Films on Empire USA

The actions of an EMPIRE are called by the related term IMPERIALISM, whether by the ancient Roman Empire, the Spanish Empire in the New World, the British Empire in India and elsewhere, the American Empire currently around the world, or any other empire.

Imperial Grand Strategy
Noam Chomsky

Lecture 2006 NR 120 minutes. In two lectures and a 45-minute interview, intellectual and political activist Noam Chomsky — credited as the father of modern linguistics — delivers an unabashed criticism of the Bush administration’s record on terrorism, framing the president’s invasion of Iraq as part of an “imperial grand strategy.” Filmed in 2003, this collection of Chomsky’s personal views also provides an effective overview of the global political climate.

Invisible Empire
A New World Order Defined

Documentary 2009 NR 134 minutes. From provocateur Jason Bermas comes this mesmerizing documentary that exposes what global leaders really mean when they talk about a “new world order”: a tyrannical world government that enslaves humanity to consolidate its power. Using damning footage of former World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz and other wealthy elites, Bermas chronicles how they’ve used bank schemes, false flag terrorism and other nefarious means to usher in their plans.

Chalmers Johnson: Speaking Freely: Vol. 4

Lecture 2007 NR 52 minutes. Writer and professor Chalmers Johnson warns of the dangers of American imperialism, a trend evidenced in the presence of U.S. military bases abroad, the passage of the Patriot Act and the executive branch’s use of military force.

John Perkins: Speaking Freely Vol. 1

Lecture 2007 NR. Author and former economic consultant John Perkins takes aim at himself, confessing his shameful role in helping organizations such as World Bank and the IMF drive poor nations into crippling debt while enriching U.S. corporations through empire building. His social conscience awakened, Perkins finally got fed up and quit his job. Now, he runs a successful nonprofit group that works to help indigenous peoples protect and strengthen their environments and cultures. See Full Review

Apology of an Economic Hit Man

Documentary 2008 NR. Stelios Koul records the confessions of author John Perkins in this documentary. Perkins alleges he was part of a clandestine team of economic “hit men” who worked to exploit poor countries in the 1970s on behalf of the United States government. His claims are backed by authentic propaganda films as well as dramatized reenactments of top-secret events he says took place behind a thick veil of secrecy.

Let’s Make Money

Documentary 2008 NR 1hr 47m Let’s Make Money is not about how to make money. This film traces money as it goes through the global finance system — exposing policies and practices affecting the worldwide economy. This film is about the billions, trillions of dollars that go to selfish human greed and not to basic human need. This shows the planetary marketplace from all perspectives: wealthy investors, business owners, bankers, laborers, activists, government officials, impoverished people — from all around the globe. See Full Review

War Made Easy

Documentary 2007 NR 73 minutes. Based on Norman Solomon’s revealing book and narrated by actor Sean Penn, this documentary exposes the government’s and the media’s purported history of deceiving the American people and leading the nation into war after war. Using archival footage of past presidents and media correspondents — including the revered Walter Cronkite — the film sheds light on propaganda and draws parallels between the Vietnam and Iraq wars. See Full Review

Susan George: Speaking Freely: Vol. 2

Lecture 2007 NR 52 minutes. Join award-winning scholar Susan George for an enlightening hour as she reveals the forces at work behind the problems that plague our global community today, such as poverty and unfair international trade practices. Far from a dry lecture, her talk traces the intriguing history behind the politics of empire building with a freedom, depth and élan you won’t find on the 6 o’clock news. Beware: This presentation is dangerous to complacency!

Black Money

Documentary Frontline 2009 NR 60 minutes. Slush funds, front companies and secret payments are just a few of the illegal tactics multinational companies are using to fatten their wallets — and increasingly, investigators are on to them, as this special edition of “Frontline” illustrates. Investigative journalist Lowell Bergman shows how the U.S. Justice Department is working with allies around the world to crack down on the billion-dollar business that international bribery has become.

