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The Boys Who Said NO!

THE BOYS WHO SAID NO! is the first documentary film to profile the young men and women who actively opposed the military draft in order to end the Vietnam War. The film shows how their personal and collective acts of nonviolent resistance, risking arrest and imprisonment for up to 5 years, were a critical part of the antiwar movement, intensifying opposition to the war and eventually forcing an end to both conscription and the war.

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, resistance to the American war in Vietnam grew substantially. Hundreds of thousands of draft age men refused to cooperate with the draft. Tens of thousands immigrated to Canada, Sweden and other countries. American soldiers in Vietnam increasingly refused to follow orders and risked court martial and prison for organizing inside the military. Claims for conscientious objector status soared to unprecedented levels. Millions marched against the war.

While an estimated 500,000 young men resisted, evaded or just refused to cooperate with the draft, overloading federal courts, just 10,000 were indicted and 4,000 were imprisoned for their beliefs. These young men were willing to serve long prison sentences on the basis of their beliefs that the war was immoral and human life was sacred.

Drawing on original interviews with more than thirty male and female nonviolent activists and historians, THE BOYS WHO SAID NO! explores the influence of Gandhian nonviolence and the impact of the civil rights movement on Resistance members, a connection illustrated in footage of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. visiting and supporting Joan Baez and others jailed for blocking the Oakland Induction Center in 1967.

The film highlights the prosecution and trials of war resisters. Documentary and news footage capture anti-war demonstrations and marches, anti-draft meetings, and men, young and old, speaking out in support of the resistance movement. Smuggled film shows resisters serving time in Federal prison.

THE BOYS WHO SAID NO! is an overdue and definitive account of the principled and powerful nonviolent resistance to America's most problematic war. These young men risked years in prison to challenge a war of tragic human proportions. Their leadership, personal sacrifices, and example had a direct effect on ending the war, and are an important example for today's movements for social justice and peace.

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