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Filmmaker Bill Guttentag takes a closer look at the atrocities committed by the Japanese after Nanking fell to the Imperial Japanese Army in 1937 with this documentary that was inspired by Iris Chang's novel The Rape of Nanking. Compiled from over 700 hours of footage including news-reel footage, interviews with survivors and soldiers, and staged readings, Nanking was financed in large by millionaire Ted Leonsis, who had read Chang's obituary and subsequently been prompted to read the author's best-selling account of the massacre.

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The lesson here is not simply to vilify the Japanese soldiers of that era, but to make sure that we never forget who we are and what our country stands for today."
‑ Jonathan F. Richards,
"A noble effort, but a flawed delivery. The film would benefit from more time spent with the real survivors, and less with actors tasked with "playing" the Western saviors."
‑ Ian Buckwalter, DCist
"Nanking bombards you with words and images of acts too barbaric to fully absorb."
‑ Tricia Olszewski, Let's Not Listen
"A handsome documentary on a brutal subject, Nanking delves into the 1937 Japanese invasion of China and the atrocities committed in the attack..."
‑ Sean Axmaker, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"Highlights both the best and the worst that humanity has to offer."
‑ Robert Roten, Laramie Movie Scope
"Sheds light on particular wartime atrocities largely neglected in the collective memory."
‑ Sid Smith, Chicago Tribune
"Living through a screening of ... the 1937/8 Japanese invasion, devastation and occupation of Nanking creates a fervent wish to have nothing o do with our membership cards in the homo sapiens species."
‑ S. James Wegg, JWR
"Nanking is a sometimes clumsy and sometimes artistically flawed documentary but in the end it presents a powerful account of what happened in Nanking at the end of 1937 and beginning of 1938."
‑ Beth Accomando,
"A harrowing look at how war takes its terrible toll on the innocent."
‑ David N. Butterworth,
"This painful documentary ends on a hopeful note, although with a clear view of the cloud over human nature."
‑ Kelly Vance, East Bay Express
"A deft and dramatic melding of talking-head documentary, historic photos and film footage and readings by a cast of actors, the film is a devastating depiction of man's inhumanity to man. It is also about how some of us are brave enough to say 'No.'"
‑ Robert W. Butler, Kansas City Star
"A brutal introduction to events that should be better known."
‑ Chris Hewitt (St. Paul), St. Paul Pioneer Press
"Even as history changes to accommodate current needs and frameworks, it's crucial to remember those who lived it."
‑ Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters
More reviews for Nanking on Rotten Tomatoes