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Film Discussion Guide

Download the discussion guide for the documentary The Oath and use it for facilitating conversation about this film at home, in the classroom or at community screenings.

The Oath: Discussion Guide

Download: Full-color PDF

The Oath tells the story of Abu Jandal (Osama bin Laden’s former bodyguard), and Salim Hamdan, Bin Laden’s former driver and the first Guantánamo Bay prisoner to face trial under controversial U.S. military tribunals. Though thoroughly reflective of the highly charged political atmosphere inhabited by its subjects, the film is essentially a family drama about two men whose fateful encounter in 1996 set them on a journey that would lead to Osama bin Laden, 9/11, the Guantánamo Bay detention center and the U.S. Supreme Court.

In an era where news-by-soundbite rules, The Oath affords a rare glimpse into the lives of people who, to many, are no more than names in headlines. As an outreach tool, the film humanizes compelling questions about ideology, war and the prisons — both physical and spiritual — that they create.

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Film Information

The Oath (90 min.)

Premiere Date: September 21, 2010

Encore Broadcast Date: Aug. 16, 2011

Streaming Dates: Expired

Photos: Download Here

Trailer: Link | Embed

Filmmaker: Laura Poitras Bio | Interview | Statement

Press: 2011 Encore Broadcast Press Release | Press Release | Fact Sheet | Critical Acclaim


Laura Poitras
Laura Poitras

Film Update

Critical Acclaim

Abu Jandal... is an extraordinary subject — handsome, lively, explicit, often eloquent, and bizarrely divided in his nature. [The Oath] is a fascinating documentary.”

— David Denby,
The New Yorker

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