First Kill

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What is the psychology of war? Do soldiers become murderers when they enjoy killing? Is war beautiful? Are all humans capable of monstrous acts? FIRST KILL examines these and other questions, as it explores what war does to the human mind and soul.

Interviews with several Vietnam veterans evoke the contradictory feelings that killing produces – fear, hate, seduction and pleasure. FIRST KILL also includes a discussion with Michael Herr, the former war correspondent who wrote the screenplays to Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket, and wrote Dispatches, the best and most important book about the experiences of the combat soldier in the Vietnam War.

For the last ten years Herr has refused to give any interviews, but in FIRST KILL he descends into his own dark experiences one more time. “If war was hell and only hell and there were no other colors in the palate… I don’t think people would continue to make war,” he says.

For other people war is just work. Immediately after taking his well-known photograph of a Vietnamese general shooting a Vietcong soldier in the head, Eddie Adams went out to lunch. Other Vietnam veterans talk about similar numbing experiences, many of them continuing to suffer nightmares and are still struggling with their traumas. On the other hand, former “tunnelrat” Billy Heflin openly admits that, despite his aversion to war, he is addicted to killing, and longingly recalls his wartime experiences.

First Kill, 8.2 out of 10 based on 86 ratings

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  • John

    A very interesting documentary, definitely worth a watch!

  • AC

    I concurr…(re John’s comment)

    • Andrew24

      Americans need to be aware about their past and the truth is not on CNN.

      Painters in
      Toronto
       

  • http://www.buybacklinkservices.com Backlinks

    Awesome, watch this video !

  • anonymous

    eddie adams sucks

  • Esa

    A really good documentary. Left you trying to find answers to a dozen hard questions…

  • Esa

    A really good documentary. Left you trying to find answers to a dozen hard questions…

  • Esa

    A really good documentary. Left you trying to find answers to a dozen hard questions…

  • TheSweatyButcher

    this film was a roller coaster for me, had a dozen or so flashbacks.

  • TheSweatyButcher

    this film was a roller coaster for me, had a dozen or so flashbacks.

  • TheSweatyButcher

    this film was a roller coaster for me, had a dozen or so flashbacks.

  • Alen

    when the dude say he wanted to go back to vietnam to kill because he missed it, that people tell them after war to live the ordinary life, but they couldnt… that was the real problem nowadays with us, our civilization. normal life is not enough for many people, not necessary people who have been in a war, just plain people who want adventure in their life, so thats why they do all the horrors to others. and i mean “little” horrors like bosses to their employees, ceos, bankers, politicians, etc.

    what is the answer to need of a war addicted people? same as for everybody else, screw the 9-5 jobs and find your own interest, fight the dark side by finding the “light” side of you, the one which is enthusiastic and passionate for the thing you are doing. Every person has a place in this world which does not make it necessary for them to do harm to others.

    you can feel good and fulfilled about what you are doing by seeing that you help others, by seeing that what you do helps other people, society or nature, and those are mostly the “basic” jobs like farming, not complex people jobs like newspapers, politics, or law practice.

    if you find a simple interest youre good at and see that this interest returns gratitude from society, its recognized and you will find true meaning of your existence on this planet.

    it is harder for war addicted people, but they can do it, somebody just has to make them become aware of this other side of theirs. theyve found bad side, now they must be guided by someone to good side.

    even art could be a great satisfaction and comfort, a way to express themselves somehow and to be recognized as doing a good thing, that’s enough to wake up with a smile and with joy and enthusiasm to “go to work”.

    • Yo

      I agree :). It’s much better to die doing what you love than to work your whole life and only enjoy the last couple years.