The Shock Doctrine

Documentary 2009 NR 82 minutes. Taking shock therapy as a metaphor, this investigative documentary explores “disaster capitalism,” in which unstable nations are first jolted by catastrophic events, then subjected to free-market remedies imposed by first-world heavyweights.

The End of Poverty?

Documentary 2008 NR 104 minutes. Exploring the history of poverty in developing countries, filmmaker Philippe Diaz contends that today’s economic inequities arose as a result of colonization, military conquest and slavery, with wealthier countries seizing the resources of the poor. Narrated by Martin Sheen, this absorbing documentary includes interviews with numerous historians, economists and sociologists who shed light on the ongoing conditions that contribute to poverty. See Full Review

The Oil Factor

Documentary 2005 NR 93 minutes. Despite official statements that U.S. wars in the Middle East and Central Asia are being waged in the name of terror, it’s hard to ignore that three-quarters of the world’s oil supply comes from these regions. Narrated by Edward Asner, this thought-provoking documentary explores the realities of the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan and sheds light on the United States’ true motives. Featured experts include Noam Chomsky and author Ahmed Rashid. Even though it briefly talks about oil and its future, its primary focus is the war in Iraq/ Afghanistan. Its title is elusive because it focuses almost entirely on the causes/effects of war in those countries. It does not talk about oil enough and gives no strong history of oil in these countries as well as America. This doc. should be retitled to something along the lines of “the unspoken history of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.” This the is most important MUST SEE documentary ever! Everyone should see this. Very factual. Please tell all your friends to see this. See Full Review

Bolivia: Leasing the Rain

Documentary Frontline World 2002. In Bolivia, a private consortium, dominated by the Bechtel Corporation of San Francisco, had taken over Cochabamba’s water system in 2000 and raised water rates. Protestors blamed Bechtel for trying to “lease the rain.” A popular protest there turned into a deadly riot. The army battled civilians in the streets on and off for three months, hundreds were arrested, a seventeen year-old boy was shot and killed, the government of Bolivia nearly collapsed. The water warriors who ousted Bechtel took control of the water system, vowing to run it as a human right, not as a commodity.

Even the Rain
(También la Lluvia)

Drama 2010 NR 1hr42m. While making a film about the incursion of Christopher Columbus into the New World leading to the Spanish empire, a director finds the Bolivian locals protesting modern exploitation, as the filming occurs simultaneously with the Bolivian water war in the year 2000. Very interesting premise of a film crew making an ‘anti-imperialist’ historical film in Bolivia and encountering fierce local struggles against modern exploitation and oppression by the American empire.  It’s nice to see an entertaining drama and thought-provoking treatment of issues you typically see only in a documentary. An important film for our time.

Gore Vidal:
The United States of Amnesia

Documentary 2013 NR 1hr29m. With interviews and footage from his television appearances, this documentary chronicles the life and career of outspoken writer Gore Vidal. I was elated to see him talking about unpopular topics like class struggle decades before Occupy Wall Street, exchanges with William F. Buckley in debates that today would cause Meet the Press cameras to melt. This is a well made overview of the highlights of his career. With the benefit of hindsight, Vidal is proven more prescient with each passing year. As soon as I was finished watching it, I watched it again the next day, fascinating!! I think he is basically correct about this country, and the truth hurts. He was a great disinfectant. I cannot recommend it enough!

Surviving Progress

Documentary 2011 NR 1hr. 26m. This bracing documentary considers whether human “progress” stemming from the Industrial Age could be paving the way for civilization’s collapse. The film asks a range of thinkers whether the modern world might be headed for a “progress trap.”


Documentary 2008 NR 1hr 20m. With homeland security and the war on terror becoming increasingly important issues, the U.S. government has grown more and more secretive, allegedly to protect the country and save lives. But is this culture of secrets at odds with democracy? This documentary examines both the pros and cons of government concealment by focusing on classified secrets and the arguments the government makes in the name of national security. See Full Review

The World Without Us

Documentary 2008 NR 1hr 21m. This provocative documentary probes what would happen if the United States were to suddenly remove itself from the world stage, giving up its self-appointed role as a global policeman and withdrawing into its own borders.

