Movie Review: Sir! No Sir!

By Joan K. Widdifield, Psy.D
Movie Magazine International
David Zeiger's SIR! NO SIR! chronicles the 1960's GI anti-war movement that had a profound impact on the country. But the film claims evidence of its very existence was methodically suppressed by the powers that be, beginning with the Regan Administration. David Zeiger knows it existed, because he was there as a civilian activist at the Oleo Strut coffee house in Texas. The well-researched film purports that the movement was widespread, and had a deep influence on the military, and the war. Through the participant GI's affecting stories, lively narration, archival stills and footage, and a wonderful, stylized musical score, SIR! NO SIR! reveals the effort that changed history. It also seeks to inform and dispel myths we, as a nation, thought were true. Administrations from the Regan era on have perpetuated this myth with the support of Hollywood movies. Professor of Sociology, Jerry Lembcke dispels the fiction with his research and book, The Spitting Image.

Through over 200 underground newspapers, demonstrations, desertions, and trading dog tags for peace signs, GIs refused to fight in what they thought was a brutal and unjust war, often against innocent Vietnamese civilians. Troops recoiled after taking part in and witnessing atrocities and war crimes sanctioned as Standard Operating Procedure. The film purports that today few people know the GI peace movement story because it was covered up and replaced by the myth of the veteran who is spat upon when he returns from Vietnam. We've heard for decades that Jane Fonda betrayed the troops. But SIR! NO SIR! exposes a bigger story about Fonda and the American GI's. We witness her on tour with FTA, the antiwar cabaret show, that she and Donald Sutherland organized, that performed for tens of thousands of cheering GIs.

The SIR! NO SIR! website,, has a virtual archive library containing the supporting materials for information in the film. SIR! NO SIR! - nominated for the Independent Spirit Awards best documentary award - is a rousing and engaging 84 minutes that will transport you back to the Vietnam War era with a view through a new lens. It introduces thoughtful and compelling former GI's, who some would call heroes, and who followed their hearts, took a stand against a big machine, and finally got the chance to tell their stories.

For Movie Magazine, this is Joan Widdifield.

Air date: April 12, 2006
More Information:
Sir! No Sir!
Directed by David Zeiger, with Jane Fonda.