2007 Documentary

Filmmaker Bill Guttentag takes a closer look at the atrocities committed by the Japanese after Nanking fell to the Imperial Japanese Army in 1937 with this documentary that was inspired by Iris Chang's novel The Rape of Nanking. Compiled from over 700 hours of footage including news-reel footage, interviews with survivors and soldiers, and staged readings, Nanking was financed in large by millionaire Ted Leonsis, who had read Chang's obituary and subsequently been prompted to read the author's best-selling account of the massacre.

Director: Bill Guttentag


  • Not only is the film a powerful historical record and a warning for future generations, it is an essential reminder to people, including many in Japan today, who might deny that this massacre ever occurred. As such, Nanking honors the highest calling of documentary filmmaking.

    James Greenberg - The Hollywood Reporter

    26 April 2013

  • I have rarely, if ever, seen a documentary reconstruction of a historical event that is so rich in firsthand (and well-preserved) photographic material.

    Richard Schickel - Time

    26 April 2013

  • Thorough and sadly engrossing documentary.

    Ty Burr - The Boston Globe

    26 April 2013

  • What Guttentag and Sturman gain in dramatic immediacy, however, they lose when it comes to historical context, and the chance to offer insight into why such things occur in the first place -- and continue to happen today -- is lost.

    Ken Fox - TV Guide

    26 April 2013

  • The stories are harrowing, and because they are delivered by living, breathing witnesses, they move us in deep ways that the archival footage, for all its horror, cannot.

    Walter Addiego - The San Francisco Chronicle

    26 April 2013


  • Outstanding Achievement in Casting - Low Budget Feature - Drama/Comedy

    Casting Society of America (2008)

  • Documentary

    Heartland Film Festival (2007)

  • Bill Guttentag

    Hong Kong International Film Festival (2007)

  • Top Five Documentaries

    National Board of Review (2007)

  • Outstanding Historical Programming - Long Form

    News & Documentary Emmy Awards (2009)