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      The Power of Nightmares

      Released Oct 20, 2004 2h 37m Documentary List
      88% Tomatometer 8 Reviews 98% Audience Score 1,000+ Ratings Fundamentalist Islam and neo-conservatism seem to be at odds, but filmmaker Adam Curtis asserts that the two have more in common than one might think. In this documentary, Curtis compares the outlooks of American academic Leo Strauss and Egyptian civil servant Sayyid Qutb, each of whom rebelled against American individualism to form their respective movements. Their shared message is that fear unites, be it during the Cold War or today's War on Terror. Read More Read Less

      Critics Reviews

      View All (8) Critics Reviews
      Owen Gleiberman Entertainment Weekly Adam Curtis has become the most exciting documentary filmmaker of our time. He's at once a psychologist, a historian, a journalist, a wizard of images, and a fearlessly incisive cultural detective who delves beneath the hidden myths of the modern world. Rated: A Dec 15, 2005 Full Review Elizabeth Weitzman New York Daily News Though his bias is obvious, Curtis does his homework, getting the most damning evidence from interviews with the neocons themselves. Rated: 3/4 Dec 9, 2005 Full Review A.O. Scott New York Times A sprawling, intellectually ambitious documentary about the political phenomenon usually referred to in journalistic shorthand as the war on terror. Rated: 2.5/5 Dec 8, 2005 Full Review Peter Bergen The Nation A richly rewarding film because it treats its audience as adults capable of following complex arguments. Apr 19, 2018 Full Review Ken Fox TV Guide Curtis weaves a satisfying, explain-it-all narrative which, like any good conspiracy theory, provides considerable comfort for those who fear the world really is as unknowable as the neo-cons have warned. Rated: 3.5/4 Dec 9, 2005 Full Review Chris Barsanti Filmcritic.com Problematic as it is, this is that rare kind of political film that makes a good faith effort at getting its viewers to look at the world in a different way. Rated: 4/5 Dec 6, 2005 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

