1971 Film Review

Whistleblowers Reveal Controversial FBI Documents That Shocked America

Eight anti-war activists stages a bold break-in of an FBI field office in Media, Pennsylvania while diverting the attention of the public on the evening of March 8, 1971, when Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier squared-off in a heavyweight championship bout dubbed The Fight of the Century.

The planned operation went off without a hitch, and they managed to gather every file on the premises into suitcases. The audacious octet had no idea until later that they had purloined shocking proof of the Bureau’s wholesale violations of U.S. citizens’ Constitutional rights via an illegal counterintelligence program nicknamed COINTELPRO.

Dubbing themselves the Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI, the group Xeroxed the evidence and mailed photocopies to numerous news outlets, most of which refused to publish them. But once one magazine finally did print it, and a righteous national outrage ensued. J. Edgar Hoover ended up with egg on his face, given how he had been using taxpayer money to entrap and spy on any liberals whose politics he did not share.

John Edgar Hoover, FBI Director from 1924 to 1972.

All of the above is recalled in fascinating fashion in 1971, a whistleblower documentary directed by Johanna Hamilton. What’s interesting to hear is how the participants in the theft eluded capture by the authorities for decades. In fact, the only reason their identities are even known now is because they decided to ‘fess up for the sake of this film.

A belated tribute to some fearless patriots with the gumption to expose the FBI’s lawless ways and the wherewithal to evade apprehension by the Bureau to boot!


Excellent (4 stars)


Running time: 80 minutes

Studio: Fork Films

Distributor: The Film Collaborative

Watch the 1971 trailer:

Kam Williams
Kam Williams is a popular and top NewsBlaze reviewer, our chief critic. Kam gives his unvarnished opinion on movies, DVDs and books, plus many in-depth and revealing celebrity interviews.Sadly, Lloyd Kam Williams passed away in 2019, leaving behind a huge body of work focused on America's black entertainment community. We were as sad to hear of his passing as we were overjoyed to have him as part of our team.