  • Awful_truth

          An excellent documentary. Although I have no doubt that anyone could be made to do evil things out of circumstance, As a martial artist I learned a long time ago that the best way to avoid a punch is not to be there.(don’t make a victim of yourself) Human nature cannot be denied, but when you look at why these guys did what they did, their answers revealed the egoic self-centeredness of themselves. Well, my grandfather and father fought in previous wars; my parents loved my brother more, so I had to earn their respect, etc, etc. In reality, people always have a choice, but to recognize it, you actually have to think.(use your brain) 3 million Vietnamese and 60 thousand Americans died for a lie. 40 years later, 1 million Iraqi’s died for the same lie because the American public(generally speaking) are a bunch of ignorant people who didn’t learn even from their recent past. The Iraqi war would have never occured if the American public were truly educated, and not FOX news brainwashed. The fact that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfiwitz, etc were not jailed for war crimes after the fact is precisely why it will occur again, and again.
          Addiction to money, power, drugs, sex, etc all lead to self-justification for one’s actions, and while drug addicts are incarcerated, murderers are given a medal.(go figure) The best example is to look at all the legal destruction alcohol creates, but don’t smoke a joint. Since grass is far less destructive than alcohol, people should ask why it is illegal when alcohol isn’t, or more importantly, why the public accepts the contradictory statement of ‘alcohol and drugs’ when alcohol is a drug, and one of the worst at that! If the general public can’t see this, then they will never understand the difference between ‘defending one’s country’, and ‘protecting our way of life’. In my humble opinion, the root of the problem is lack of thinking, and without it, democracy is meaningless. If anyone questions the validity of this statement, ask yourself the following question. If there was a billion intelligent people, and the other 6 billion are out to lunch because they are racist, prejudice, and uneducated people who believe in greed, subjugation, and exploitation, would you truly want democracy?
           Since no such thing (democracy) exists to begin with, any answer will be moot. In the final analysis, the veterans interviewed in this documentary are all damaged goods who sold their souls to experience war because they wanted the experience at any cost, or because they didn’t have the moral courage to tell their government to piss off because they weren’t defending their country, which is the only acceptable justification. Since the world is heading towards an economic global hedgemony, no country or ideology can be trusted. I will leave the reader with a quote from a truly intelligent individual, Albert Einstein.
          ” Man, like every other animal, tends to ignore his own situation unless goaded by circumstance. As a young man, I too went through such a phase trying to be and act like one’s fellow. Communism, socialism, nationalism, militarism, etc while constituting a diverse range of political ideologies, all lead to the subjugation and enslavement of the individual by the state, putting an end to freedom, and personal liberties”.     
                

  • Awful_truth

    An excellent documentary. Although I have no doubt that anyone could be made to do evil things out of circumstance, As a martial artist I learned a long time ago that the best way to avoid a punch is not to be there.(don’t make a victim of yourself) Human nature cannot be denied, but when you look at why these guys did what they did, their answers revealed the egoic self-centeredness of themselves. Well, my grandfather and father fought in previous wars; my parents loved my brother more, so I had to earn their respect, etc, etc. In reality, people always have a choice, but to recognize it, you actually have to think.(use your brain) 3 million Vietnamese and 60 thousand Americans died for a lie. 40 years later, 1 million Iraqi’s died for the same lie because the American public(generally speaking) are a bunch of ignorant people who didn’t learn even from their recent past. The Iraqi war would have never occured if the American public were truly educated, and not FOX news brainwashed. The fact that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfiwitz, etc were not jailed for war crimes after the fact is precisely why it will occur again, and again.      Addiction to money, power, drugs, sex, etc all lead to self-justification for one’s actions, and while drug addicts are incarcerated, murderers are given a medal.(go figure) The best example is to look at all the legal destruction alcohol creates, but don’t smoke a joint. Since grass is far less destructive than alcohol, people should ask why it is illegal when alcohol isn’t, or more importantly, why the public accepts the contradictory statement of ‘alcohol and drugs’ when alcohol is a drug, and one of the worst at that! If the general public can’t see this, then they will never understand the difference between ‘defending one’s country’, and ‘protecting our way of life’. In my humble opinion, the root of the problem is lack of thinking, and without it, democracy is meaningless. If anyone questions the validity of this statement, ask yourself the following question. If there was a billion intelligent people, and the other 6 billion are out to lunch because they are racist, prejudice, and uneducated people who believe in greed, subjugation, and exploitation, would you truly want democracy?       Since no such thing (democracy) exists to begin with, any answer will be moot. In the final analysis, the veterans interviewed in this documentary are all damaged goods who sold their souls to experience war because they wanted the experience at any cost, or because they didn’t have the moral courage to tell their government to piss off because they weren’t defending their country, which is the only acceptable justification. Since the world is heading towards an economic global hedgemony, no country or ideology can be trusted. I will leave the reader with a quote from a truly intelligent individual, Albert Einstein.      ” Man, like every other animal, tends to ignore his own situation unless goaded by circumstance. As a young man, I too went through such a phase trying to be and act like one’s fellow. Communism, socialism, nationalism, militarism, etc while constituting a diverse range of political ideologies, all lead to the subjugation and enslavement of the individual by the state, putting an end to freedom, and personal liberties”.     

