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Synopsis: In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, a high-level Pentagon official and Vietnam War strategist, concludes that the war is based on decades of lies and leaks 7,000 pages of top secret documents to The New York Times, making headlines around the world.
Hailed as a hero, vilified as a traitor, and ostracized by even his closest colleagues, Ellsberg risks life in prison to stop a war he helped plan. This political thriller is a riveting story of how one man’s profound change of heart leads directly to Watergate, Nixon’s resignation and the end of the Vietnam War.
This film is a timely and timeless document about putting conscience before career. We began production 2005, shortly after U.S. military engagement began in Afghanistan and Iraq. It spoke to the contemporary instances of being lied by our government into war, as we had been in the 1960s. Little did we suspect that both wars would still be raging when we finished our film (in 2009), and for years afterwards. As Ellsberg says frequently, “Don’t do what I did– don’t wait for the bombs to start falling. If you have documents, if you have knowledge of government deception that might help prevent or stop a war, put it out now, when it might do some good.”
Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith are nationally-renown documentary filmmakers whose cogent and inspirational films deal with the themes of risk, conscience, dissent and commitment to ideals. Goldsmith’s Tell the Truth and Run: George Seldes and the American Press (1996) was, like Most Dangerous Man, an Academy-Award-nominee, and a piercing look at suppression and censorship in America’s news media. Ehrlich’s current film, The Boys Who Said NO! tells for the first time the inspiring story and impact of the draft resistance movement during the Vietnam War.