The film was made to encourage farmers to grow hemp for the war effort because other industrial fibers, often imported from overseas, were in short supply. The film shows a history of hemp and hemp products, how hemp is grown, and how hemp is processed into rope, cloth, cordage, and other products.
Before 1989, the film was relatively unknown. The United States government denied ever having made such a film. The United States Department of Agriculture library and the Library of Congress told all interested parties that no such movie was made by the USDA or any branch of the US government. Two VHS copies were recovered and donated to the Library of Congress on 19 May 1989 by Maria Farrow, Carl Packard, and Jack Herer.
The only known copy in 1976 was a 3/4" broadcast quality copy of the film that was originally obtained by William Conde in 1976 from a reporter for the Miami Herald and the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church of Jamaica. It was given in trust that it would be made available to as many as possible. It was put into the hands of Jack Herer by William Conde during the 1984 OMI (Oregon Marijuana Initiative). The film 20 years later is now available in numerous locations on the Internet.
In July 1989, Jack Herer together with Chris Wright, of the Grassroots Party, attempted to obtain a copy from the National Archives where it was listed, but the curators were unable to locate the film. Subsequently, in May 1990, the founder of The Institute for Hemp, J.T. Birrenbach, recovered a copy of the film from the National Archives. The film was a two part film the first section being 6:46 the second being 7:16 long. Together the approx 15 minute film detailed the cultivation of cannabis for fiber. This was the first recovery of the film from a government source. This film can now be downloaded from the National Archives
Hemp for Victory was produced by the US Department of Agriculture and contained scenes from the 1926 silent film Old Ironsides, it is public domain and is freely available for download from the Internet Archive.
The film, as well as clips shown, was referenced to in an episode of 10 Things You Don't Know About on marijuana and its history.
Hemp for Victory is also the title of a book about hemp, published 2006 in London by Whitaker Press (ISBN 0-9549939-0-X). It is the work of several authors active in the hemp world, including Kenyon Gibson, Nick and Cindy Mackintosh, Woody Harrelson, Mina Hegaard and Sam Heslop.
In 2008 efforts were made to make a sequel of the movie by UK-based production houses as a series of short films. It was developed as a three film series of 60 minutes each. The first part is starred by David Hayman and Jack Herer. The second part released at the 2009 Seattle HempFest had Steve Levine and Andrea Hermann on the speaker panel. The movie did not have a full official release. It was released as a 2012 remake at select locations.
The conceptualization of the film was done primarily through inputs from Smithsonian Online, Greenpeace, Ferrero, MardiGrass, Robert West, Tapan Kumar Pradhan, Howard Marks, Vote Hemp, John Hobson (Hemcore), Hillary Benn, Marc Deeley and other research institutes.