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Plot:

A documentary about a political troupe headed by actors Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland which traveled to towns near military bases in the US in the early 1970s. The group put on shows called “F.T.A.”, which stood for “F**k the Army”, and was aimed at convincing soldiers to voice their opposition to the Vietnam War, which was raging at the time. Various singers, actors and other entertainers performed antiwar songs and skits during the show.

Also Known As: F.T.A., FTA, I epanastatria, Befreit die Armee West

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  • wilfrido-garza-alcaraz
    wilfrido garza alcaraz

    This film doesn’t seem to be in the official filmographies for either Jane Fonda or Donald Sutherland. It is easy to cast stones at the youthful excesses of the cast of this awful movie but I am glad that some of the theatre I was responsible for in college was not filmed. The ensemble filmed a series of sketches performed outside of army bases in the Pacific Rim and although I agree with the leftie politics espoused, there is nothing of interest here. I would rather watch Congress perform “Oh, Calcutta” WITH the nude scenes than sit through this mess again.

  • erin-mcmahon
    erin mcmahon

    A handful of movie stars and musicians take the audience on a journey into their protest review which traveled the Pacific Rim during the Nixon era of the Vietnam war as well as just outside American local military bases. At first, this concert of songs and sketches seems half Hellzapoppin’, half Springtime for Hitler for the modern era. In spite of the laughs, blues and military brass, there’s a touching sentiment to it. Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland represent Hollywood elite, hot off the trail of “Klute” even though much of this took place before the film was released. Anti-Fonda criticizers will most likely skip this, but this will remain her opportunity to speak her mind and even sing a bit. I have no opinion on Hanoi Jane as her protest years referred to her as, with accusations of treason thrown at her, but I do admire her fight for freedom of speech. The songs do speak to peace lovers, an ironic view of the past considering our present. There’s clever adaptions of famous American anthems with protest lyrics and a few heartbreaking solos which describe the agony of what the reluctant soldiers must have felt in battle. An interesting depiction of prostitutes protesting the war with their johns is an important issue made here, as is another issue of Puerto Ricans and blacks who fought at home yet pulled together during war time in peace. One number featuring Fonda seems like a spoof of Liza Minnelli in the same year’s “Cabaret”.

  • barbara-ignac
    barbara ignac

    Insubordination set to music. Occasionally incisive but fatally overlong documentary follows Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland as they lead a merry group of “subversive radicals” to areas outside of military bases in the Pacific Rim during December 1971; their mission is to perform an anti-military vaudeville show for disgruntled American GIs, complete with skits and songs. Their amusing, bitter-tinged satirical protests aside, there is a genuine understanding here for the plight of soldiers caught in the web of Vietnam, conflicted over what they’re ultimately fighting for. The film has been edited with canny precision in order to be both entertaining and enlightening, though it makes its points in the first hour and then runs an extra thirty minutes. The issues raised are heated (particularly the racial factor, as blacks felt they were unfairly being targeted by the military as easy prey), though the preaching on-stage has been kept to a relative minimum in order to give the soldiers a fun evening. Many of the young men and women who attended these shows (and those who participated) took a definite risk by being branded as communist sympathizers or undemocratic malcontents, making “FTA” an edgy, often uneasy experience in hindsight. ** from ****

