The first glimpse we get of John Lennon in action on The U.S. vs. John Lennon DVD(Lions Gate) is a rare live performance of "Attica State" at a rally held to protest the 10-year sentencing of John Sinclair, a fellow radical, for offering an undercover cop two joints. Now, one could argue that the song itself, in which Lennon throws in his lot with the inmates at a prison riot, may not be the strongest case you could make on behalf of his lyrical genius. But it is a fitting introduction to this fascinating documentary about the U.S. government's attempts to silence Lennon's voice of protest as his threat to Nixon's war in Vietnam became more obvious, having given America's anti-war movement its anthem with "Give Peace a Chance." The FBI was writing down his lyrics at that gig. And Nixon's goon squad only grew more paranoid as John and Yoko started hanging with the likes of Bobby Seale. In addition to footage of Lennon himself, who brilliantly responds to "What should Nixon do?" with "He should just declare peace," this documentary draws on interviews with everyone from presidential hopeful George McGovern to Lennon's most dangerous ally, Seale, and his second most dangerous ally, Yoko.
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