BRATS: Our Journey Home

91 minutes. Documentary.
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Cast and crew

BRATS: Our Journey Home

The First Documentary About Growing Up Military
Narrated by Kris Kristofferson
Written & Directed by Donna Musil

It's hard to imagine a military brat's childhood. Moving from base to base around the world, they are at home everywhere - and nowhere. The award-winning documentary, BRATS: Our Journey Home, is the first cinematic glimpse into this global subculture whose journey to adulthood is a high-octane mix of incredible excitement and enormous pain. Their passports say American, but they're really citizens of the world. They grow up in a paradox that is idealistic and authoritarian, privileged and perilous, supportive and stifling - all at the same time.

Singer/songwriter and Air Force brat Kris Kristofferson leads us through the heart of their experiences, sharing intimate memories with fellow brats, including the late General Norman Schwarzkopf and author Mary Edwards Wertsch. Their stories reveal the peculiar landscape of their childhood, the culture that binds them together, and the power it exerts over their adult lives. A seven-year work of passion by independent filmmaker Donna Musil, BRATS features rare archival footage, home movies and private photographs from post-war Japan, Germany, and Vietnam.

Thank you for watching. Hope you enjoy the show!

2006 / United States / 91 min / English / Color & BxW / Stereo / Digitally Mastered / Not Rated / Documentary

Official website

Click here to BUY A DVD copy of the BRATS film!

  • The Director's Statement

    The idea for a non-fiction film about military children took root back in 1998. I was a lawyer-turned-writer feeling a bit out of sorts and "different" from my fellow Americans, but didn’t know why. Then one day I discovered I was not alone. There are literally millions of us military brats scattered around the world and more are being born every day. We are raised in a separate and distinct culture that affects us deeply, in both positive and painful ways, throughout our lives.

    Making this cultural connection gave me a sense of belonging I had never experienced. This was empowering to a "little girl" who had moved twelve times on three continents, attended three high schools, and lost a father to service-related illnesses by the time she was sixteen years old.

    Today, I have a film about a group of people whose only “hometowns” are each other. We have more in common with the military children and "global nomads" of other countries than with our fellow citizens. And that is my vision – that this film might be a spark in a global fire of self-awareness and belonging – that from the ashes of war might rise a nation of children committed to peace.

    Your Fellow Brat and TCK,
    Donna Musil
    Writer-Director, “BRATS: Our Journey Home”

  • Donate to the Nonprofit That Made BRATS!

    "BRATS: OUR JOURNEY HOME" was made by Brats Without Borders, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1999 to provide educational outreach and support to current and adult military "brats" and "third culture kids" ("TCKs").

    The word "brat" is an historic, time-honored reference to military children, based on the acronym "British Regimental Attached Traveler." There are an estimated 2 million "active duty" brats, 15 million adult brats, and untold other TCKs in foreign service, government, NGO, missionary, and internationally-mobile corporate families. Brats Without Borders acknowledges their existence as a unique subculture, and recognizes their sacrifices and contributions.

    Make a contribution to Brats Without Borders!

    Or click here to read more about the nonprofit and its future projects!

  • Audience Reactions

    "A splendid documentary that… informs us about a corner of the culture we've overlooked… and changes the way we look at these people..." (4-star review) -- Roger Moore, Movie Critic, Orlando Sentinel

    "... words are incapable of expressing my true gratitude for the emotional peace your film has brought me..." -- Ann Williams Archer, Military Brat

    "... a beautiful film... very, very well made and… a must for each and every [person] who ever lived under these circumstances... We should all support this film in the most aggressive way possible…" -- John Hardy, Producer, Erin Brokovich and Ocean’s 11

    "My father watched without saying a word and at the end he quietly said ‘wow’…" -- Tony Batakis, Military Brat

    "I am completely overwhelmed… I thought I had covered this waterfront both intellectually and emotionally, but how wrong I was… I was sobbing." -- Sarah Bird, Author, The Flamenco Academy and The Yokota Officers Club

    "The first true, sometimes brutally raw, telling of the lives of military dependents… should be classified as required viewing." -- Steve Eisenbaugh, CIA Brat, Taipei American School, 1974

    "If I knew where my Brat pals were, I’d order a copy for each of them." -- Mike Revere, Military Brat

    "I always wondered how my own children felt about growing up Army brats, but they never were able to really tell me. This film speaks for them and so many others." -- Maj. Gen. (Retired) Jerry White, Former President, National Infantry Foundation

    "My husband now says I come by being crazy honestly." -- Alice Chavez, Military Brat

    "As a career Air Force chaplain and the proud dad of two military BRATS, I unequivocally recommend ‘BRATS: Our Journey Home.’ I’m giving [my son, an Air Force dad] a copy of this film because I am 100% convinced that it will benefit their marriage and family." -- Stephen L. Frick, Chaplain, Colonel, USAF (Ret.)

    "No other documentary better depicts the social and psychological impact on children and adolescents at the intersection of two powerful social institutions – the military and the family." -- Morten G. Ender, Ph.D., Sociology Program Director, West Point

    "Oh, my gosh. You took most of my feelings and had other people say them. I never wanted the movie to end!!! It was the most wonderful trip HOME!!! Thank you forever and ever." -- Katie Villani, Navy Brat

    More reactions from military brats!
    Reactions from military-connected personnel and civilians.

    Click here for:
    More press coverage and reviews…
    Live interviews with the director…
    Where we’ve screened the film…

  • BRATS Raw: Kristofferson & Schwarzkopf

    "BRATS Raw" is a series of uncut interviews from the original documentary, "BRATS: Our Journey Home." We have so much wonderful footage, full of poignant and provocative moments, we didn’t want to waste it!

    Segment one features American icons Kris Kristofferson and General Norman Schwarzkopf. Both men are brats themselves – the sons of soldiers, who also raised their own brats. Listen, as they describe their own journeys into the strange but interesting life of an American military brat. What happened when Kris Kristofferson told his mother he was turning down a teaching job at West Point to become a songwriter? What was it like for General Schwarzkopf to live with his father in Iran just after World War II? “BRATS Raw: Kristofferson & Schwarzkopf” gives you a rare glimpse into the personal lives of two military brats who’ve shaped America's culture!

    “BRATS Raw: Kristofferson & Schwarzkopf” will be available for rent in the near future. In the meantime, you can order a copy of the DVD at www.bratsfilm.com.

  • More BRATS Information

    Explore more about life as a military brat. Living in families saturated with the military culture… on overseas bases… in integrated neighborhoods twenty years before the civil rights movement… moving three times more than most rooted children… and more.

    Read the latest Brats Without Borders newsletter!

    Check out our BRATS links page, containing links to brat alumni organizations; brat reunions; brat books, music, and art; and other groups helping military brats, young and old.

    Join our social networking conversations at:
    Facebook – BRATS: Our Journey Home
    Facebook – Brats Without Borders
    Facebook – Military Brats & Third Culture Kids – Our Virtual "Hometown"
    Facebook – We Want a Military Brats Show on TV!
    Twitter – USA brats
    YouTube – BRATS: Our Journey Home
    MySpace – BRATS: Our Journey Home

  • Contact Us

    Brats Without Borders, Inc.
    P.O. Box 9186
    Denver, CO 80209 USA
    Phone: +1 855-USA-BRAT (872-2728)
    Email: info@USAbrat.org
    Nonprofit Website: www.USAbrat.org
    Film Website: www.bratsfilm.com