    • Pcournoyer59

       I so agree with you. But what can be done about such a government whom is all those elected official’s who are in it for greed,subjugation, and exploitation,taking payoffs from those who gave millions form the corporations that do get them elected,
      it seems people who are out to lunch or so caught up keeping up with Jone’s don’t realize the propaganda being imbedded in their minds on CNN and FOX.
      Wake up people before it’s to late. Or is it?
      I feel sad our government goes to war and brainwashes our American soldiers into thinking their protecting our rights while  those in Washinton DC pad their bank accounts. Not to mention taking away our benefits as we get older.
      Yeah , I could not have said it any better than you did.
      It’s The Awful Truth

    • Mr.Macabre

      You might want to get that chip off your shoulder.

    • curtisalanmcgee

      too long, did not read.

    • Guest

      “Protecting the American way of life.” At one time that meant the right to vote the way you want and speak your mind. Now we don’t bother voting and have nothing to say to the other half of the country. All we hold true is the right to heave our obese butts into our fuel-sucking SUVs to head out for KFC while our zombie children play video games in the back seat.

  • Fred Bazzeeda

    volume level is low.

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  • Enorton51

    Very poor sound quality in that even with amplified speakers it is hard to hear it.

  • Lloyd Harvey Gandy

    i dont believe anyone of these soldiers. I meen the parts where they said
    they loved to kill.do you?

    • kitesurf4life

      I can’t speak for these soldiers, but my last duty station before retiring from the Navy was Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego and I did talk to some wounded Marines back from Iraq and Afghanistan who admitted enjoying the site of a body falling over after pulling the trigger and seeing the blood splatter. I just hope these kids don’t come accross too much scrutinaly from socielty at large. Too many vets are homeless these days.

  • squidder

    When oh when will people that make documentaries learn how to normalize the sound?! I swear, there is a free program called audacity that will do a great job. I am so sick and tired of jogging the volume back and forth when I lay down and put a doc on to fall asleep to and I can’t hear the people talking so I turn it up only to wake the neighbors up when music starts and it’s 2-3 times as loud. Seriously people that make these things, get you sh*t together and normalize the sound. And when in doubt, make the people talking louder than the music, not the other way around!

  • the555hit

    Who butchered this video into the bleeding chunks dished out at this site and would he mind please just take the same blade to himself one time and complete the deed? There. Everybody happy. Total disrespect not even so much for the viewer as the speaker on camera who is dragging stuff up with every possible effort for the record only to see it shoved down this shitbrain editor’s chute. I refer particularly to the point where the hispanic ex trooper is talking very impellingly of his percdeptions and reactions regarding the torture and death of a vietcong female lieutenant. You cut out pieces like that with your vandal’s knife you might as well ditch the whole fkn document. You serve up something randomly cut up that loses sense whatever all of the self conscious spacy thoughtfulness of the production —– and finally just waste all our time with something mutilated. I.T. WANKERS.

  • curtisalanmcgee

    I could kill every single one of you if I had to. You may like to think that you wouldn’t kill, but if it really came down to it you would or your genes would not be as likely to get passed on. Just hope that you never have to.

  • Johann Khamis

    These people are sick, if they weren’t sick to begin with they became sick afterwards. They are sheep who just follow of or put in a situation, brain washed people by a government that is a puppet of the puppet master, people who are manipulated by a different group of people for the greed of the puppet masters. It’s a shame, a real shame.

  • Tim Cannon

    This is an absolutely excellent documentary. On a side note, however, I couldn’t help but notice that the Vietnamese gentleman firing the M16A2 in part 3 was one of the worst marksmen I have ever seen! His eyes were closed when he pulled the trigger… he’d be lucky to hit the broad side of a barn!

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