic justice never ends. I do not know, nor does it matter, where Sutherland and Fonda are today regarding political ideology, but they are due a debt for being front line soldiers for peace and justice.

5 members like this review

This movie was filmed during the very time the viewer entered the US Army and much of what is seen was obvious in the Army at that time. Good music, especially with Len Chandler's guitar and song choices, makes it a good perspective at a very important time in American history. Civilians espousing anti-war, anti-discrimination messages visiting military bases and using humor and dialogue to get the message across makes for a powerful social message even now. It seems pretty clear why it was removed from theaters after only a week of screening - its message would not have fit well with the establishment at that time.

2 members like this review

When did they stop making period pieces? Judging by this little gem, they were still making them well into the 70's. It's not terrible, but it's not a movie (there is no plot), and it's not really a documentary -- more like an assemblage of footage taken during the tour of "F.T.A." -- a traveling stage show of vaudeville-esque anti-war songs and skits. You get to watch the rag-tag bunch of inspired then-hippies/now celebs (Michael Alaimo, Peter Boyle, Len Chandler, Pamela Donegan, Jane Fonda, Steve Jaffe, Rita Martinson, Paul Mooney, Holly Near, Donald Sutherland) as they travel around the war-torn regions entertaining the troops. Historically of some interest, as you see our then fighting boys and girls pretty much dissing the whole war effort (ie., they were over it at that point), yo get to see your Fearless Cavaliers shamelessly spin their anti-war message, and you get to see a bunch of then young people doing what young people do best -- including overacting, screwing around in-the-name-of-art and wearing their hearts on their sleeves, looking sloppy because they're too cool to care, and generally doing things more for effect than with any genuine intention of effecting change. Just my two cents.

Produced By

Jane Fonda

Igo Kantor

Francine Parker

Donald Sutherland

2 members like this review
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On the surface not for many except unrepentant 70's lefties and the curious...BUT as a reminder of the horror of the Vietnam War - this film is a disturbing and important historical artifact. The anti-war movement among the population and service members was clearly a problem that the 1% have now figured out how to solve. Now they control the messages from media sources (not like in Vietnam) and eliminate citizen soldiers and the draft. Yes the songs and "performances" in the film are amateurish and the left rhetoric went way overboard, but so many facets of the anti-war movement during Vietnam touched most people lives and made them take a personal stand one way or the other. Important to remember, in spite of current right wing historical revisionists, that it was not aimed at soldiers but those who sent them to wars like Vietnam and then tried to forget them. See the recent news story about vets dying while waiting to get doctor appointments at the VA.

1 member likes this review

Love it !! a stunning piece of history

1 member likes this review

For the unpatriotic, American military and veteran-hating, uninformed, radical left-wing, "progressive", America-hating, pro-Taliban and muslim terrorist, MSNBC-watching, Hollywood hypocrite limousine liberal Obama-loving crowd, this 1972 film will be entertaining. For the other side of America it is a tiny piece of our recent history when the nation was cracking up and was at its most polarized period since the Civil War. That Hanoi Jane is still breathing is a miracle-she should have been tried for treason and shot. Watching the footage from this film is depressing-Most of the military personnel who enthusiastically attended the FTA shows and gave interviews and were filmed in various states of degradation were once a bunch of patriotic, clean-cut high school kids who by 1971 had degenerated into a sorry cesspool gang of treasonous dirty bums, sexual degenerates, drug addicts, deserters, and cowards.

1 member likes this review

This film gives a view of the passion behind the anti-war movement of the 60s and 70s. I remember going to a movie on an air force base and seeing airmen in the row in front of me raising their clenched fists as they stood for the obligatory national anthem that preceded every movie. It was that kind of time. I wonder what viewers who grew up post 9-11 think of this movie, in this present age where the military is exalted. My criticism of this movie is the length. It had me engrossed for the first two-thirds, and then it just seemed like more of the same, although the confrontation with the hecklers was worth watching in the last third. The movie conflates anti-war and worker's rights which I think made the film seem unfocused. I also think a couple of performances could have been cut. These are the reasons I give it three stars rather than four.

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

america had this backwards,certainly we supported our military sent to resist communism we were outnumbered and way this fine historical piece was marvelous undertrainedwedropped millions of tons of explosives from b 52 bombers our g.i s did not really know why were their