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1971

Director - Johanna Hamilton
Run Time - 79 minutes
Languages - English
Format - DVD / Digital Streaming
Year - 2015
Genre - Documentary

Educational Interests- American Studies, Civil Rights, Cold War Era, Communication, History (U.S.), Human Rights, Law & Legal Studies, Media Studies, Political Science, Vietnam

Institutional DVD Price: $295

On March 8, 1971, a group of citizens broke into an FBI office in Media, PA, took every file, and shared them with the public. Their actions exposed the FBI's illegal surveillance program of law-abiding Americans. Now, these previously anonymous Americans publicly share their story for the first time.

The FBI, established in 1908, was for 60 years held unaccountable and untouchable until 1971, when The Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI, as they called themselves, sent the stolen files to journalists at the Washington Post, which published them and shed light on the FBI’s widespread abuse of power. These actions exposed COINTELPRO, the FBI's illegal surveillance program that involved the intimidation of law-abiding Americans, and helped lead to the country's first congressional investigation of U.S. intelligence agencies.

The activist-burglars then disappeared into anonymity for forty years. Until now. Never caught, these previously anonymous Americans parents, teachers and citizens publicly reveal themselves for the first time and share their story in the documentary 1971. Using a mix of dramatic re-enactments and candid interviews with all involved, the film vividly brings to life one of the more important, yet relatively unexplored, chapters in modern American history.

“'1971' unpacks a crucial but little known episode in modern political and journalistic history. The story, including its cat-and-mouse aftermath, adds the intricate excitement of a thriller to righteous historical outrage.” - The New Yorker

“The story told here couldn't be more significant or more timely.” - Los Angeles Times

“Straightforward and skillful.” - The New York Times

“A well-constructed, vividly detailed account of the FBI break-in that exposed the agency's shocking illegal practices to the public.” - Variety