The Tillman Story

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The Tillman Story
The Tillman Story.jpg
Directed by Amir Bar-Lev
Starring Pat Tillman
Narrated by Josh Brolin
Distributed by Passion Pictures
Release dates
  • January 23, 2010 (2010-01-23) (Sundance)
  • August 20, 2010 (2010-08-20) (United States)
Running time
94 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $798,940[1]

The Tillman Story is a 2010 documentary film directed by Amir Bar-Lev. The film is about the death of football player turned U.S. Army Ranger, Pat Tillman, in the war in Afghanistan, the coverup of the true circumstances of his death, and his family's struggle to unearth the truth. It was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. It was named 2010 Best Documentary by the San Francisco Film Critics Circle,[2] the St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association, and the Florida Film Critics Circle.[3] The film is narrated by Josh Brolin.[4]

Pat Tillman was a defensive back with the Arizona Cardinals, but decided to walk away from a multimillion-dollar contract to go to Afghanistan in 2002. After Tillman was killed, an investigation showed that he died by friendly fire. Tillman's family says they learned weeks later that the inspiring story the military had publicized was false. The film shows a paper trail — including a leaked top-secret document known as a P4 Memo, sent to the White House by Gen. Stanley McChrystal.[5] Bar-Lev follows Pat’s mother, Mary (also known as "Dannie"), as she goes through 3,000 pages of redacted documents trying to uncover the facts.[6]

Bar-Lev began work on the documentary in 2007 during the congressional hearings on the incident. He asked the family for their cooperation for seven months until they agreed to participate.[7]


The film currently has a 93% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 82 reviews.[8]

Ann Hornaday in the Washington Post gave the documentary three and a half out of four stars, calling it "masterful" and "unsettling."[9] Rolling Stone's Peter Travers wrote: "This documentary succeeds triumphantly on so many levels that its full impact doesn't hit you until you have time to register its will get under your skin."[10] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly graded the film a "B+", saying it is "morally incisive."[11]


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