Films on Corporations

See Also:  FILMS ON SPECIFIC CORPORATIONS

Commanding Heights:
The Battle for the World Economy

Documentary 2002 NR 360 minutes. Based on the best-selling book by Pulitzer Prize-winner Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw, this three-part PBS documentary series is the story of how the new global economy was born. It traces the rise of free markets during the last century, as well as the process of globalization. There are three segments – 1. “The Battle of Ideas” (primarily between Capitalism and Communism);  2. “The Agony of Reform” (after the end of Communism)  3. “The New Rules of the Game” (of Globalization). See Full Review

The Corporation

Documentary 2003 NR 145 minutes. Filmmakers Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott explore the genesis of the American corporation, its global economic supremacy and its psychopathic leanings, with social critics like Noam Chomsky and Milton Friedman lending insight in this documentary. See Full Review

Were Not Broke

Documentary 2012 NR 1hr 20m. In this searing exposé, filmmakers explore the discontent of activists fed up with a government that allows U.S. corporations to skip out on paying their fair share of taxes. Many make billions in profits but pay $0 in taxes, leaving consumers to shoulder the brunt of a great recession. See Full Review

The Best Government Money Can Buy?

Documentary 2009 NR 76 minutes. Just how influential are lobbyists? Francis Megahy writes and directs this absorbing documentary about lobbyists’ role in American politics, the far-reaching implications of their spending on elections and their threat to democracy. In addition to exploring case studies from several industries such as health care and energy, the film features insights from Capitol Hill insiders, former White House officials and more. See Full Review

Ethos

Documentary 2011 NR 68 minutes. Woody Harrelson hosts this exploration of the systemic ways in which modern society is self-destructing, from the disproportionate power of corporations, media and the military to the failure of government and democratic ideals.

Citizen Koch

Documentary 2013 NR 1hr 25m. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s landmark Citizens United decision, this film explores the mounting struggle between money and American democracy.

Patriocracy

Documentary 2011 NR 1hr  26m. This incisive and timely documentary examines the extreme polarization of the U.S. political landscape and seeks to identify the underlying causes. Politicians, journalists and pundits share their theories regarding America’s current age of anxiety.

Death by China

Documentary 2012 NR 1hr 19m. This frank documentary chronicles the growing power and global ambitions of China, and concludes that its strength threatens America’s own future. Starting with the agreement in 2001 which allowed China into the World Trade Organization, this movie recounts trends to the present. This is an excellent, frank look at China’s unethical business practices since joining the WTO. It makes some valid points about the negative effects that our trade agreements with China have had. Much of the film is about the manner in which multi-national corporations headquartered in the US exploited free trade agreements for their own short term interests, at the expense of the greater good for the US economy. The documentary makes it clear that the multinationals coupled with their successful lobbying groups have made it easier to move our manufacturing to China.  See Full Review

Hot Coffee

Is Justice Being Served?

Documentary 2011 NR 89 minutes. This documentary examines the so-called “hot coffee lawsuit” in which a woman sued McDonald’s after she spilled her coffee and burned herself, specifically looking at the reasons why the many major corporations through the Chamber of Commerce invested heaps of money to sway public opinion. See Full Review

Pink Ribbons, Inc.

Documentary National Film Board of Canada (NFB) 2011 NR 1hr 37m. In showing the real story of breast cancer, this film explores who really benefits from the pink ribbon campaigns: the cause or the company. It documents how some companies use pink-ribbon-related marketing to increase sales while contributing only a small fraction of proceeds to the cause. Some companies manufacturing products that may be cancer-producing (carcinogenic) use Pink Ribbons to improve their public image. The pink-ribbon movement thus far has done more for marketing than for medicine. See Full Review

Black Money

Documentary Frontline 2009 NR 60 minutes. Slush funds, front companies and secret payments are just a few of the illegal tactics multinational companies are using to fatten their wallets — and increasingly, investigators are on to them, as this special edition of “Frontline” illustrates. Investigative journalist Lowell Bergman shows how the U.S. Justice Department is working with allies around the world to crack down on the billion-dollar business that international bribery has become.

