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Film / Fahrenheit 9/11

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Fahrenheit 9/11 is a controversial 2004 documentary film created by Michael Moore.

The film takes a critical stance against the George W. Bush administration and the way in which it handled The War on Terror, in particular the fall-out of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the later Invasion of Iraq by an American-led coalition in 2003.

The highest-grossing documentary film of all time. Ruled ineligible for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature after it was aired on television shortly before the 2004 presidential election.


This film provides examples of:

  • Big Brother Is Watching: One of the motifs in the film, how 9/11 allowed the government to become more pervasive in its surveillance. One set piece involved a San Francisco resident who was a gym-goer and when asked about President Bush, he gave a very negative opinion on the war in Iraq. A few days later, FBI agents showed up at his door and questioned him about his remarks.
  • Digital Piracy Is Okay: Moore was very supportive of people who downloaded the film off the Internet, but it probably didn't hurt that it grossed over $222 million during its theatrical run anyway.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Parodied when the film lists the names of the countries that answered US calls for aid in defeating Saddam Hussein, whether or not they had a military.
  • Literary Allusion Title: The title references Bradbury's classic Fahrenheit 451. Mr. Bradbury accused Mr. Moore of "stealing" his title, though he himself has invoked this several times in his career.
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  • Manipulative Editing: One infamous example is where Moore is trying to prove a point about how callous politicians are in sending soldiers off to war. He approaches a Congressman outside Capitol Hill and asks if the man would willingly send his son to Iraq. The man stands mutely for a couple seconds before the camera hide the fact that the Congressman answered that he has a nephew who's currently serving in Iraq.
  • National Stereotypes: There's a segment where Moore presents the "Coalition of the Willing" as a 1940s-style propaganda cartoon with caricaturish depictions of the countries included in that alliance: Romanians are vampires, the Dutch are pot-smokers, Costa Ricans are banana farmers, etc.
  • Sound-Only Death: Moore recounts the attacks of September 11 by having the film cut to black. The image onscreen remains black while the soundtrack features a recording of a plane slamming into a building, panicked 911 phone calls and emergency communications, and other sounds of the tragic day.
  • Spoofed with Their Own Words: In the final scene, Moore mocks President George W. Bush by quoting his own words from an old press conference:
    Bush: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, can't get fooled again.
    Moore: For once, we agreed.
  • War Is Glorious: This is certainly the opinion of the U.S. soldiers that Moore depicts in the film. A tank crew proudly tells him that they play rock music in the cockpit during engagements in the Iraq War.
  • Wrongfully Attributed: Moore concludes the film with a quote attributed to George Orwell. Christopher Hitchens has pointed out that this quote was never uttered by Orwell at all.
  • You Can Panic Now: Moore replays a female scream after images of destruction to emphasize how the government exploited the 9/11 attacks to manipulate people.