LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Some very timely light is shed upon the historically overlooked GI anti-Vietnam War movement courtesy of "Sir! No Sir!" a penetrating eye-opener of a documentary by David Zeiger.
Premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award for best documentary feature, this impressively researched film also should have little difficulty winning a distribution deal given the ringing topicality of the subject matter.
Narrated by Troy Garity, whose mother, Jane Fonda, candidly discusses her involvement in the movement that seems to have faded from the collective conscience in the intervening years, the film does a commendable job in providing enlightenment.
Tracing the war resistance within the military beginning with the actions of an isolated few malcontents in the mid-1960s, director Zeiger asserts that, by the Pentagon's own figures, 503,926 "incidents of desertion" would occur between 1966-71.
Through freshly uncovered archival material and extensive interviews with veterans who took part in the peace movement (many of whom consequentially would serve time in stockades and federal prisons), the film goes on to document the unprecedented numbers of entire units who, by the late stages of the war, were refusing to go into battle.
Veteran documentary filmmaker Zeiger effectively re-creates the turbulent times with TV news coverage and 16mm and Super-8 "home movie" footage shot by GIs and civilian activists.
There also are excerpts from "F.T.A.," the 1972 filmed record of the Bob Hope-inspired tour taken by Fonda and Donald Sutherland, previously known as "Free the Army," though another F-word commonly was used in its place.
"Sir! No Sir!" contends that the ignorance surrounding the efforts of the movement has much to do with a rewriting of history that has been carried out by the media and Hollywood in addition to the U.S. government.
By way of example, while the likes of Rambo might have folks believing differently, myth-busting Zeiger and company can't seem to find any documented evidence of returning soldiers being spit on by angry activists.