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The road to Guantanamo (The road to Guantánamo) - Riz Ahmed, Farhad Harun, Shahid Iqbal, Michael Winterbottom, Mat Whitecross

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

How far will we go in the name of security?

The road to Guantanamo (The road to Guantánamo) received a standing ovation at its world première screening at the 2006 Berlin International Film Festival, introduced by Michael Winterbottom, the actors and the real Tipton Three. On their return from Berlin, the four actors who played Shafiq, Ruhel, Asif and Monir, plus two of the Tipton Three were detained under British anti-terror laws at Luton Airport in February 2006.

The road to Guantanamo (The road to Guantánamo) is a terrifying first-hand account of three young men on holidays in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Known as the "Tipton Three" in reference to their home town in Britain, the film tells the story of three British nationals of Muslim faith who were held without charges in the American military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. After two years of imprisonment they were eventually returned to Britain and released, still having had no formal charges ever made against them at any time during their ordeal.

Part documentary, part dramatisation, the film chronicles the sequence of events that led the trio from Tipton in the British Midlands to a wedding in Pakistan to their crossing the Afghanistan border just as the US began its bombing campaign, to eventual capture by the Northern Alliance to imprisonment at Camp X-Ray and later at Camp Delta in Guantánamo.

With unsurpassed dramatic authenticity and the spirit of a road movie, Winterbottom's film brilliantly re-creates this first hand account of the most notorious prison in modern history. Shot on location in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran with actors playing the highly physical and mentally demanding roles, it also features searing testimonies from the real "Tipton Three" and incendiary news bites from George Bush, Tony Blair and Donald Rumsfeld.

The road to Guantanamo (The road to Guantánamo) is both a powerful indictment of an illegal and indefensible internment policy and a white-knuckle adventure.

Theatrical propaganda posters

The road to Guantanamo (The road to Guantánamo) imageThe road to Guantanamo (The road to Guantánamo) image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film documentary drama prison USA Cuba Afghanistan Taliban terror military torture racial profiling war

Persons of interest

  • Riz Ahmed .... Shafiq
  • Farhad Harun .... Ruhel
  • Arfan Usman .... Asif Iqbal
  • Shahid Iqbal .... Zahid
  • Sher Khan .... Sher Khan
  • Jason Salkey .... Military Interrogator Sheberghan
  • Jacob Gaffney .... Kandahar Interrogator
  • Mark Holden .... Kandahar Interrogator
  • Adam James .... SAS Interrogator
  • Ian Hughes .... MI5 Interrogator
  • Nancy Crane .... Interrogator
  • Ewan Bailey .... Interrogator
  • Martin McDougall .... Interrogator
  • Justin Lynch .... Interrogator
  • Sara Stewart .... Interrogator
  • Demetri Goritsas .... Interrogator
  • James McNeil .... Interrogator
  • Sasha Pick .... Interrogator
  • Kieran O'Brien .... Voice-over
  • Ruhel Ahmed .... Himself
  • Asif Iqbal .... Himself
  • Naser Ranjha .... Military Interpreter
  • Shafiq Rasul .... Himself
  • Waqar Siddiqui .... Monir
  • George W Bush .... Himself (archive footage)
  • Donald Rumsfeld .... Himself (archive footage)
  • Michael Winterbottom .... Director
  • Mat Whitecross .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

What is worse: a régime that espouses terror tactics in order to depose a government or a government that decries the terror tactics of a régime then uses its own terror tactics in order to eliminate that régime? Here're other questions: Is the USA the greatest evil in the world today? Is their hypocrisy undermining the global efforts toward peace? Are they using foreign actions to derive domestic authority?

By the time you get to the end of The road to Guantanamo (The road to Guantánamo) you are sick and tired of the Yanks and their special brand of stupidity. The astounding failures of their intelligence groups are bad enough but the way they persist in using tried and failed methods really takes the cake. Torture turns prisoners into either martyrs or broken victims who will say anything to avoid further punishment. You would think that if two or three years of humiliation, abuse, solitary confinement, lies, blackmail, threats, beatings, interrogation, starvation and deprivation don't change someone's story then that story is not going to change. Not the Yanks. They not only have faith in their own infallibility but they believe their own press. Maybe the Communists wouldn't have been so bad...

The documentary drama movie The road to Guantanamo (The road to Guantánamo) is directed by Michael Winterbottom, Mat Whitecross and stars Riz Ahmed, Farhad Harun, Shahid Iqbal.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Languages: English, Urdu
  • Picture: Widescreen (16:9)
  • Special features:
    • Featurettes: The beach - short film by Ridwan Hassim
    • Trailers: UK, US
  • Subtitles: English

Government security censorship classification

MA 15+ (Strong coarse language, distressing themes)

Surveillance time

95 minutes (1:35 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 16 November 2006
DVD rental: 16 May 2007
DVD retail: 12 September 2007

Cinema surveillance images

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