Capitalism: A Love Story

Documentary 2009 R 127 minutes. Filmmaker Michael Moore (Sicko, Fahrenheit 9/11) takes on capitalism’s roots, the floundering U.S. economy, and 2008’s global financial meltdown and subsequent bank bailout in this rousing documentary. Combining stories about those who suffer most from Corporate America’s greed and insatiable thirst for profits and the people most responsible for myriad crises, Moore embarks on another shocking fact-finding rampage.

Let’s Make Money

Documentary 2008 NR 1hr 47m Let’s Make Money is not about how to make money. This film traces money as it goes through the global finance system — exposing policies and practices affecting the worldwide economy. This film is about the billions, trillions of dollars that go to selfish human greed and not to basic human need. This shows the planetary marketplace from all perspectives: wealthy investors, business owners, bankers, laborers, activists, government officials, impoverished people — from all around the globe. See Full Review

The Company Men

Drama 2010 R 1hr 44m. Written, directed and produced by John Wells, this indie drama stars Ben Affleck as a successful businessman who comes face-to-face with America’s downsizing epidemic when he loses his job and is forced to take a construction gig. See Full Review

Flow: For Love of Water

Documentary 2008 NR 84 minutes. From both local and global perspectives, this documentary examines the harsh realities behind the mounting water crisis. Learn how politics, pollution and human rights are intertwined in this important issue that affects every being on Earth. With water drying up around the world and the future of human lives at stake, the film urges a call to arms before more of our most precious natural resource is controlled by multinational corporations. A petition to add a 31st article to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights would establish access to clean water as a fundamental human right. See Full Review

Marmato

Documentary 2014 NR 1hr27m.  Overwhelmed by a sudden and massive gold rush, the Colombian village of Marmato tries to reckon with plans for a huge pit mine run by foreigners.  Excellent movie about a theft of natural resources, exploitation of native people, and the destruction of cultural heritage of the working class people.  The foreign multinationals are aided by Colombian government officials, who sit on the Boards of Directors for the benefit of the foreign company while harming their own people.   I really enjoyed seeing the commitment and passion for work and family of these hard working men who possess true grit and dignity.  They seem to get stronger as the documentary progresses with a true sense of purpose for keeping their way of life alive after realizing that foreign corporations and local government expect them to just lie down and disappear.  Excellent movie. Very balanced powerful documentary, compelling and moving.  Valuable, important to see.  Must see.

The Yes Men Fix the World

Documentary 2009 NR 87 minutes. Two didactic pranksters known as the Yes Men — Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno — employ monkey business to highlight the political and economic shenanigans surrounding ecological catastrophes like the 1984 Union Carbide disaster in India. See Full Review

Heat

Documentary Frontline 2008 NR 116 minutes. “Frontline” producer Martin Smith investigates the environmental impact of big business. For years, corporations fought against compliance. That all changed when investors, advocacy groups and governments pressured companies into responsibility. But going green isn’t necessarily the norm in developing countries, as Smith reveals in his journey around the world to learn how businesseseverywhere are dealing with the issue.

War, Inc.

Satire 2008 R 1hr 46m. In this outrageous satire, a hit man is paid by a private corporation to masquerade as a trade-show director and take out a Middle East oil minister. But not all goes according to plan when a fetching field reporter throws the assassin off course.

John Perkins: Speaking Freely Vol. 1:

Documentary (2007) NR Author and former economic consultant John Perkins takes aim at himself, confessing his shameful role in helping organizations such as World Bank and the IMF drive poor nations into crippling debt while enriching U.S. corporations. His social conscience awakened, Perkins finally got fed up and quit his job. Now, he runs a successful nonprofit group that works to help indigenous peoples protect and strengthen their environments and cultures. See Full Review

Apology of an Economic Hit Man

Documentary 2008 NR. Stelios Koul records the confessions of author John Perkins in this documentary. Perkins alleges he was part of a clandestine team of economic “hit men” who worked to exploit poor countries in the 1970s on behalf of the United States government. His claims are backed by authentic propaganda films as well as dramatized reenactments of top-secret events he says took place behind a thick veil of secrecy.

