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Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004): Michael Moore v George W. Bush

Fahrenheit 9/11 movie Michael MooreFahrenheit 9/11 movie poster: Michael Moore’s controversial indictment of the U.S.-led Iraq War – and of those in the American government and in the corporate/media world that made that disaster possible – was the Palme d’Or winner at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.
  • Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) movie review: Michael Moore delivers a sensational – and at times sensationalized – exposé of the U.S.-engendered Iraq War, the hawkish George W. Bush administration and its corporate aiders and abettors, and the cravenly anti-democratic American media.
  • Fahrenheit 9/11 synopsis: Aided and abetted by members of the craven, corrupt American media, U.S. Republican President George W. Bush and his corporate and political cronies have an easy time selling the Iraq War to the eagerly gullible American public. But then bloody chaos ensues (in Iraq).

Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) movie review: Michael Moore’s blockbuster documentary incinerates the George W. Bush White House and the cravenly complicit U.S. media

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

While accepting the Best Documentary Feature Academy Award for Bowling for Columbine at the March 2003 Academy Awards ceremony, filmmaker Michael Moore seized the opportunity to lambaste U.S. President George W. Bush for engendering the Iraq War, then in its early stages. Loudly booed by some in attendance,[1] Moore later decided he was gonna show ‘em who was right. And show ‘em he does by way of Fahrenheit 9/11 – easily the most commercially successful documentary ever made.[2]

In this sensational Palme d’Or-winning exposé, the ever-contentious filmmaker mostly relies on interviews, news articles, and footage edited out of newscasts to create an implacable indictment of the Bush administration, its greedy corporate backers, and the dastardly (corporate-owned and -controlled) American media.

Fahrenheit 9/11 plot: Minority-rule ‘democracy’

Fahrenheit 9/11 begins with a dissection of the 2000 U.S. presidential election, in which Democrat Al Gore won the popular vote via the ballot box, but Republican George W. Bush won the White House via his brother’s Florida and his father’s right-wing pals on the U.S. Supreme Court.

From there, Moore uses the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., to depict the longstanding close ties between the Bush clan and Saudi Arabia’s Royal House of Saud, and to illustrate W.’s use of the terrorist threat as a weapon of dissent destruction.

Among other topics discussed in Fahrenheit 9/11 are the lies and distortions used to justify waging war against Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein; the plight of an American mother whose son dies in the fighting; the thoughts of American soldiers stationed in Iraq; and the bloody, calamitous destruction caused by the American-led bombing of that country.

Cowardly, dishonest U.S. media

Inevitably – and righteously so – Michael Moore also aims his camera at greedy corporations and at the inept, craven, dishonest American media. The former group is denounced for its eagerness to profit from the ravages of the Iraq War, while the latter is thrashed for its cowardice — e.g., burying stories deemed too controversial — and for its docile acquiescence to the White House’s political agenda.

Moore’s attacks are their most effective when accompanied by his caustic humor. Besides ridiculing his main targets – George Bush, big corporations (especially oil-linked Halliburton), and the U.S. media – he also pokes fun at the American political system, the American electoral system, several U.S. allies in the Iraq invasion, and even American pop singer Britney Spears.

Unnecessary conspiracy theories

Now, even though much of what we see in those Fahrenheit 9/11 sequences is, in fact, funny, informative, and/or disturbing, Moore also sees fit to add unnecessary conspiracy theories to the narrative, e.g., the War in Afghanistan as a convenient means for oil and gas giant Unocal to build a pipeline through that country.

That’s an unfortunate decision as it undermines the overall credibility of his film. After all, there are no publicly known facts to back up that suggestion, especially when one considers that Unocal had previously negotiated with the Taliban to build a pipeline in that part of the world. (For various reasons, Unocal quit the project in 1998.)

Moreover, three years after U.S.-led international combatants landed in Afghanistan there’s still no Unocal pipeline construction in that war-wrecked country.

The filmmaker also loses ground when he attempts to personalize the Iraq War. Although several “private citizen” moments are indeed poignant, Michael Moore, The Interviewer, comes across as both patronizing and exploitative.

Fahrenheit 9/11 Britney SpearsPop singer Britney Spears in Fahrenheit 9/11: “Honestly, I think we should just trust our president in every decision he makes and should just support that, you know, and be faithful in what happens.”

What about pro-war Average Joes & Janes?

Additionally, for someone who has been so vociferously critical of the cowardice of both the Bush administration and the U.S. media, Moore lacks the courage to blame American military personnel for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners. Instead, he shifts the full responsibility for the heinous acts to George W. Bush.

Compounding matters, Moore points his accusing camera at countless targets, but refrains from ever directing it at the tens of millions of Americans who have thoughtlessly adhered to the dictates of the White House.

Instead, the “I’m a Man of the People Just Like You” documentarian chooses the stance that poor little We the People have been duped by the big bad Elite.

Billion-headed monster

Yet, despite its not inconsiderable flaws, Fahrenheit 9/11 is a landmark motion picture.

Like the great classical tragedies (or your average soap opera), it deals with power, greed, dishonesty, love, loss, corruption, ignorance, good, evil – with the difference that the characters are real-life individuals.

