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The War Tapes

  NR Closed Captioning

Deborah Scranton

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Plot Summary

Three soldiers offer viewers a close-up and deeply personal view of the war in Iraq in this documentary. Filmmaker Deborah Scranton gave digital video cameras to three National Guard volunteers who were called up for duty in Iraq and asked them to keep a visual diary of what they saw and how they felt about it. The three men who took Scranton up on her offer were Sgt. Zack Bazzi, Spc. Mike Moriarty, and Sgt. Steve Pink. Bazzi is a Lebanese immigrant who previously fought in Bosnia and Kosovo and loves the thrill of battle, though he has serious reservations about the nature of the American occupation and feels most of his fellow soldiers are dangerously unaware of the habits and customs of the Iraqis. Moriarty is a husband and father who volunteered for service after the terrorist attacks of September 11; he's a proud warrior and loyal to his fellow soldiers, though he's come to hate the sting of battle. And Pink is a carpenter and would-be writer who joined the Guard to help raise money for college; his dark sense of humor often rises to the surface as he confronts the uglier aspects of the conflict. Scranton took the footage shot by the soldiers (sometimes uploaded by Internet just hours after a battle) and fashioned it into a story of three different men united by a single cause who are fiercely loyal to their fellow fighting men and women, even as they become increasingly cynical about the causes and motivations behind the war. The War Tapes was screened in competition at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 64
  • Fresh: 63
  • Rotten: 1
  • Average Rating: 7.9/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: Whatever your opinion of the Iraq war, Deborah Scranton's documentary is sure to challenge your thinking and disturb your composure. – A.O. Scott, New York Times, Jul 16, 2008

Fresh: Arguably the most vital and eye-opening documentary yet made regarding the United States' current military entanglement. – Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times, Sep 20, 2007

Fresh: A fascinating chronicle of wartime, told by several distinct and vivid narrators. – Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune, Jun 24, 2010

Fresh: At its best, The War Tapes serves as an exploration of the soldier mentality -- or at least of the mentality of the folks who'd volunteer to go to Iraq. – Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle, Jun 24, 2010

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Great film

This doc explores a side you rarely get to see. Forget your policitcal affiliation. This is a must see. Worth every penny.

Great and real

Whether you're for or against the war, this is a great documentary to check out. I loved it. It puts a human face on the whole issue.


Marginally made film. Topic is important but it just barely touched the tip of the iceberg in terms of the violence and chaos happening in this war (and war in general). It was nice to hear some opinions from the 3 main national guard about KRB and the disdainful, uncaring attitude of a capitalist like Cheney. The biggest problem with the film is the narrow-minded, macho view of 2 of the 3 guardsmen who are so limited with their ability to be feeling human beings. It was intersting to see such limited views but predictable at best and what i expect to find in the attitudes of most people who go off to fight in war. I felt Bazzi repesented a more modern-day educated soldier who thinks with his mind and not his muscle.

The War Tapes
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  • $7.99
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Released: 2007

Customer Ratings