Battle in Seattle

Docudrama 2007 R 98 minutes. With the World Trade Organization about to convene in his city, Seattle’s Mayor Jim Tobin (Ray Liotta) tries to make sure all events go smoothly. As tensions between protestors and authorities rise out of control, activists and bystanders get caught in the crossfire. Stuart Townsend weaves a compelling story using the 3 Ps – Police, Protestors and Politicians. Based on the 1999 protest referred to as the “Battle of Seattle,” this drama features Charlize Theron, Woody Harrelson, André Benjamin, Connie Nielsen and Michelle Rodriguez. The stars play characters that are an amalgamation of a number of real people. The mayor of the city is trying to keep things calm, but finds his reasonable and non-violent approach to be ineffectual under the circumstances. With pressure from the governor of Washington State and from the White House, he is subjected to mounting stress to get the matter under control. The one thing that was shown properly was that the Seattle police, in the beginning, was ordered not make any arrests. That changed only when property damage and looting got out of control. If you believe that “peaceful” demonstrations in the streets are the way to get things changed in governments around the world, you will love this one because it’s pretty well done and includes actual footage of the real life melee. I wonder if the people deriding this movie as “liberal propaganda” understand that most of the riot footage was real and not recreated. Everything in this movie seems consistent with the news reports we were receiving and my own observations, and everything was pretty truthful to the photos we have in our album. As one of the protesters said toward the end: “A week ago nobody knew what the WTO was. Hell, they still don’t know what the WTO is — but at least they know it’s bad.”  As to the WTO, all that rioting did nothing to change its course. From an historical perspective, I had no idea these things happened. This is a film to make one think. It is a serious film with a serious message. I was glued from beginning to end and highly recommend it.

Shadow Company

Documentary 2007 NR 86 minutes. Warfare isn’t what it used to be. This fascinating documentary provides a look at the thousands of private contractors who work closely with the military to perform dangerous missions but whose role often goes unnoticed by the public back home. Are they mercenaries — or merely civilians performing military tasks? Filmmakers Nick Bicanic and Jason Bourque explore the myriad impacts of waging a new kind of war with a new kind of soldier.

Ralph Nader: An Unreasonable Man

Documentary 2006 NR 121 minutes. Thought-provoking and revealing, this biographical documentary profiles the personal and professional life of Ralph Nader, one of America’s most controversial consumer advocates and political activists. Interviews and archival footage help illuminate the career of an influential public figure whose willingness to take on big industry earned him a reputation as both a working-class hero and a public pariah.

Big Brother, Big Business

Documentary CNBC Originals 2006 TV- PG 89 minutes. Award-winning correspondent David Faber examines big business and rapid advance of technology that allows companies to monitor our every move and record our most private personal information.

Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers

Documentary 2006 NR 75 minutes. Director Robert Greenwald makes a passionate point — that private contractors are getting rich while others are suffering — in this thought-provoking 2006 documentary about profiteering and the Iraq War. Using whistle-blower testimony, firsthand accounts, financial records and classified documents, Greenwald levels charges of greed, corruption and incompetence against private contractors and shows the effect they have on Americans and Iraqis.

The Tobacco Conspiracy

Documentary 2006 93 min.Tabac, La Conspiration. A history of the tobacco industry’s lies and scams. From the US in 1953 to Africa today, the controversy between individual responsibility and corporate greed is portrayed in a lucid, undaunted manner. From scientific frauds to working with organized crime, tobacco companies show their hidden agenda more clearly than ever in this theatrically released documentary. More than three years of investigating all over the world has allowed Nadia Collot to decipher the attitudes of an industry that, in spite of many prevention campaigns still expands its power at the cost of public health.

