15 Movies & Documentaries That Expose the Broken Military Justice System

Soldier’s Girl (Showtime):

New Army recruit Barry Winchell is assigned to a base in Tennessee. One night out to a local bar hosting a drag show. Calpernia Addams an in-transition transsexual drag queen, fascinates Barry, and they strike up a relationship. -Soldier’s Girl, Showtime (January 20, 2003)

Showtime Entertainment Released ‘Soldier’s Girl’: Based on the True Story of the Murder of Fort Campbell Army Pfc. Barry Winchell

In the Valley of Elah (Warner Bros):

“In the Valley of Elah” tells the story of a war veteran (Tommy Lee Jones), his wife (Susan Sarandon) and the search for their son, a soldier who recently returned from Iraq but has mysteriously gone missing, and the police detective (Charlize Theron) who helps in the investigation. -Warner Bros. (September 14, 2007)

Warner Bros. Premiered ‘In the Valley of Elah’: Based on the True Story of the Murder of Fort Benning Army Spc. Richard T. Davis

The Tillman Story (The Weinstein Company):

Pat Tillman never thought of himself as a hero. His choice to leave a multimillion-dollar football contract and join the military wasn’t done for any reason other than he felt it was the right thing to do. The fact that the military manipulated his tragic death in the line of duty into a propaganda tool is unfathomable and thoroughly explored in Amir Bar-Lev’s riveting and enraging documentary. -The Tillman Story (August 20, 2010)

The NFL, the MilItary, and the Hijacking of Pat Tillman’s Story

The Wounded Platoon (Frontline PBS):

The Wounded Platoon

Since the Iraq War began, soldier arrests in the city of Colorado Springs have tripled. FRONTLINE tells the dark tale of the men of 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st battalion of the 506th infantry, and how the war followed them home. It is a story of heroism, grief, vicious combat, depression, drugs, alcohol and brutal murder; an investigation into the Army’s mental health services; and a powerful portrait of what multiple tours and post-traumatic stress are doing to a generation of young American soldiers. –The Wounded Platoon (May 18, 2010)

Frontline PBS: The Wounded Platoon Documentary [Full Episode]

On the Dark Side of Al Doura (Maverick Media):

U.S. Army Ranger John Needham, who was awarded two purple hearts and three medals for heroism, wrote to military authorities in 2007 reporting war crimes that he witnessed being committed by his own command and fellow soldiers in Al Doura, Iraq. His charges were supported by atrocity photos which, in the public interest, are now released in this video. John paid a terrible price for his opposition to these acts. His story is tragic. –On the Dark Side in Al Doura (2011)

On the Dark Side in Al Doura (Iraq): Documentary Gives You an Inside Look at Toxic Leadership in the U.S. Army

The Invisible War (Cinedigm):

The Invisible War is a groundbreaking investigative documentary about one of our country’s most shameful and best kept secrets: the epidemic of rape within our US military. Today, a female soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire with the number of assaults in the last decade alone in the hundreds of thousands. -The Invisible War (June 22, 2012)

Military Rape Documentary Funded and Distributed by “Serial Predator” and Hollywood Movie Executive Harvey Weinstein

Women of War Documentary (Sundance Films):

Military Sexual Trauma or M.S.T. has been a fixture in the military for as long as human war has existed, and is still quite prevalent even in today’s modern military. This feature length documentary uncovers the origins and offers solutions to M.S.T. -Women of War Documentary (February 4, 2013)

Women of War Documentary, Phil Valentine [Full Episode]

The Frozen Ground (Grindstone):

“The Frozen Ground” is inspired by the incredible true story that follows Alaskan State Trooper Jack Halcombe (Nicolas Cage) as he sets out to end the murderous rampage of Robert Hansen (John Cusack), a serial killer who has gone unnoticed for 13 years. As the bodies of street girls start to pile up in Anchorage, fear strikes a chord with the public. -The Frozen Ground (August 23, 2013)

Serial Killer & Army Reserve Veteran Robert C. Hansen Died of Natural Causes While Serving Out a Life Sentence in Alaska State Prison

The Silent Truth (Midtown Films):

Ninety-four US military women in the military have died in Iraq or during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). ‘The Silent Truth’ tells the story of one of these women, PFC LaVena Lynn Johnson, who was found dead on Balad Air Force Base in Iraq. The army claimed she shot herself with her own M16 rifle, but forensic evidence, obtained by the Johnson family through the Freedom of Information Act, brings the army’s findings into question. The Army refuses to re-open LaVena Johnson’s case, leaving the family in limbo. ‘The Silent Truth’ follows the Johnson’s pursuit of justice and truth for their daughter. -The Silent Truth Documentary (July 1, 2014)

‘The Silent Truth’ Documentary: The Rape, Murder & Military Cover-Up of Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson in Iraq

The Kill Team (PBS Independent Lens):

