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.
A follow-up, titled Fahrenheit 11/9, about the presidency of Donald Trump, was released in September 2018.
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.
- 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 cuts...to hide the fact that the Congressman answered that he has a nephew who's currently serving in Iraq.
- Media Scaremongering: Moore replays a female scream after images of destruction to emphasize how the government exploited the 9/11 attacks to manipulate people.
- 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.