The Listening Project

Documentary 2008 NR 1hr 13m. Named Best Documentary at the Santa Cruz Film Festival, Dominic Howes and Joel Weber’s intellectual trek through 14 countries attempts to uncover answers to the question, “What does the world think of the United States of America?” Individuals from all walks of life and myriad cultures freely express their stark opinions — both complimentary and condemning — of a nation that may not be loved by all, but leaves few lives untouched.

The American Ruling Class

Documentary 2005 NR 89 minutes. This inventive, mildly fictionalized documentary follows noted editor Lewis Lapham as he introduces two Ivy League graduates to America’s elite in an effort to examine the role of class and moneyed privilege in American democracy. With stops at the Pentagon, posh Manhattan parties and more, Lapham encounters luminaries — including James Baker III and Walter Cronkite — who each share their perspectives on America’s ruling class.

Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties

Documentary 2004 NR 66 minutes. Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Congress passed a series of legislations known as The Patriot Act, which is designed to assist law enforcement in preventing future terrorist attacks. Take an inside look at this controversial bill through the eyes of legal analysts and constitutional experts as they examine the possible dangers The Patriot Act poses to our civil liberties and individual freedoms.

The Panama Deception

Documentary 1992 NR 91 minutes. Filmmakers Barbara Trent and David Kasper explain the untold truths behind the United States’ 1989 invasion of Panama in this hard-hitting documentary that illuminates the complex relationship between Gen. Manuel Noriega and the U.S. government. Juxtaposing interviews with experts and eyewitnesses with historical media reports, the film shows how the press helped win the American public’s approval despite widespread condemnation abroad. See Full Review

The Camden 28

Documentary 2007 NR 1hr 22m. This stirring documentary recounts the trial of 28 Vietnam War opponents who broke into a New Jersey draft board office in 1971. The goal of the group was to make a bold statement in opposition to the war in Vietnam by way of sabotaging the portion of the draft process that was administered through the local draft board in Camden. Their plan was to break into the draft board offices at night and search for, collect, and either destroy or remove the records of all Class 1-A status draft registrants. It was to be both a symbolic and real blow to the process through which tens of thousands of young American men were being drafted and sent to fight in Vietnam. The Vietnam participants seemingly had no choice and were “selected” by their neighbors who sat on the local draft board. They wrote in a statement before trial:  “We are twenty-eight men and women who, together with other resisters across the country, are trying with our lives to say NO to the madness we see perpetrated by our government in the name of the American people – the madness of our Vietnam policy, of the arms race, of our neglected cities and inhuman prisons. We do not believe that it is criminal to destroy pieces of paper which are used to bind men to involuntary servitude, which train these men to kill, and which send them to possibly die in an unjust, immoral, and illegal war. We will continue to speak out and act for peace and justice, knowing that our spirit of resistance cannot be jailed or broken.” The group’s members weren’t stereotypical anti-Vietnam War activists. While the group did include young students and “hippies,” there were also blue-collar workers, devout Catholics and even four Catholic priests and a Protestant minister. The raid resulted in a high-profile trial against the activists that was seen by many as a referendum on the Vietnam War. The FBI encouraged and enabled the raid on the draft board to take place, so the raid came across as being funded and driven by the FBI, and the defense was able to argue effectively that through the FBI, the government “over-reached” in its zeal to arrest and prosecute this particular set of anti-war activists. The jury returned “not guilty” verdicts for all counts against all 28 defendants, acquitting them. These were the first Not Guilty verdicts for antiwar protestors, and were really a turning point against the war in Vietnam. Howard Zinn had testified at the trial and recommended civil disobedience. I would recommend the film to activists, those interested in the religious left, and those interested in the subjects of civil disobedience and justice.


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