To boot, the documentary introduces a new movie monster, more frightening than Alien, Predator, or even The Thing. No, not George W. Bush, who comes across more like Larry, Moe, or Shemp than Freddy Krueger.

Fahrenheit 9/11’s Frankenstein is Britney Spears, whose blind follow-the-leader mentality is representative of a large section of the human population. And that makes her – and the billions of people she mirrors – scarier than any other movie monster of past and present.

Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) crew information

Direction & Screenplay: Michael Moore.

Narrator/Interviewer: Michael Moore.

Cinematography: Mike Desjarlais.

Film Editing: Kurt Engfehr, Christopher Seward, and T. Woody Richman.

Music: Jeff Gibbs.

Producers: Michael Moore, Jim Czarnecki, and Kathleen Glynn.

Production Company: Dog Eat Dog Films.

Distributors: Lions Gate Films | IFC Films | The Fellowship Adventure Group.

Running Time: 116 min.

Country: United States.

Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004): Michael Moore v George W. Bush” notes

‘Did you expect to get booed?’

[1] On the 20th anniversary of the 2003 Academy Awards ceremony, U.S. cable news network MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan asked guest Michael Moore, “Did you expect to get booed?”

No!” replied the Fahrenheit 9/11 filmmaker.

A replay of Moore’s acceptance speech showed an uncomfortable Martin Scorsese (who seemed like he was going to applaud right as the camera cut away from him), a grinning Harrison Ford enjoying the spectacle, Chicago actor Richard Gere holding his hands, Ed Harris (who, a few years earlier, had refused to applaud for Honorary Oscar recipient Elia Kazan) picking his teeth, eventual Best Actress winner Nicole Kidman (The Hours) with arms crossed, eventual Best Actor winner Adrien Brody (The Pianist) seemingly thinking about what not to say in case he won, Denzel Washington passively scratching his goatee, etc.

A couple of individuals were shown clapping, but from a distance.

During the March 2023 MSNBC interview, Mehdi Hasan also remarked on Iraq War co-orchestrator George W. Bush having been “rehabilitated … swapping cough drops with Michelle Obama.”

Also: Marking the 20th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, The Majority Report host Sam Seder interviewed Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Spencer Ackerman (Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump). The interview can be found here (segment begins at 21:30).

Box office

[2] As found at, Fahrenheit 9/11 ended its domestic run with $119.2 million. Internationally, Michael Moore’s documentary collected another $103.2 million. Worldwide total: A mammoth (for a nonfiction film) $222.4 million.

Its top international markets were France ($16.1 million), Japan ($15 million), the United Kingdom/Ireland ($12.2 million), and Italy ($10.8 million).

Fahrenheit 9/11 awards

Besides the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or, Fahrenheit 9/11’s numerous accolades/nominations include the following:

Michael Moore opted not to submit Fahrenheit 9/11 for the Best Documentary Feature Academy Award. Though eligible in other categories, Fahrenheit 9/11 failed to receive a single nomination.

Britney Spears Fahrenheit 9/11 quote via CNN.

See also: Total Film magazine readers disagree with the assessment further up regarding U.S. President George W. Bush’s creepy factor.

See also: Is there a mysterious link connecting Fahrenheit 9/11 and the Oscars to the U.S. presidential election?

Fahrenheit 9/11 movie credits via the American Film Institute (AFI) Catalog website.

Michael Moore and Britney Spears Fahrenheit 9/11 movie images: Lionsgate | IFC Films.

Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004): Michael Moore v George W. Bush” last updated in August 2023.

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The peaceful end of the Cold War resulting in no nuclear suicide for the planet was a milestone for all time. Reagan and Gorbachev proved that major differences can be resold without destroying humanity, freedom and human rights. Yes, after 1989 there still would be scumbag dictators causing problems. Manuel Noriega, Gadhafi, Cedras, Aided, Milosevic, Saddam and others were “worse than Hitler”.

Elefant -

the year 2001 should not be repeated


Neither should 2000. It really was “2000-zero-zero-party over-oops-out of time”.

Alexey Sapozhnikov -

Hello Sir Michael Moore. My name is Alexey. I have lived in Russia in
Snezhinsk. Our town is very small and on this great honor for me to
write you a letter. I was very happy when I found your e-mail, because
I can not express in words how I admire you and your creativity. I
love all your work without exception! You are a great person and doing
great work and make a great contribution to world culture and
heritage. I’ve got all your records and work. I also closely follow
your work and admire you! And believe me, the admirers of your talent
is very much on our planet! Though our town as small as 3 to 4
kilometers and live in it all 50000 people, and there are people who
admire you. I am one of your many fans. By this, I want you dear Mr
Moore ask sincerely that you would send me your autograph on your
photo. It is just wonderful, if you send an autograph in my name. I
beg you! Please! This will make me the happiest man! I put your
picture with an autograph in the frame and will each time to look at
her and cheering. I understand that you are very busy man, but I hope
that you made me happy. I wish you success, health and all the best.
With respect and great hope, your loyal fan of Alexey.


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