Steven Spielberg’s dramatisation of the Washington Post newspaper’s decision to publish the Pentagon Papers, which exposed the role of the American government’s involvement in Vietnam in 1971, finally has a title. The Post stars Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep as Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee and publisher Katherine Graham respectively and will have a limited release in December.
The papers officially known as United States – Vietnam Relations, 1945–1967: A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense, detailed the USA’s military involvement in Vietnam between 1945 and 1967. The documents were initially published in the New York Times followed by Washington Post. and became the centre of a debate on the role of the freedom of the press and censorship.
“In 1971, the paper decided to publish revelations from the 47-volume Pentagon Papers study after President Richard Nixon and The New York Times and Washington Post jointly appealed to the Supreme Court on First Amendment grounds and the high court ruled 6-3 that the government failed to prove a harm to national security and that publication was justified by the First Amendment,” Variety reported.
The episode has been previously filmed as The Pentagon Papers in 2003 and is also the subject of the 2009 documentary The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers – the latter film explores the source of the leak.