Restrepo (film)

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Restrepo poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Tim Hetherington
Sebastian Junger
Produced by Tim Hetherington
Sebastian Junger
Cinematography Tim Hetherington
Sebastian Junger
Edited by Michael Levine
Distributed by National Geographic Entertainment
Release dates
  • January 21, 2010 (2010-01-21) (Sundance)
  • June 25, 2010[1] (2010[1]-06-25) (United States)
Running time
93 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1,436,391 (worldwide)[3]

Restrepo is a 2010 American documentary film about the Afghanistan war, directed by American journalist Sebastian Junger and British/American photojournalist Tim Hetherington.

The film explores the year that Junger and Hetherington spent in Afghanistan on assignment for Vanity Fair,[4] embedded with the Second Platoon, B Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team of the U.S. Army in the Korangal Valley. The 2nd Platoon is depicted defending the outpost (OP) named after a platoon medic who was killed earlier in the campaign, PFC Juan Sebastián Restrepo, a Colombian-born naturalized U.S. citizen.[5]


The film follows the 2nd Platoon of Battle Company on a 15-month deployment in the Korengal Valley of northeast Afghanistan in the Nuristan area. The Korengal flows north to the Pech, which then flows east to the Kunar River valley on the border with Pakistan. The film chronicles the lives of the men from their deployment to the time of their return home. The Korengal Valley was at the time regarded as "the deadliest place on Earth" (as stated in the documentary itself, trailers, and television commercials on the National Geographic Channel). The goal of the deployment was to clear the Korengal Valley of insurgency and gain the trust of the local populace.

They begin their deployment at Combat Outpost (OP) Korengal, or "KOP", and early in the campaign PFC Juan S. Restrepo is killed, as well as another team member, PFC Vimoto. The film portrays negotiations with the local people, construction of an advanced outpost, OP Restrepo, as well as the challenges and intermittent firefights they face.

In the latter portion of the film, the dangerous mission Operation Rock Avalanche is shown along with some of its tragic consequences, such as dead civilians and soldiers, as well as the emotional distress that the soldiers are left with in its aftermath. For his actions during the operation Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta, who is not featured in the film, would later become the first living person to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.[6][7]


Restrepo received the Grand Jury Prize for best documentary at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.[8] The film received a certified fresh rating of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes; the consensus states: "Forsaking narrative structure for pure visceral power, Restrepo plunges viewers into the experiences of soldiers on the front lines of the Afghan War."[9]

Roger Ebert awarded Restrepo four out of four stars.[10] Additionally, numerous critics and publications included it in their annual top film selections.[11][12][13]

It was named as one of the top documentary films of 2010 by the National Board of Review.

It was nominated for the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary, losing to Inside Job.[14]


In March 2014, Realscreen magazine revealed[15] that Junger was working on a sequel to Restrepo, titled Korengal. The film was released in theaters in New York on May 30, 2014, with a pay-VOD release following in September 2014.

The sequel "departs from the vérité style of the original somewhat, as it features an original score and some archival news footage".[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Restrepo – Theatrical Release". International Documentary Association. Retrieved 1 December 2010. 
  2. ^ "Restrepo (15)". British Board of Film Classification. September 20, 2010. Retrieved May 9, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Restrepo (2010)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 1 December 2010. 
  4. ^ Into the Valley of Death, Sebastian Junger, Vanity Fair, January 2008 article, discusses the strategic value of the Korangal Valley.
  5. ^ An up-close yet impersonal look at war, Wesley Morris, Boston Globe movie review.
  6. ^ "President Obama Presents the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta: "We’re All in Your Debt"". Retrieved January 11, 2016. 
  7. ^ Hetherington, Tim (11 November 2010). "Medal of Honor Winner Salvatore Giunta on Bravery, Brotherhood, and the Korengal". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  8. ^ Addicott, Brooks (January 30, 2010). "2010 Sundance Film Festival Announces Awards". Sundance Institute. Retrieved November 30, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Restrepo". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 9, 2014. 
  10. ^ Restrepo review, Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.
  11. ^ David Denby (December 7, 2010). "The Best (and Worst) Films of the Year". The New Yorker. Retrieved January 11, 2016. 
  12. ^ "2010 in review: Betsy Sharkey on film". Los Angeles Times. 
  13. ^ PartB Film Awards 2011 – The Beaver
  14. ^ Record | Columbia News
  15. ^ a b Benzine, Adam (31 March 2014). "Exclusive: Junger, Goldcrest to self-release 'Restrepo' sequel". Realscreen. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
We Live in Public
Sundance Grand Jury Prize: U.S. Documentary
Succeeded by
How to Die in Oregon