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      Audience Member ???? ???? ?? ???? ?????? Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/27/23 Full Review Audience Member Place this documentary into the bin of "things Americans should see but never will" as it is enlightening and humbling. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/15/23 Full Review Audience Member I wish the argument was more fully formed in some regards. Curtis glosses over certain details he doesn't know how to really address, but he still manages to make some really strong points. Mostly what works is his bold supposition that the danger of al-Qaeda as a shadowy organization with thousands of followers has been largely exaggerated. I also like the parallel tale of the rise of Islamic Fundamentalism and the Neo Conservatism. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/13/23 Full Review Audience Member Everyone should see it. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/21/23 Full Review jonathan b Excellent look into the rise of both the Neoconservative movement in America and the rise of radical Islamism as well as the parallels between the two. I recommend this for any and all political science major. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member A BBC production, this 3 hour documentary proclaims the manipulation of decades millions of people in Britain and the U.S. The manipulation is one based simply and shamelessly on FEAR. Long forgotten is the admonition of President Franklin D. Roosevelt: "The only thing to fear.....is fear itself." See the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaLPFayD8FA "Both [the Islamists and Neoconservatives] were idealists who were born out of the failure of the liberal dream to build a better world. And both had a very similar explanation for what caused that failure. These two groups have changed the world, but not in the way that either intended. Together, they created today a nightmare vision of a secret, organized evil that threatens the world. A fantasy that politicians then found restored their power and authority in a disillusioned age. And those with the darkest fears became the most powerful. " --- BBC Since the Presidency of Ronald Reagan, perhaps even President Eisenhower, the idea presented in this 3 hour BBC production is that politicians no longer lead by ideals or better futures for everyone. Instead, they project decades of fear... fear of nuclear annilation, fear of poverty, fear of terrisome, well darn near fear of everything just to retain power and the power to protect us from imagined or real fear. And currently we reside under decades of fear of an Islamic threat. This replaced the fear of the Soviet threat held after WWII. The leading drivers of this philosophy are said to be American neo-consertive types having very high office in the Reagan administration and then again in the G.W. Bush administration, primarily Richard Pearl, Dick Chaney, Don Rumsfield... the usual suspects. This is required viewing for anyone interested in current events and historical footage of the roots of Islamic fundementalism espoused by Osama Bin Laden AND the mirror counterpart neo-conservatives in the Regan/G.W.Bush administrations. Both radical groups grew at about the same time on opposite sides of the Atlantic. Outstanding synopis in three, fast paced hours of BBC creation... this has film clips of the formation decades ago of the birth of Islamic revolutionaries.... as well as their ideological foes the neo (new) conservative branch of the Replican Party in the U.S. Guaranteed to upset far right wing U.S. Republican viewers and delight those of liberal tendancies in the U.S. or elsewhere, this is a scathing indictment of decades of myth making about the power of bin Laden, the fabricated existance (even the name) of Al Queda and how all those attempts to kill bin Laden in the mountains of Bora Bora were fantasies encouraged by a clan of Republican Party high elites. The fact of the matter is this... This is the best 3 hours of concise, fact filled, video filled explaination of why to date NO one in the U.S. has been convicted of the so-called "sleeper cell" crimes. Its all been a mirage, its all been a great hoax perpetrated on the public to be fearful and to cling to government protection, fear however exaggerated or imagined. The NY Times reviewed this here: "Originally broadcast as a three-part mini-series on the BBC, "The Power of Nightmares" is a sprawling, intellectually ambitious documentary about the political phenomenon usually referred to in journalistic shorthand as the war on terror. The source of the film's novelty - and of its considerable provocation - lies in its insistence that the enemy is more of a fantasy than an actual threat. The introduction to each section proposes that, sometime in the recent past, governments (presumably Western democracies, in particular the United States and Britain) lost the ability to inspire their people with hope and so decided to control them by means of fear. To explain the rise of this apparently new political idea, the filmmaker, Adam Curtis, explores the parallel histories of American neoconservatism and radical Islamism, which in his telling manifest striking similarities. Both trace their origins - at least in Mr. Curtis's account - to shadowy intellectual godfathers, and both arose in reaction to the failures of liberalism. At a certain point, on or around Sept. 11, 2001, their relationship became symbiotic. But did it?" - A. O. Scott, NY Times Hugely a story about myth building by those in high positions of the U.S. during the Regan and George W. Bush administrations to whip hysteria in the U.S. to "purify" us all from liberal tendancies. NOTES about the film: 1 "The Power of Nightmares is a remarkable piece of film-making. It simultaneously informs us about the origins and development of militant islam and that of the neo-conservative Republican Party agenda."---- a non-professional review 2 "Originally broadcast as a three-part mini-series on the BBC, "The Power of Nightmares" is a sprawling, intellectually ambitious documentary about the political phenomenon usually referred to in journalistic shorthand as the war on terror. The source of the film's novelty - and of its considerable provocation - lies in its insistence that the enemy is more of a fantasy than an actual threat." ---- NY Times 3 "Originally aired on BBC as a multi-part television series, this three-hour documentary aims to show how politicians who once proffered visions of milk, honey and national prosperity now hope to gain power through frightening and exaggerated visions of apocalypse and international terrorism. Sifting through the past 50 years of U.S. and Middle Eastern history, filmmaker Adam Curtis sets out to show how the neo-conservatives of Washington and radical Islamists of the Muslim world - two remarkably similar groups of idealists - both came to find power in fear mongering." ----- TV Guide 4 "Certainly one of the most thought-provoking and intelligent films of recent times."--- amazon.com review 5 "Quite simply; these documentaries are like nothing you will ever see again. Century of Self, a 6 hour show, is nothing short of like waking up in the movie The Matrix. Want to know what's going on in Egypt, the middle east and our war on terror? You will not get everything in one package like you will in The Power of Nightmares. YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS THESE DOCS NO MATTER WHERE YOU GET THEM. THEY WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE."----By John L. Thompson (Russell Springs, Ky USA) 6 "Best and simply excellent! I live in the Islamic world and face the bigotry of these religious zealots. What really happened is that few bigots of the islamic jihadists went on a rampage of killing spree. When religion is used to trample on rights and kill innocent poeple this is what happens.Tthe senseless violence is also on the other side in the neo-cons in USA. When I was at Harvard I met few of them and they froze me to death with their views." See the ENTIRE 3 hours here at: http://www.archive.org/details/ThePowerOfNightmares Producer: Adam Curtis Production Company: BBC Audio/Visual: sound, color Released: 2004 Rated NR Length: 180 mins . Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/19/23 Full Review Read all reviews
      The Power of Nightmares

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis Fundamentalist Islam and neo-conservatism seem to be at odds, but filmmaker Adam Curtis asserts that the two have more in common than one might think. In this documentary, Curtis compares the outlooks of American academic Leo Strauss and Egyptian civil servant Sayyid Qutb, each of whom rebelled against American individualism to form their respective movements. Their shared message is that fear unites, be it during the Cold War or today's War on Terror.
      Director
      Adam Curtis
      Producer
      Adam Curtis
      Screenwriter
      Adam Curtis
      Distributor
      BBC Enterprises Limited [gb]
      Production Co
      BBC
      Genre
      Documentary
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Oct 20, 2004, Original
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Feb 23, 2021
      Runtime
      2h 37m