Link to watch The Tobacco Conspiracy online free

Thank You for Smoking

Satire 2005 R 91 minutes. On a mission to make the country forget the dangers of smoking, Big Tobacco spin doctor Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart) promotes his product in the movies and hushes those who bad-mouth cigarettes, all the while trying to remain a role model to his young son. Maria Bello, Katie Holmes, Robert Duvall and William H. Macy co-star in Jason Reitman’s razor-sharp satire, which won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay.

Tobacco Wars

Documentary Series three one-hour episodes. Tobacco Wars is a comprehensive history of the cigarette, providing an in-depth, balanced, and often shocking look at the tobacco industry. The series’ three one-hour episodes are organized chronologically, from the advent of the cigarette through its ascension to one of the most profitable consumer products the world has ever seen. Via first person accounts and insider documentation, Tobacco Wars vividly portrays what the companies really knew about the link between smoking and disease, explains how mankind became seduced by such a dangerous product, provides a status report on Big Tobacco today, and looks towards the future of this most controversial of industries.

Link to watch Tobacco Wars Episode 1 online free

Link to watch Tobacco Wars Episode 2 online free

Link to watch Tobacco Wars Episode 3 online free

The Future of Food

Documentary 2004 NR 90 minutes. Before compiling your next grocery list, you might want to watch filmmaker Deborah Koons Garcia’s eye-opening documentary, which sheds light on a shadowy relationship between agriculture, big business and government. By examining the effects of biotechnology on the nation’s smallest farmers, the film reveals the unappetizing truth about genetically modified foods: You could unknowingly be serving them for dinner.See Full Review

Food, Inc.

Documentary 2008 PG 93 minutes. Drawing on two books Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation and Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, director Robert Kenner’s provocative, Oscar-nominated documentary explores the food industry’s detrimental effects on our health and environment. For the already well informed Food, Inc. breaks into no new information. Though a well done and thoroughly researched documentary, they don’t take us too far into the behind-the-scenes food industry so the potential for great impact is sorely missing. It served however as a great reminder to buy local and organic whenever possible, and again puts into light the great disservice we as a nation are doing to the animal kingdom when we continue to purchase meat from meat factories instead of farms or independent butchers. Not an essential documentary for the already knowledgeable, but perhaps an eye opener for the previously unaware.

Sicko

Documentary 2007 PG-13 123 minutes. Michael Moore sets his sights on the plight of the uninsured in this Oscar-nominated documentary that uses Moore’s trademark humor and confrontational style to ask the difficult questions and get to the truth behind the health care crisis. In the world’s richest country, 45 million people have no health insurance, while HMOsgrow in size and wealth. Moore also explores the widespread use of antidepressants and their possible link to violence.

American Jobs

Documentary 2005 NR 62 minutes. Filmmaker Greg Spotts exposes the carnage left behind by companies who choose to outsource their jobs. Moved to action after hearing that 3 million jobs ceased to exist in America between 2000 and 2003, Spotts set out to make this documentary by visiting 19 hard-hit cities across the nation and meeting the men and women who have suffered the after-effects of mass layoffs. The result is a heartbreaking study of the global economy.

Tax Me if You Can

Documentary Frontline 2004. The tax shelter was one of corporate America’s biggest hidden profit centers in recent years. Shelters have become so lucrative that some experts estimate as much as $50 billion is lost to the U.S. Treasury each year. And ordinary taxpayers wind up footing the bill. Frontline correspondent Hedrick Smith provides an inside look at how bigcorporations and wealthy individuals cut their taxes with intricate, hidden, and abusive tax shelters and investigates the role of blue chip accounting firms in these secret deals.

