The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers

2010 Academy Award® Nominee

Current and Upcoming Screenings:
POV on PBS – October 5, 2010

Complete list of upcoming playdates and live appearances

festival laurels

Riveting! A straight-ahead, enthralling story of moral courage. This story changed the world.  The movie offers one revelatory interview after another. CRITICS’ PICK!
– David Edelstein, New York magazine

Detailed, clearly told, persuasive…”
– Mike Hale, The New York Times

The most exciting thriller I’ve seen in a while – as powerful as anything Hollywood can throw at us.”
– V.A. Musetto, New York Post

“[A] gripping story… comprehensively detailed in Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith’s evocative documentary.”
– Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times

“A Must-See! Crams a wealth of material into 90 minutes without losing clarity or momentum. Focuses on (Ellsberg’s) moral turnaround, which directly impacted history. A unique fusion of personal and social drama.” – Ronnie Scheib, Variety

“The filmmakers do an astounding job… earnest, smart documentary…  “The Most Dangerous Man” offers a brisk and eye-opening approach to recent history.”
– Chris Barsanti, Hollywood Reporter


  1. Looking forward to seeing this. I grew up during the Vietnam War period and was draft age for much of that time, but did not have to go. As the son of southern conservative parents, I took some heat from the family with my disdain for the war and the silly “domino theory.” Even as a callow teen-ager, I could see what a debacle Vietnam was becoming. Many years later, in the mid-1970s, I was working in Washington and while walking along Pennsylvania Avenue, noticed a small crowd in the adjacent Lafayette Park. Wandering over to see what was going on, I spied Daniel Ellsberg, who was making a statement in support of, or opposition to, something or other. His subject matter escapes me now, but not his earnestness. The man spoke with deep feeling. Hearing him then gave me some idea of the depth of conscience he had and I have to believe that his decision to release the Pentagon Papers was driven by his sincerity of purpose and genuine concern about the unwise path this nation’s leaders were taking.

  2. Jo Ann & Sigurd K

    Wow–Congratulations! A film that stands up for speaking up! Fingers crossed that you get the award and congrats on the nomination!

  3. I saw this movie last night. It missed the bigger picture: The MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX – which is larger than any president. Eisenhower warned us of it. Kennedy was bamboozled, lied to – and when he ultimately got it he swore to pull all advisors and troops OUT of Vietman – but he was killed for it. Yes, LBJ and Nixon were a part of the machine. So implicating all four presidents in this money making war – was wrong. Yes, Daniel Ellsberg is a hero. But we most likely would not even know his name, had Kennedy been spared.

  4. ¡Enhorabuena desde Vallecas, Madrid!
    Esto me recuerda al discurso de Mike Prysner sobre la guerra del Irák:
    ¡A por el Oscar! ¡A por la paz!

  5. I just saw this excellent documentary and I could not leave my seat. It was extremely well made, insightful, balanced and a great wake up call against blind faith, especially in authority. I recommend that everyone watch it, and I have tried to spread the word as much as I can in this age of social networking!

  6. I have just seen the screening of this film on the BBC in the UK and have to say I found it a brilliant documentary, offering a fascinating and rivetting insight into one of the key events of the second half of the 20th century and the personalities involved.

    I am old enough to recall the sensation of the Pentagon Papers , but was little aware of the large hinterland behind it and the impact that it had on the key individuals involved.

    The US News Media also came out of it very well, but sadly, I am not so sanguine that it would be like that now, either in the US or anywhere else.

  7. This film is part of the shift in global consciousness towards world peace. By showing a person who essentially had a spiritual awakening and who’s worldview shifted from war to peace gives the audience hope that they too can change the way they are conditioned to think.

    At the time of the release of the Pentagon Papers there was a feeling that people were not really getting the depth of deception by our leaders. (proven by the fact that Nixon was reelected after their release.)

