• Basic Training

Interviews with My Lai Veterans

Restored 35mm Print

  • Portrait of Harriet Scott Chessman

    Harriet Scott Chessman has published five novels and created the libretto for the operatic piece My Lai, a contemporary operatic piece composed by Jonathan Berger and commissioned by the Kronos Performing Arts Association. Cal Performances presents My Lai  on March 4 at Zellerbach Hall.


Richard Hammer, Gary Garfolo, Garry Crossley, Vernardo Simpson,

On March 16, 1968, in the course of the “search and destroy” mission in My Lai, hundreds of unarmed Vietnamese men, women, and children were slaughtered by American soldiers; many were also raped or mutilated. Initially the military lied about the number of victims, but photographs and eyewitness accounts finally made their way into the press more than a year later. In an effort to “understand this insanity,” filmmaker Joseph Strick and his crew searched throughout the United States to find the five veterans willing to disobey the army’s orders not to talk about the massacre.

  • Haskell Wexler
  • Richard Pearce
Print Info
  • Color
  • 35mm
  • 22 mins
  • Academy Film Archive
  • Betsy Strick
Preceded By

Whitesburg Epic

Appalshop, United States, 1971

Appalachian teens survey their neighbors about their opinions on opportunities for the young and the war in Vietnam.

Print Info
  • B&W
  • 16mm
  • 8 mins
  • Appalshop
Followed By

Basic Training

Frederick Wiseman, United States, 1971

Basic Training follows a company of enlisted men through nine weeks of physical and ideological training at Fort Knox in the summer of 1970. While the instructors assert that the US Army is undefeatable, some recruits struggle with the exercises, and others question the validity of the war; one African American soldier argues that he has no country for which to fight. “The implication is clear: in a short space of time, ordinary men can be trained to kill with maximum efficiency” (Martyn Bamber). 

  • Frederick Wiseman
  • English
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 16mm
  • 89 mins
  • Zipporah Films