The Tillman Story

Watch The Tillman Story

"a mystery. a cover up. a crime. one family will risk everything for the truth."
  • R
  • 2010
  • 1 hr 34 min
  • 7.7  (5,389)
  • 86

The Tillman Story is a thought-provoking and emotionally charged documentary that unveils the truth about the life and death of Pat Tillman, a former American football player and Army Ranger who was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan in 2004. The film is directed by Amir Bar-Lev and features interviews with Pat's family, friends, fellow soldiers, military officials, and journalists who investigated the circumstances of his death.

The movie begins with a nostalgic look at Pat's childhood in San Jose, California, where he grew up with his two brothers and his parents, Mary and Pat Tillman Sr. Pat was an exceptional athlete and student, who excelled in football and earned a degree in marketing from Arizona State University. He was also deeply patriotic and civic-minded, and after the 9/11 attacks, he decided to join the military with his brother Kevin, despite having been offered a multi-million dollar contract to play football for the Arizona Cardinals.

The Tillman Story then takes a dramatic turn as it recounts the events leading to Pat's deployment to Iraq and later to Afghanistan, where he was assigned to a Special Operations unit. On April 22, 2004, Pat was killed by friendly fire while on patrol in the mountains of Afghanistan, and his death was initially reported as a result of enemy action. The subsequent investigation by the Army, however, revealed that Pat's fellow soldiers had mistaken him for the enemy and fired on him from close range.

The film examines the aftermath of Pat's death, focusing on the cover-up and propaganda campaign orchestrated by the military and government officials to exploit his heroism and obscure the truth about his death. The Tillman family, including Pat's mother Mary, refused to accept the official story and launched their own investigation, uncovering a web of lies, distortions, and negligence that had misled them and the American public.

Through compelling interviews and archival footage, the film portrays the Tillmans as courageous and principled advocates for accountability and transparency, who fight against a powerful and corrupt system that seeks to silence them. The movie also shows how the Tillman Story became politicized and used as a symbol of patriotism, anti-war sentiment, and celebrity status, often overshadowing the personal and family tragedy that it represents.

One of the strengths of The Tillman Story is its nuanced and complex treatment of the themes of war, military service, and patriotism, without resorting to simplistic or jingoistic clichés. The movie acknowledges that Pat Tillman was a genuine and admirable person, who chose to serve his country in a time of crisis, but it also exposes the flaws and contradictions of the military-industrial complex and its dehumanizing effects on individuals and society.

The film ends with a poignant and haunting scene, where Mary Tillman reads a letter that she had written to her son after his death, expressing her love and grief, but also her anger and frustration at the lies and manipulation that surrounded his memory. The Tillman Story is a powerful and moving documentary that challenges our assumptions and raises important questions about truth, justice, and human dignity. It reminds us that behind every war statistic, there is a real person with a name, a story, and a family.

The Tillman Story is a 2010 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 34 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.7 and a MetaScore of 86.

The Tillman Story
Where to Watch The Tillman Story
The Tillman Story is available to watch free on The Roku Channel Free, Tubi TV, Vudu Free and Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime and Google Play. Some platforms allow you to rent The Tillman Story for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 34 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.7  (5,389)
  • Metascore