David Rockefeller, the oldest remaining member of the famed oil dynasty, passed away in March of 2017 at the age of 101. His death marked the end of a legacy that was inextricably linked to the politics, reputation, and functions of America itself for generations. Countless tributes may have heralded Rockefeller's passion for philanthropy and his keen intellect for business affairs in the immediate aftermath of his death, but the scathing documentary The Unauthorized Biography of David Rockefeller dares to offer a much more unflattering measure of the man.
Throughout his life, Rockefeller claimed that he existed on the outside of society's innermost circles, but the film sets out to provide a library of evidence to the contrary. According to the filmmakers, his public facade of modesty was all a disingenuous ploy, especially given his leadership role in shaping the landscape of global banking, his enormous influence over the formation of the European Union, and his proximity to nearly every world leader throughout his adult lifetime. He networked with a "who's who" of the most notorious despots and dictators from recent history, including Saddam Hussein and Mao Tse-tung. He was a frequent confidante of American presidents, including the Clinton and Bush families.
This unprecedented power and access was nothing new; it had long gone hand in hand with the massive accumulations of wealth enjoyed by the Rockefeller dynasty. But the central issue explored in the film is how David Rockefeller ultimately chose to use his wealth and influence.
According to the film, he was entirely motivated by bitter sibling rivalries and an insatiable thirst for a larger slice of the financial pie. This life's mission was propelled by his positions as Chair on the Council of Foreign Relations and as Chairman and Chief Executive of Chase Manhattan Corporation, as well as his more clandestine associations with the Bilderberg Group and the Trilateral Commission.
The man may be dead, but the residue of his legacy will remain with us for some time. The Unauthorized Biography of David Rockefeller pulls no punches in its ugly characterization of that legacy. It paints Rockefeller as the ultimate wolf in sheep's clothing, and bemoans the reality they believe he helped to create - one where unregulated greed is rewarded at the expense of suffering populations around the globe.