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Home > Movies > The Tillman Story
The Tillman Story
The Tillman Story (2010)
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2 Reviews | 1 Short Comments | 82 Collectors | 7 Times Watched

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Movie Year:
Amir Bar-Lev
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Josh BrolinPat TillmanRichard Tillman
Mark Monroe
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(ex. 2002/10/21)
a mystery. a cover up. a crime. one family will risk everything for the truth.
Dec 15, 2011
This is the story of Pat Tillman, once a star NFL football play who gave up a multi million dollar contract to join the service and fight in Afghanist ...
This is the story of Pat Tillman, once a star NFL football play who gave up a multi million dollar contract to join the service and fight in Afghanistan. He didn’t want to be a hero, and he was soft spoken and reluctant to take credit for things himself. He was also not a highly religious person, but appears to be one guy who felt a strong sense that this was the right thing to do. When he was suddenly killed in action, the nation was quick to declare him a hero. Maybe too quick. Later it was reported that he was killed by friendly fire by his own troops during an ambush. This film takes a one sided view of Tillman’s life and death from his family and is highly critical of the people who reported the events in Iraq and those they feel made hay from the events surrounding this for their own agenda.

I can understand why making this film was useful for the Tillman family. It is a tragedy to lose a son, and something no one should ever have to go through. One of the questions you have is why this happened. You have a driving need to answer that question. I can feel for the family in this regard. But I am not sure I can buy their entire story. Furthermore, even if it’s all true, it doesn’t change anything. Certainly part of the job of the military and the government and the president is to bang drums, have parades with flags and fireworks and driving tanks down the street. This has been the case since the beginning of countries and wars. It is not the job of the leaders of the country to try to prove that every event in a war is our fault and that we are stupid and incompetent. Even a team with a losing record has pep rallies and cheerleaders who yell “We’re number 1″. It doesn’t make Pat Tillman less of a hero that he was killed by a tragic accident and a mistake or two.

The commander split the group into two parts and separated them. One group stayed with a disabled vehicle and the other departed. They were travelling in a canyon. Suddenly several large explosions happened and everyone thought they were under fire. Maybe they were and maybe not. But everyone there thought they were. Tillman and a couple others left the caravan and climbed up the side of the mountain where the shots appeared to be coming from. Meanwhile the other half of the team approached and had no idea that the rest of their team was below them in the canyon. They began firing at the men climbing up where the shots were fired and Tillman was killed. Was this a planned execution or an evil plot? No, its a tragic mistake. Very sad, and lots of blame could be brought to bear, but the most famous person serving in the military had just been killed. Rather than launching into a great investigation immediately, they ran with the story that he had been killed in action, which is true. It was some time before the story came out that it probably was (then definitely was) friendly fire who killed him.

Does this negate the sacrifice he made by putting himself in this difficult situation? I think not, but then they make the giant leap that suddenly everyone up to the white house decided to lie about his death and use his death to push forward an illegal and ill advised fight in Afghanistan to advance their own agenda. This is the step I can’t swallow. I know it would be easier and more comfortable to allow folks to believe Tillman died a hero from enemy fire, and a hero from friendly fire in a tragic mistake, but to make the jump that it was planned and executed as an attempt at propaganda is too much.

Let it go. We all know it was accidental, and that it was heroism and bravery. Let’s not try to pin down the president in an evil plot to trivialize his death as a planned propaganda exercise. The next step is that he was killed on purpose to boost the war. Let’s not go that far.

==Written by Ed Goettman ==

==From: Ed's Review Dot Com (
Pat Tillman gave up his multimillion-dollar NFL career to join the military and fight in Afghanistan, only to be killed in unclear circumstances. His death was seized upon by the Bush administration as a testimony to patriotism--so it was a jolt to Tillman's family when the official story was discredited and a harsher truth revealed. Most families, stunned by grief, would have let this go. The Tillman family didn't. The Tillman Story follows this dogged, determined, outspoken family as they fight to uncover what really happened and who was responsible for their son being twisted from a thoughtful young man to a one-dimensional political icon. The portrait of incompetence, error, and deceit that emerges will shock and disturb. Skillfully woven together from interviews and media footage, The Tillman Story draws suspense, anguish, and even bursts of dark but bracing humor from this tragedy. Pat Tillman, who never wanted his motivation for enlisting to be made public, comes through as unexpectedly complex, kind and insightful, brash and forthright, and deeply deserving of the devotion so clearly demonstrated by his family and friends. This documentary is riveting throughout, but the most crucial moment comes before a congressional hearing that exonerated Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other top brass (all of whom claimed ignorance of an incriminating memo), when Mary Tillman--Pat's mother--makes a brave and heartbreaking statement. The Tillman Story is worth watching for this moment alone. --Bret Fetzer
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