The Kill Team looks at the devastating moral tensions that tear at soldiers’ psyches through the lens of one highly personal and emotional story. Private Adam Winfield was a 21-year-old soldier in Afghanistan when he attempted with the help of his father to alert the military to heinous war crimes his platoon was committing. But Winfield’s pleas went unheeded. Left on his own and with threats to his life, Private Winfield was himself drawn into the moral abyss, forced to make a split-second decision that would change his life forever. -The Kill Team, (July 25, 2014)

The PBS Documentary ‘The Kill Team’ Reveals How the Military Justice System Operates in Response to Media Scandals

Gangs in the U.S. Army (A&E Television):

Sworn to protect us from every enemy, foreign and domestic, and every day the majority of soldiers do just that ! yet some units are being compromised and turn into street gangs. An FBI report recently showed an increased gang activity within US soldiers. -Gangs in the U.S. Army Documentary (2017)

Gangs in the Military: Armed and Dangerous Forces

Final Vision (Investigation Discovery):

The ID Original Movie, FINAL VISION tells the true story of Jeffrey MacDonald, a handsome, Ivy League-educated U.S. Army Green Beret doctor, who was convicted of brutally murdering his pregnant wife and two young daughters in the middle of the night. -Final Vision, Investigation Discovery (December 10, 2017)

Investigation Discovery Premiered ‘Final Vision’: The True Crime Story of Former Army Captain Jeffrey MacDonald

The Kill Team (A24):

When a young US soldier in Afghanistan witnesses other recruits killing civilians under the direction of a sadistic sergeant, he begins to fear that the men he’s serving with might be the ones to kill him. -The Kill Team (October 25, 2019)

‘The Kill Team’ Movie Released: Based on the True Story of Army Whistleblower Adam Winfield

Leavenworth (STARZ):

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Steven Soderbergh and executive producers Paul Pawlowski and David Check tell the story of First Lieutenant Clint Lorance. Watch the Official Trailer for the upcoming STARZ Original Docuseries, Leavenworth, premiering October 20 on the STARZ App. (August 28, 2019)

STARZ Premiered ‘Leavenworth’: Docu-Series Examines Army 1st Lieutenant Clint Lorance Afghanistan ‘War Crimes’ Case

Ready for War (Showtime):

Andrew Renzi sheds light on the lives of three of the estimated thousands of immigrants who volunteer for service in the American military, yet find themselves deported from the US once their tours of duty are over. -Ready for War, Showtime (November 22, 2019)

The ultimate threat for deported U.S. veterans? Drug cartels, new documentary says

NBC Washington: 62 Percent of Military Sex Assault Reports Result in Retaliation (May 18, 2015)

Punishing the Victim Retaliation NBC Washington.jpg

“One of the women interviewed was Lt. Col. Teresa James, the highest ranking officer to come forward with a rape claim in the National Guard, according to a recent report by the Guard. The News4 I-Team first brought you her story when she said she believes her 34-year military career with the West Virginia National Guard was destroyed after she reported her rape. Lt. Col. James attended the news conference and told the I-Team, ‘There’s nothing else they can do to hurt me. They did everything they could possibly do. It’s effecting change. That’s why I’m out today. It’s effecting change, and if I have to speak it, shout it from the rooftops, that’s what I’m going to do.’ Read more from NBC Washington here.

Related Links:
Serving in Silence: Sex Assault Retaliation Complaints Investigated
62 Percent of Military Sex Assault Reports Result in Retaliation
Troops who report sexual assault face retaliation
Highlights of Army National Guard Lt. Col. Teresa James’ Military Sexual Assault and DoD IG Substantiated Retaliation Case
DoD Retaliation Prevention and Response Strategy: Regarding Sexual Assault and Harassment Reports
DoD Retaliation Prevention and Response Strategy Implementation Plan
Military Sex Assault Reports Edge Up; Retaliation Persists
DoD Releases Annual Report on Sexual Assault in Military
Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military
Military Sexual Assault Reports Are Up for the Seventh Year in a Row
Pentagon: Claims of Retaliation for Sexual Offense Complaints on Rise
Reports of Military Sexual Assault, Retaliation Increase
The Biggest Obstacle to the Pentagon’s War on Sexual Assault: The Military Justice System
Military sexual assault reports rise in 2017 but fewer servicemembers faced courts-martial
Sexual assault, harassment spikes at military academies, strategies fail to stem crisis
Reports of sexual assault in the military soar
Pentagon report shows sharp rise in military sexual assaults
Sexual assaults in military rise to more than 20,000, Pentagon survey says
“A cultural rot”: Sex assaults spike at U.S. service academies
Defense Department to make sexual harassment a crime
‘It was rape:’ Wisconsin Army National Guard officer Megan Plunkett says she was retaliated against, disciplined for reporting sexual assaults
Gabbard says ‘there is still a fear of retaliation’ in the military about reporting sexual assault
Senators Hirono, Gillibrand Reintroduce Legislation to Bring Justice to Survivors of Sexual Assault in the Military
Sexual assaults in the military are on the rise. This bill would authorize Congress to intervene
Sexual Assault in the Military | C-SPAN.org

Military Sexual Assault: Photojournalist Mary Calvert Documented Some of Their Stories | Cosmopolitan (August 26, 2014)

Mary Calvert

Mary Calvert

In Photos: The Epidemic of Military Sexual Assault

Some 26,000 women [and men] are sexually assaulted in the military every year. Photojournalist Mary Calvert documented some of their stories.