  • kari-tuominen
    kari tuominen

    FTA is a time capsule that should only be opened by those who lived through it, and even then, maybe not…This is the story of a group of actors and actresses who toured around the world playing near US military bases with a show called FTA for “Free” The Army. The acting troop is lead by Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland. The film is a combination of performances and interviews with the GI’s from the bases. Its nothing you probably haven’t seen before in other ways, heart felt songs about how we love the soldiers but hate the war, general protest songs, skits about how absurd the war is and general silliness. Very little of it actually holds up as funny or touching, although some of the ideas work in structure if not execution, Donald Sutherland doing a play by play of a battle as a football game is very clever, but not very funny.I completely understand why this film hasn’t been seen in 30 years, it simply is not very good. I doubt highly that this film would have ever played well to any group other than those near the army bases at the time. Its a starry eyed version of a college frolic.The naiveté of many of the actors is very hard to take. The “war is bad” attitude they have is nice and simple, but when mixed with the uncertainty expressed by the soldiers who are actually in harms way, the show comes off too sweet. The film shows clearly why Jane Fonda is hated by many people and still called “Hanoi Jane”, since she comes off as a spoiled rich girl who doesn’t really have a clue as to what is going on in reality. Donald Sutherland, for what ever reason, seems to carry a weight and understanding most of his fellow performers don’t, and I felt he had a better grasp of what was going on.I wanted to like this film, especially owing to some of the parallels with the present war in Iraq. I was hoping to find some kernel of truth to take away, some insight into a country at war with another country and itself, and instead I found just a quaint period piece that was never in touch with anytime, even its own.I can’t recommend anyone see this, unless you are a Fonda or Sutherland completest or if you are a student of the Viet Nam war and its effects on the home front.

  • dott-manfredi-carbone
    dott manfredi carbone

    So after a year of enduring a “long wait” listing on Netflix, I finally got FTA in the mail yesterday and just watched it on DVD. A chronicle of Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland’s travails through the Pacific Rim with their fellow players for the title tour during 1971, we not only see them performing their skits and songs, we also see the disillusioned soldiers commenting on how they don’t really understand or like the orders they’re having to take during the then-current events of the Vietnam War. I was especially fascinated by the Philippines segment as both of my parents are from there and had left it long before that time. I liked many of the songs that were performed. The skits, not as much, but there were some amusing ones like Sutherland and a fellow player’s play-by-play commentary of war as if they’re at a football game! It seemed to drag near the end but still, I’m glad I watched FTA. Update: 10/5/14-There’s a nice extra of Ms. Fonda talking about her experiences during the FTA tour. Well worth seeking on the disc.

  • olga-abramov
    olga abramov

    When did they stop making period pieces? Judging by this little gem, they were still making them well into the 70’s. It’s not terrible, but it’s not a movie (there is no plot), and it’s not really a documentary — more like an assemblage of footage taken during the tour of “F.T.A.” — a traveling stage show of vaudeville-esque anti-war songs and skits. You get to watch the rag-tag bunch of inspired then-hippies/now celebs (Michael Alaimo, Peter Boyle, Len Chandler, Pamela Donegan, Jane Fonda, Steve Jaffe, Rita Martinson, Paul Mooney, Holly Near, Donald Sutherland) as they travel around the war-torn regions entertaining the troops. Historically of some interest, as you see our then fighting boys and girls pretty much dissing the whole war effort (ie., they were over it at that point), yo get to see your Fearless Cavaliers shamelessly spin their anti-war message, and you get to see a bunch of then young people doing what young people do best — including overacting, screwing around in-the-name-of-art and wearing their hearts on their sleeves, looking sloppy because they’re too cool to care, and generally doing things more for effect than with any genuine intention of effecting change. Just my two cents.

  • malle-luht
    malle luht

    I didn’t realize until quite recently that I was lucky to have seen this movie backintheday–it supposedly only appeared in theaters for a week or so. Caught up as I was in the anti-war movement of the day, I remember being impressed with the soldiers’ reception of the show’s songs and skits, and surprised by their own anti-Vietnam war sentiments.Don’t recall many details from the show, but as a 21-year-old ‘hip-eye wieeerdo’ I can remember revelling in the ‘thumb-in-the-establishment’s-eye’ spirit and energy of the performances.Mostly I remember that Donald Sutherland gave a harrowing, incredibly impressive dramatic performance of the final paragraphs from “Johhny Got His Gun.”

