However, the film "Sir! No Sir!" will probably go down in history as the Vietnam generation's last grasp of relevance in contemporary America. The film succeeds on several levels, but it fails utterly on the one most important to its creators.
Producer Evangeline Griego said she wanted to illuminate a suppressed history.
"The Vietnam War was lost due to lack of support," she said.
Historically, the film is accurate and well-researched. It tells the story of the military's internal anti-war movement, giving firsthand accounts of the men and women involved in opposing the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. These are people who did admittedly courageous things with their lives, and for the most part, they have paid a price for their actions. Some of them faced the threat of execution, and almost all of them went to prison.
"I tracked down and found people involved in the movement," Griego said. "Most were doing time for their actions."
"Sir! No Sir!" also has excellent pacing. Unlike some documentary films, it never gets boring. In fact, the film manages to evoke emotion in a way that few major studio films accomplish without the restriction of reality.
Many films on the Vietnam era draw on imagination as much as fact, a trait that this film does not share. Nothing in this film is fiction, though a definite political slant is clearly present.
The true failure of this film has little to do with the actual film itself and much more to do with the manner in which its creators are presenting it.
Throughout the interview with Griego, it became clear that a definite political agenda is being pushed. Griego said director David Zeiger created "Sir! No Sir!" as a response to the continuing war in Iraq.
"We use history to show how things go," she said. "Iraq needs to stop."
Drawing parallels between the two wars does seem like a reasonable response, but it is a response that fails to take into account the major differences, which are far too numerous to count. By attempting to target current active duty soldiers and their contemporaries, the film misses its mark.
Overall, "Sir! No Sir!" is a rare example of a documentary that's actually fun to watch. It's educational, and it highlights an important element in the anti-war movement of the 1960s. While it misses the mark with its intended audience, it is still a well-made and entertaining documentary.