A Dangerous Business

Documentary Frontline 2003. Each year, six thousand Americans lose their lives on the job. Tens of thousands more are seriously injured or exposed to deadly poisons and carcinogens in the workplace. Yet if one of those workers dies on the job due to a company’s willful disregard for federal safety regulations, the maximum penalty his employer faces is just six months in prison. Are America’s workplace safety laws tough enough? And are companiesbeing held responsible for protecting the safety of their employees? Frontline investigates workplace safety in one of America’s most dangerous industries.

Bigger Than Enron

Documentary Frontline 2002. Frontline The meteoric rise and stunning collapse of Enron caused many to question why the watchdog system that was supposed to protect investors failed to sound any alarms about the company’s dubious financial underpinnings. But Enron and its auditor, Arthur Andersen, are the tip of the iceberg. In the late 1990s, Enron was just one of the more than 400 corporations forced to dramatically restate their value because of accounting lapses, failures, or fraud. What went wrong? Through interviews with SEC officials, corporate executives, members of Congress, and investor advocates, Frontline examines an oversight system gone soft and explores how market deregulation and conflicts of interest between accountants and the companies they were auditing eroded the system of controls designed to protect stockholders from investment fraud.

The Century of the Self

Documentary series 2002.   Adam Curtis’ acclaimed series examines the rise of the all-consuming self against the backdrop of the Freud dynasty.  To many in both politics and business, the triumph of the self is the ultimate expression of democracy, where power has finally moved to the people. Certainly the people may feel they are in charge, but are they really? “Century of the Self” tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society in Britain and the United States. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in whose interests?  The Freud dynasty is at the heart of this compelling social history. Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis; Edward Bernays, who invented public relations; Anna Freud, Sigmund’s devoted daughter; and present-day PR guru and Sigmund’s great grandson, Matthew Freud.  Sigmund Freud’s work into the bubbling and murky world of the subconscious changed the world. By introducing a technique to probe the unconscious mind, Freud provided useful tools for understanding the secret desires of the masses. Unwittingly, his work served as the precursor to a world full of political spin doctors, marketing moguls, and society’s belief that the pursuit of satisfaction and happiness is man’s ultimate goal.

Episode One: Happiness Machines,  Season 1 Episode 1,  58 min.

The story of the relationship between Sigmund Freud and his American nephew, Edward Bernays. Bernays invented the public relations profession in the 1920s and was the first person to take Freud’s ideas to manipulate the masses. He called it “engineering consent”.  He showed American corporations how they could make people want things they didn’t need by systematically linking mass-produced goods to their unconscious desires.  Bernays was one of the main architects of the modern techniques of mass-consumer persuasion, using every trick in the book, from celebrity endorsement and outrageous PR stunts, to eroticizing the motorcar. His most notorious coup was breaking the taboo on women smoking by persuading them that cigarettes were a symbol of independence and freedom. But Bernays was convinced that this was more than just a way of selling consumer goods. It was a new political idea of how to control the masses. By satisfying the inner irrational desires that his uncle had identified, people could be made happy and thus docile.  It was the start of the all-consuming self which has come to dominate today’s world.  Since propaganda was helpful in wartime, he believed similar mass persuasion could also be used in peacetime for different purposes.  But the Germans in WWI had given the term “propaganda” a bad name, so Bernays came up with an new term for propaganda: “public relations”.  One of his first clients was the tobacco industry, and his first achievement was a campaign that overcame the taboo against women smoking, and persuaded women to smoke cigarettes in public.  He asked one of the new psychoanalysts what cigarettes mean to women, who said that cigarettes are a symbol of the penis and male sexual power, and if he could find a way to connect cigarettes with the idea of challenging male power, then women would smoke, because then they would have their own penis (as unbelievable as that sounds).  So he arranged for debutantes to smoke during the Easter Parade in NYC, creating scandalous publicity, claiming they were suffragettes lighting up what he called “torches of freedom”.