“Why is this happening? To answer that question, Mary Calvert met with survivors and went to congressional hearings on military sexual assault. The women she met connected her with more women, and she photographed them in their homes and communities. Through her work, she learned that just 1 in 7 victims of sexual assault in the military reported the attack; of those assaults that were reported, just 1 in 10 ever saw a trial.”

Read more from  Cosmopolitan here.

“I get emails, and comments from people saying, ‘I was sexually assaulted in the military and I’ve never told anybody and when I saw these pictures and read these stories I felt more courage to go out and get some help.'” -World Press Photo Foundation (May 18, 2017)

Related Links:
Mary F. Calvert Official Website
The Battle Within: Sexual Assault in America’s Military Part 1: The Hearings
The Battle Within: Sexual Assault in America’s Military Part 1: The Survivors
Missing in Action: Homeless Women Veterans
The Battle Within: Sexual Assault in America’s Military
Mary F. Calvert | John Simon Guggenheim Foundation
Surviving Rape in the Military – The New York Times
The New York Times Discusses Mary F. Calvert’s Photography on Sexual Assault in the Military
Thousands Are Sexually Assaulted In The U.S. Military Every Year. These Are Some Of Their Stories.
Photos: Women Who Risked Everything to Expose Sexual Assault in the Military
Haunting Photo Essay Illustrates the Real-Life Toll of Military Sexual Assault in America
Sexual Assault in America’s Military | Photographer: Mary F. Calvert
World Press Photo Winners: Mary F. Calvert and Military Sexual Assault
“It’s sad to think that this could become my life’s work”
Mary F. Calvert on Photographing Military Sexual Assault Without Adding to Her Subjects’ Suffering
The Battle Within: Sexual violence in America’s military laid bare as record numbers of women are raped
‘I just pulled up my pants and went back to work’: Women veterans reveal the shocking sexual and physical abuse they suffered in the US armed forces
The Battle Within: Sexual Assault in America’s Military | Visa pour l’image
Mary F. Calvert on ‘Sexual Assault in America’s Military’

A Very Realistic Military Game | Inside Amy Schumer (August 26, 2014)

Amy discovers that her boyfriend’s war game unfolds very differently when the player chooses a female character. -Inside Amy Schumer, Comedy Central (August 26, 2014)

The sketch says it all… there’s a reason the majority of service members don’t report crime. Character assassination and retaliation is real for both male and female victims of crime in the military. Their lives, reputations, careers, and futures are dependent on the actions of the convening authority who has the power to do nothing. In the civilian world, after reporting a crime to the local police department and evidence is gathered, a prosecutor determines whether or not a case moves forward in the judicial system. The Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA) attempts to mirror this process and was reintroduced in June 2019, yet again was not allowed on the Senate floor for a vote. The last cloture vote on the way the military should handle felony crimes was on March 6, 2014. Invoking cloture means 60 Senators or two-thirds is required for passage of a bill as opposed to the majority of Senators. The biggest opponents of the MJIA were former Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and former Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), both since voted out of the Senate and replaced by Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ). This pair of military officers are proponents of keeping the Chain of Command involved in the decision making process of adjudicating felony crime despite what the majority of military sexual assault survivors have asked for because the fear and retaliation continues. Meanwhile, the fight for military justice reform rages on. #PassMJIA

Related Links:
Inside Amy Schumer – A Very Realistic Military Game (YouTube)
Inside Amy Schumer – A Very Realistic Military Game (website)
Inside Amy Schumer: Military Video Game and Victim Blaming
Best of 2014: Inside Amy Schumer’s military rape sketch
The 11 Best Sketches from ‘Inside Amy Schumer’ Season 2
Amy Schumer Plays a Very Realistic Military Game (Trigger Warning)
Here’s Why You Don’t Want To Play A Female Character In A ‘Realistic’ Military Game
Amy Schumer Realizes Military Games Are Not Fun for Female Characters
15 feminist Amy Schumer sketches that will make you stand up and cheer
Amy Schumer’s Top 5 Feminist Comedy Sketches
The top 10 funniest sketches from ‘Inside Amy Schumer’
Amy Schumer: ‘I don’t try to be feminist. I just am. It’s innately inside me’
Amy Schumer Is A Feminist Icon & Here’s 5 Undeniable Reasons Why
5 jokes that explain how Amy Schumer became the new queen of comedy
Breathless: Why Amy Schumer Is an Amazing Feminist
Amy Schumer’s Call of Duty: The Comedic Art of Straddling the Line Between Humor and Hurt