    Upon seeing this movie I believe the true purpose (God’s purpose) of Dan’s shift in consciousness and his continued dedication to peace activism is coming to full fruition now as a vehicle for the major shift in consciousness our world is going through at this time.
    World peace, one person at a time, through meaningful media… It is happening.

  8. A documentary that will wake you up and make you want to do something about how the government is able to go in the wrong direction and lie to us. THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN AMERICA is a compelling film, a great history lesson, and a chilling reminder that so much is still the same. Ellsberg was ashamed that for too long he did not reveal the lies that caused so many thousands of deaths of Americans, Viet Namese and Cambodians. The film is a love story, and a spiritual journey to facing what one has to give up to do the right thing. At the Embarcadero, one of the filmmakers does a Q&A with the audience afterward. Rush to see it.

  9. I’m sorry they didn’t win the Oscar…. not sure why a mockumentary (which did win) is even considered in the same category…

  10. Has anything changed since then?
    Has it? Go on… Take a look.
    Or has it got worse?
    Do you remember this?
    Or did you forget it.
    Or lost interest in it?
    Who has the largest stock piles of WMD’s?
    Who sold some of these to Iraq?
    Do you recall when Donald Rumsfeld went to speak to Saddam?
    Wake up…

  11. I’ve just seen the film on Monday night April 26th in Eugene, Oregon. It is one of the most powerful and moving things I’ve ever seen. I feel somewhat enervated by the experience but want to try to articulate why I think it is so important, and that all who were involved with it have done a monumentally valuable piece of work. The film focuses on the moral and emotional journey of Dan Ellsberg and his conversion experience, and it may be that the prophetic voice with which he seemed almost to learn, before our eyes, to speak is surely among the reasons the impact of the film is so powerful. But the sheer facts are also deeply moving, perhaps especially for one like me who lived through the events the film portrays and recalls all too well the gut-wrenching trauma of learning, on a path that paralleled Dan Ellsberg’s to a considerable extent, that presidents of the United States and their suited henchmen were lying through their teeth to defend repression and unconscionable murder on a mass scale in the name of democracy and freedom. I seem to have managed to find out before the Pentagon Papers were disclosed that Eisenhower had refused to allow elections in Vietnam because he knew Ho Chi Minh would win. I’ve become aware only more recently that the Gulf of Tonkin incident that LBJ used to justify his escalation of the war was fabricated. But there is something powerful about the portrayal in film of the manner in which the disclosure of these and other deceits was first made on the national stage. It’s wonderful how the film weaves Ellsberg’s prophetic personal journey together with the related historical developments. I think now we all should do what we can to secure as wide an audience as possible for this powerful witness to a critically important piece of history, and to make the connection between the events it portrays and the continuing deceptions of our government in the service of wars of aggression. It’s odd in a way to see how the print media of the time lined up to take the risk of disclosing the contents of the Pentagon Papers, while in our own time, the media are more effectively regimented and similar disclosures of official mendacity to justify wars have become a commonplace. The film reports that two million Vietnamese were killed in that war, along with 58,000 Americans. People of conscience must continue to resist and to speak out, as Dan Ellsberg did and is still doing, now against mass slaughter of similarly appalling magnitude in AfPak-Iraq. The Most Dangerous Man In America is an inspiration to do so with renewed determination. Thanks so much to all who produced it.

  12. InjusticeGames

    RT @InjusticeGames This may be the most important constitutional human rights stories ever documented. @DanielEllsberg is inspiring.

  13. InjusticeGames

    RT @InjusticeGames Essential viewing for all whistleblowers. U can make a difference. See how to stay safe from tyrannicidal Government. Watch this MOVIE

  14. o crap, is this stuff still going, on, probably YES!!!! we just do not know, and it is more difficult for true journalists to get the story out, and not have to move to Iceland or forfeit their lives, fortune and family, enuf….
    already, this makes me doubly ashamed to be an american citizen, stop in the name of the bill of rights, and the constitution. NOW!!!

  15. Wikileaks 70s style!!