  • geray-guclu
    geray guclu

    http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/rothermel010409.html FTA — Now More Than Ever by Jay RothermelFTA (Dir. Francine Parker, 1972).Preamble: “This film was made in association with the servicewomen and men stationed on the United States bases of the Pacific Rim, together with their friends whose lands they presently occupy.” Accepting his Oscar for Best Actor, Sean Penn jokingly referred to the Academy as lovers of “commies and homos.” It’s a tribute to the low level of politics among our cultural workers today that Sean Penn would be surprised at acknowledgement of his performance. The Academy loves movies about exceptional heroes, whether they are overcoming physical disabilities, sports team segregation, the Holocaust, or the Roman Empire.The entertainment industrial complex also loves it when its celebrities serve as a prophylactic for US humanitarian imperialism in countries like Sudan or Tibet. (Poor Rose McGowan, conversely, hasn’t been heard or seen since expressing understanding for what motivated men and women in Ireland to join the IRA.) All of which brings us to the opposite end of the movie food chain, far from the heights of Oscardom: FTA, Francine Parker’s documentary about the “Free the Army” tour. Washington and Wall Street long ago erased this movie. The miracle of globalized media today, however, means we can sit at home and watch it on DVD or its showing on that greener-than-green parrot cage called the Sundance Channel.What strikes the viewer first about FTA is the humility, sense of proportion, and optimism the film has about events it depicts. We are a long way here from the old Michael Moore bazooka and the longeurs of Ken Burns, Inc.There are many similarities between FTA and the great rock concert documentaries of the same period: only a few lines of narration for context, and then getting out of the way of the performances.FTA the movie was long ago blacklisted from theaters, just as FTA the traveling political musical extravaganza was blacklisted from history. A key part of the “culture war” trumpeted by media and academic hacks of the Bill Bennett-David Horowitz-Rush Limbaugh variety (and which is itself part of a larger 30 year war against the gains of the labor, civil rights, women’s, and anti-war movements) is the depiction of the those opposed to the Vietnam War as “stabbing our troops in the back.” One tonic effect of FTA’s DVD release and Sundance showing is to put the lie to that libel. As Washington’s invasion and war against the people of Vietnam proceeded, one of the greatest concentrations of anti-war sentiment and activism was found among GIs themselves. The script for the FTA revue itself was drawn exclusively from material GIs published in their own anti-war newspapers.FTA was the product of a flourishing anti-war culture. Today we see this culture boiled down to a History Channel “flower power” documentary, histories like Tom Brokaw’s Boom, and the memoirs of Senators and ex-Senators like John Kerry and Bob Kerry. But Vietnam’s war of independence at its height inspired militants around the world, from Che Guevara’s guerillas to the 1968 strikers in France.One of the great pleasures of FTA is the forthright energy of the performers and their audience. The GIs heard their own thoughts — salty, sarcastic, and full of gallows humor and solidarity at the same time — repeated back to them. The leaps of consciousness over just a few years as they rejected each rationale of the Washington war machine confirmed the anti-war movement’s strategy of orienting to these “workers in uniform.” The cast of the FTA revue is filled with gifted performers. They continued with their artistic careers after the U.S. anti-war tide receded. It is a pleasure to see them in their youth, energized by work that gave shape to the feelings of the immense majority. Between concerts they marched in solidarity with local activists protesting Washington’s devastating “military base colonialism” in the Philippines, Okinawa, and Japan.Today one of the movie FTA’s great strengths is its potential as a recruiting tool. It is the perfect length to have classes, meetings, and potlucks built around it. The moral authority of the movie is without equal: completely ignoring the pundits and the bi-partisan Wall Street war party in Washington, it lets the anti-war GIs speak for themselves.Jay Rothermel lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

  • arthur-leonard
    arthur leonard

    unfortunately, in other reviews made about this film there is a lack ofunderstanding. The time and place of this movie are the two things that are of utmost importance to comprehend, only with the comforting feeling of ignorance can the point of this material be avoided. Being the residual of a post-Vietnam society that resides in the same state on this day of November 1st, 2004 as it did when this film was made, can we still be so blinded by the pure’ed peas of pride. I would hope, all attention deficits and outside influences aside that you would be capable of seeing this film with an open mind.i applaud your effort. HL

