BASIC TRAINING follows a company of draftees and enlisted men through the nine weeks of the basic training cycle. The varieties of training techniques used by the army in converting civilians to soldiers are illustrated in scenes of drills, M-16 and bayonet use, a gas chamber, mines, night crawls, an infiltration course and the many forms of ideological training familiar to millions of men and women who have served in the armed forces.
Fred Wiseman makes documentaries better than Napoleon made war, and his latest BASIC TRAINING might even make Napoleon nostalgic.…
–Bud Collins, The Boston Globe
Wiseman uncovers human conditions in inhuman situations… In the marching, the hand-to-hand combat, the loss of identity, Wiseman, without narration, conveys the humor and sadness of the situation. He not only imparts the essence of military basic training, he latches on to young men thrust into maturity, some before their time. It is a gripping experience.
Wiseman Retrospective at Film Forum Repertory