Good Fight, The (1984): Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War, Narrated by Studs Terkel

For the 25th anniversary of this seminal documentary about the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War, a moving and engrossing chronicle of what some refer to as the “Poets War,” Kino is releasing on July 29, 2008 a special DVD edition, remastered in high definition, which includes never before seen extra material.

The features of the DVD include: interview with the filmmakers in 1988; Bill Bailey stories: Outtakes from the Good Fight; homage with Pete Seeger; commemoration of those who served.

The fight for the freedom of Loyalist Spain during the 1936-1939 Civil War pitted an International Brigade of 35,000 civilian soldiers from more than 50 countries against the well-equipped insurgents of Generalissimo Francisco Franco. Support for Franco came via Italian fighter planes from Mussolini and from the Nazi Condor Legion of Junker bombers sent by Hitler, who wanted to try out his new weaponry in anticipation of the larger war to come.

Spurred by their government’s failure to aid Spanish democracy, 2,800 American volunteers fought with distinction in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade within the International Voluntary Army. Over 750 American soldiers, who represented the best citizensand the purest conscience–of their generation were killed in Spain. Lincoln vets returned home after the Loyalist defeat to encounter suspicion as “premature anti-fascists.”

Branded communists sympathizers, blacklisted for years and unable to get work, many paid dearly for their good fight. Because they fought out of idealism for a good cause, their ultimate betrayal by their fellow Americans (and rest of the world) is all the more tragic.

Narrated by Studs Terkel, “The Good Fight” is a passionate exploration of a significant gap in our history through the use of newsreels, photographs, interviews with Lincoln veterans, and Depression-era music.

The 11 surviving vets of the war who appear in this stirring film share a common pride in their sacrifices of 70 years ago, when the rise of world fascism crushed the sprit of democracy in a tragic rehearsal for WWII.

Twenty-five years later, “The Good Fight” is just as emotionally stirring and politically significant as it was when first released.

Credits

Produced, written and directed by Noel Buckner, Mary Dore, and Sam Sills.
Music: Wendy Blackstone and Bernardo Palombo.

Running time: 98 Minutes