  • dr-nagy-attilane
    dr nagy attilane

    In 1971,a troop of anti Vietnam war protesters,led by Jane Fonda & Donald Sutherland toured with an anti war review that they called ‘F.T.A.’,which could either mean free the Army (or even f**k the Army,depending). They traveled to military bases within the Pacific Rim,where they were welcomed by a then,rising tide of anti war activists in the Military. Hours of footage was filmed & assembled into the documentary film that was briefly released in 1972 as ‘F.T.A.’. The week that the film was released by American International Films,Fonda made a controversial trip to South East Asia, and after one scant week,the film was pulled from distribution & was never heard from,again (rumour has it that the Nixon Administration had a lot to do with the film being yanked). Besides the afore mentioned Jane Fonda & Donald Sutherland (who just barely two years earlier acted in the penultimate anti war film,Robert Altman’s ‘M*A*S*H’),the performances also included the likes of folk singer,Holly Near,and even Peter Boyle (an unknown at the time who would gain fame a couple of years later in Mel Brooks”Young Frankenstein’). Besides the performance footage,we are also treated to interviews with members of the military who had their wits end of the senseless violence & destruction that was the American intervention in South East Asia,which in addition to Vietnam,also included Cambodia (some of the enlisted men would end up in the documentary film, ‘Winter Soldiers’). All was not always rosy. We get to see a performance of F.T.A. being disrupted by a couple of pro war,right wing soldiers,voicing their disfavour of the whole production (they were peacefully shown the way out). Women’s rights advocate,Francine Parker directs the film (she only directed one other project:an episode of ‘Cagney & Lacey’). At times, the film’s pacing starts to slack a bit,but doesn’t manage to lessen the film’s message at all. Well worth checking out if you’re an advocate for peace,anti war activist,historical buff,or fancier of the documentary genre. Spoken (mostly)in English,and Okenowian,Tagalog & Japanese with English subtitles. Rated ‘R’ by the MPAA,this film has some outbursts of strong language & some disturbing images that the troupe got to see while visiting the Hiroshima/Nagasaki memorial sites,while on tour in Japan

  • chloe-huijbrechts
    chloe huijbrechts

    This is like those old CSO shows during world War II with Bob hope and the Andrews Sisters.Trade Europe for Viet Nam and bring in Fonda, Sutherland, and Boyle and there’s the diff.While the social commentary between the acts was clearly against the war, no soldiers were catching heat for it. It was made clear that they deserved pity too. Despite Fonda’s semi-traitorous politics, she never really was angry at the common men. It’s the brass and the suits that catch it here.And it’s amusing seeing Donald Sutherland combine his ‘Hawkeye’ character from M*A*S*H and “Oddball” from Kelly’s Heroes and throw in a dash of Ed Sullivan. He still sounds like he’s got a mouth full of grits.Rumors say that Peter Boyle’s scenes were used against his will. But I’m not sure of the facts.Hearts & Minds with humor. Worth a look…IF you can find it.

  • tuomas-lehto-saarinen
    tuomas lehto saarinen

    The point of viewing this film is not only to see the theatrical skits performed by young stars like Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland, but to see those skits in context, filmed as they were performed on and near military bases around the world, to audiences of American troops, as the U.S. was in the midst of the Viet Nam war. Like most vaudeville, the skits were an excuse for political and social commentary, though some of them were funny and others were quite moving. The music was also excellent. What is most remarkable in the film, though, are the interviews with soldiers on active duty in wartime, and the camera pans of vast crowds of soldiers watching the stage performance avidly. It brings home the support that the peace movement had even with active duty troops in wartime. It’s exceptionally difficult to get a copy of this film in the U.S., though there are some copies still in circulation in Europe. If you ever get a chance to see it, don’t miss it–it’s an important slice of U.S. history, long buried and forgotten. Today we remember (falsely) that peaceniks spat upon veterans. This gives the lie to that urban myth. In fact, the peace movement and veterans were often strongly aligned, as both groups were dedicated to “supporting the troops” by bringing them home.