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THE US VS JOHN LENNON
USA: Lionsgate Films
UK: Lionsgate Films UK
Cast: John Lennon, Yoko Ono Lennon, Tariq Ali, Carl Bernstein, Robin Blackburn, Chris Charlesworth, Noam Chomsky, Walter Cronkite, Mario Cuomo, Angela Davis, John Dean, Felix Dennis, David Fenton, Bob Gruen, Ron Kovic, Paul Krassner, G Gordon Liddy, George McGovern, Elliot Mintz, David Peel, Dan Richter, Geraldo Rivera, John C "Jack" Ryan, Bobby Seale, John Sinclair, Tom Smothers, M Wesley Swearingen, Joe Treen, Gore Vidal, Jon Wiener, Leon Wildes
Directors: David Leaf, John Scheinfeld
USA & UK: 99 minutes
USA Rated: PG-13 for some strong language, violent images and drug references
UK Certificate: 12A contains strong language, moderate war images and soft drug references
USA Release Date: 29 September 2006 (Limited Release - wider)
USA Release Date: 15 September 2006 (Limited Release - New York and Los Angeles)
UK Release Date: 8 December 2006 (Limited Release)
Before Iraq, before the Bush Administration, there was John Lennon, the celebrated musical artist who used his fame and his fortune to protest the Vietnam War and advocate for world peace. In this new documentary, THE US VS JOHN LENNON, filmmakers David Leaf and John Scheinfeld trace Lennon's metamorphosis from lovable "Moptop" to anti-war activist to inspirational icon as they reveal the true story of how and why the U.S. government tried to silence him.
Primarily focusing on the decade from 1966-1976, THE US VS JOHN LENNON places Lennon's activism - and the socio-political upheaval it represented - in the context of the times. It was one of the most fractious periods of American history, dominated by the Vietnam War; the rise of antiwar, civil rights, New Left and other political movements challenging the status quo; the Nixon presidency; revelations of government deception, surveillance and harassment; and Watergate. The film features a large and diverse array of the era's notable figures, men and women who bear immediate and authoritative witness to specific events as well as to the prevailing climate. Among them: African-American political activists Angela Davis and Bobby Seale; journalists Carl Bernstein and Walter Cronkite; Nixon Administration officials G. Gordon Liddy and John Dean; Vietnam veteran and antiwar activist Ron Kovic; the eminent American historian/novelist Gore Vidal; former New York Governor Mario Cuomo; and three-term Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate George McGovern.
But it is John Lennon himself who is the documentary's pre-eminent voice and galvanizing central presence. With Lennon's own music providing subtly incisive narration, the film captures a public and private Lennon that many viewers may not know: a principled, funny, and extraordinarily charismatic young man who refused to be silent in the face of injustice. Yoko Ono, Lennon's wife, creative collaborator and partner in their campaign for peace, has given the filmmakers unprecedented access to the Lennon-Ono archives, enabling them to draw upon never-before seen or heard audiovisual materials in telling their story. And in a series of in-depth interviews, Ono shares her personal memories, evoking as no one else can the realities of the couple's daily lives; their hopes and happiness; and their long ordeal at the hands of the US government.
"Of all the documentaries that have been made about John, this is the one he would have loved." - Yoko Ono Lennon