The Big One

Documentary 1997 PG-13 90 minutes. Another subversive journey from documentarian/provocateur Michael Moore poses this question: At a time when corporationsare posting record profits, why are so many Americans still in danger of losing their jobs? Armed with only a camera, tons of sarcasm and a heartfelt sympathy for the American worker, Moore searches America’s heartland and embarks on a one-man campaign to persuade Fortune 500 companies to reconsider their downsizing decisions. Title of documentary refers to Moore’s suggestion for a better name for the United States of America.

Network

Drama 1976 R 121 minutes. Screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky predicted today’s rash of trash television and shock-driven newscasts with this ahead-of-its-time satire that centers on a network news anchor named Howard Beale (Peter Finch) who loses it on the air. His outrageous rants boost the station’s ratings and intrigue cutthroat network execs Faye Dunaway and Robert Duvall. William Holden contrasts their avarice as an old-school TV journalist who’s hopelessly out of step.When a network news anchor loses his mind on the air, his outrageous rants reach viewers at home, boost the ratings and intrigue a pair of cutthroat network executives in this Oscar-winning masterpiece that predicted today’s rash of trash television. This film is brilliant. So far ahead of its time and still very much relevant today. There is a speech given in the film to the character Howard Beale about how he sees the world as countries and people when really the world is just a college of a few overpowerful corporations. An aging newsanchor decided to break out of the cookie cutter mold that newsanchors are supposed to fit into. Since he is being forced into retirement by the network, what could he possibly lose from speaking his mind on air anyway? Naturally, audiences loved him because he was an “Every Man” kind of newsanchor pushing through all the crap. Just being real and honest with the viewers. it also reveals the truth about international takeover by powerful corporations that control everything. The premise that business is the king, and individuals, governments, and nations are enslaved by the monetary reach of these corporations.

Does America Still Work?

Documentary Frontline 1996. At the height of the Rust Belt primaries, Frontline goes to Wisconsin where presidential candidates tap the deep-seated anxiety and insecurity that fuels tensions between American businesses and their employees. Correspondent Jeff Madrick looks behind the heated political rhetoric to see how companies, workers, and civic leaders are wrestling with global competition and the end of an era of industrial affluence. In a volatile economic climate, what do corporations owe their employees and their communities?

The Efficiency Expert
(Spotswood)

Comedy 1992 PG 1hr 29m.  Tasked with improving the bottom line of a small, old-fashioned moccasin factory, a cutthroat management consultant (Anthony Hopkins) plans to lay off more than half the workers. But as he gets to know the eccentric employees, he begins to have a change of heart. Russell Crowe, Toni Collette and Ben Mendelsohn co-star in this charming comedy set in 1960s Australia.

You Are in the Computer

Documentary Frontline 1985. Investigates computerized information systems and the issues of privacy they raise. You go to rent an apartment and are turned down without any obvious reason. Then you find out your name is in a computer file of undesirable tenants and every other landlord in the city has access to the information.

We are Driven

Documentary Frontline 1984. The industrial might of Japan has taken the U.S. by storm as American corporations begin to adopt the Japanese style of management, stressing worker involvement in a family-like corporate environment. Frontline looks at the darker side of Japanese labor relations through the tough management style of the Nissan Motor Companyin Japan and Smyrna, Tennessee.

IL Posto
(meaning The Job)

Drama 1961 NR 93 minutes. This Italian drama mines the rich possibilities in the life of a recently graduated man who sets out to land a job in Milan. Starting on the bottom rung of the corporate ladder as a messenger in an industrial conglomerate, he still aims for the top. Anybody who has a job should see Il Posto. The workplace is seen through the fresh eyes of a young man as he gets his first job. Much that he sees mystifies him. One old man waiting for the end bell every day actually retired six months ago, but still comes in to the office every day pathetically. Set in the fifties when getting a job meant having the same one for life, providing a life of security but also death-in-life. Older men grown grotesque from sitting for years at desks in rows in windowless bleak offices, waiting to move up when someone dies.

See Also:  FILMS ON SPECIFIC CORPORATIONS

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