Deftly tracing the skullduggery of the mission and the Committee member’s need to keep quiet about it afterward, as well as the impact of the find itself, 1971 crafts a thrilling lesson about how authoritarianism can be curbed, sometimes, by one simple and well-targeted blow. To that last point, the film also underlines the importance of the source, an unlikely coalition of activists. One of the couples at the center of the group had several children, whom they worried about abandoning if they were sent to prison. But as former Freedom Rider John Raines notes in one of his many sage observations, people with children to worry cannot use that as an excuse not to act. Otherwise, he suggests, nothing would ever be done.