Films on Protest

See also:

FILMS ON PROTESTS WORLDWIDE

FILMS ON CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE

MAKERS: Women Who Make America

Documentary 2013. Documentary that tells the story of how women have shaped the United States over the last 50 years through political and personal empowerment. This tells the remarkable story of the most sweeping social revolution in American history, as women have asserted their rights to a full and fair share of political power, economic opportunity, and personal autonomy. It’s a revolution that has unfolded in public and private, in courts and Congress, in the boardroom and the bedroom, changing not only what the world expects from women, but what women expect from themselves. MAKERS brings this story to life with priceless archival treasures and poignant, often funny interviews with those who led the fight, those who opposed it, and those first generations to benefit from its success. Trailblazing women like Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey share their memories, as do countless women who challenged the status quo in industries from coal-mining to medicine. Makers captures with music, humor, and the voices of the women who lived through these turbulent times the dizzying joy, aching frustration and ultimate triumph of a movement that turned America upside-down. See Full Review

A Fierce Green Fire

Documentary 2012 NR 101 minutes. This engaging documentary profiles the evolution of environmental movements over the past five decades, from early efforts at conservation and protests against pollution to the radical tactics of Greenpeace and concerns over global climate change. It has five parts covering the history of environmentalism, from saving the Grand Canyon to Greenpeace to global warming. This was all very interesting and well done. The presentation is very well organized. I watch a lot of documentaries; this is one of the best I’ve seen.

Earth Days

Documentary American Experience 2009 NR 102 minutes. Robert Stone’s absorbing documentary revisits that April day in 1970 when 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day, a far-reaching call to action that helped to forge the modern environmental movement. Amazing archival footage combines with in-depth profiles of nine key players in the movement to chart the growth of the public’s understanding of the environmental crisis. The film premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

Berkeley in the Sixties

Documentary 1990 NR 117 minutes. University of California, Berkeley, alumni recount how their quiet school became the epicenter of 1960s campus activism, starting with the free speech movement and evolving into organized opposition to the Vietnam War. The students also championed civil rights, the women’s movement and the Black Panther party. Archival footage is interwoven with present-day interviews and songs by the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez and Jefferson Airplane.

The War at Home

Documentary 1979 UR 100 minutes.  Documentarians Barry Alexander Brown and Glenn Silber vividly chronicle the Vietnam War protest movement of the 1960s and ’70s at the University of Wisconsin in a film that incorporates rare raw footage. The overall effect is an incisive depiction of how anti-war acrimony in the United States spread from committed activists to fraternity row on college campuses to the business community at large.

The Camden 28

Documentary 2007 NR 1hr 22m. This stirring documentary recounts the trial of 28 Vietnam War opponents who broke into a New Jersey draft board office in 1971. The goal of the group was to make a bold statement in opposition to the war in Vietnam by way of sabotaging the portion of the draft process that was administered through the local draft board in Camden. Their plan was to break into the draft board offices at night and search for, collect, and either destroy or remove the records of all Class 1-A status draft registrants. It was to be both a symbolic and real blow to the process through which tens of thousands of young American men were being drafted and sent to fight in Vietnam.
See Full Review

Howard Zinn
You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train

Documentary 2004 NR 78 minutes. Matt Damon narrates this documentary chronicling Howard Zinn’s commitment to social change through archival materials, commentary from Zinn and interviews with contemporaries Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, Tom Hayden and Alice Walker, among others. See Full Review

We Are Legion:
The Story of the Hacktivists

Documentary 2012 NR 97 minutes. This documentary explores the world of Anonymous, the radical “hacktivist” collective that has redefined civil disobedience for the digital age. Through interviews with members, academics and activists, the film traces the evolution of the movement.

Better This World

Documentary 2011 NR 1hr 29m. At the 2008 Republican National Convention, friends David McKay and Bradley Crowder went from bandanna-wearing protesters to federal terrorism suspects. This searing documentary aims to separate the rhetoric from the facts in the polarizing case. See Full Review

Koch Brothers Exposed

Documentary 2012 NR 1hr. Koch Brothers Exposed reveals that the Koch Brothers have launched a large network attacking American values — from their environmental pollution, to their efforts to dismantle social security for working Americans. This revealing film investigates the richest 1% in America at its very worst — the Koch brothers’ racist, and anti-environmental, and anti-middle class politics. The Koch brothers’ net worth tops $50 billion, and they pledged to spend $60 million to defeat President Barack Obama in 2012. See Full Review

Citizen Koch

Documentary 2013 NR 1hr25m. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s landmark Citizens United decision, this film explores the mounting struggle between money and American democracy.

Dirty Business
“Clean Coal” and the Battle for Our Energy Future

Documentary Center for Investigative Reporting, 2010 88 min. Dirty Business is the best and most comprehensive look at global dependence on coal, and explores some promising alternatives. The film by Peter Bull is built around the work of Jeff Goodell, who wrote the important book Big Coal. Goodell begins with the devastating impact of coal mining in Appalachia. He remembers when he first saw the impact of mountaintop removal mining: “It was like the first time you look into a slaughterhouse after you’ve spent a lifetime of eating hamburgers.” The film travels to Mesquite, Nev., where residents are fighting a coal-fired plant, and also to China to explore the health impact of coal there—an important piece of the story not included in any of the other films reviewed here. The film’s strength is its exploration of alternatives to coal—wind, solar thermal, increased energy efficiency through recycling “waste heat”—which makes this a valuable resource for science as well as social studies classes. The treatment of carbon dioxide sequestration may confuse students; the film simultaneously suggests that this is a terrible idea in North America but a good one in China. But, on the whole, Dirty Business is a fine and lively overview of a complicated issue.

The Billionaires’ Tea Party

Documentary 2010 NR 54 m. Filmmaker Taki Oldham imbeds himself in the Tea Party groups Americans for Prosperity and Freedomworks, revealing how corporations and the Koch Brothers engineered these fake grassroots called “Astroturf” organizations designed to look like organic grassroots movements.

Bidder 70

Documentary 2012 NR 73 minutes. This documentary relates the saga of Tim DeChristopher, who brazenly bid $1.7 million to win 12 land parcels at a federal oil lease auction. With no intention of paying — and determined to protect the land — the activist begins a long legal battle.

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

Jane’s Journey

Docudrama 2010 NR 1hr 46m. This inspiring biopic relates the lifelong crusade of chimp researcher Jane Goodall, moving from England to the Tanzanian jungle where her work began. Nearly half a century later, Goodall continues to visit the animals that ignited her passion.

The End of America

Lecture 2008 NR 74 minutes. Based on Naomi Wolf’s sobering best-seller, this documentary examines post-9/11 American freedom. Filmmakers Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern present evidence that our society’s liberty has been systematically eroded under the Bush administration. Their examples parallel the loss of liberty experienced in other countries as their governments tumbled into fascism, and draw chilling connections between what’s already happened and what is yet to come.

Gore Vidal:
The United States of Amnesia

Documentary 2013 NR 1hr29m. With interviews and footage from his television appearances, this documentary chronicles the life and career of outspoken writer Gore Vidal. I was elated to see him talking about unpopular topics like class struggle decades before Occupy Wall Street, exchanges with William F. Buckley in debates that today would cause Meet the Press cameras to melt. This is a well made overview of the highlights of his career. With the benefit of hindsight, Vidal is proven more prescient with each passing year. As soon as I was finished watching it, I watched it again the next day, fascinating!! I think he is basically correct about this country, and the truth hurts. He was a great disinfectant. I cannot recommend it enough!

Semper Fi: Always Faithful

Documentary 2011 NR 76 minutes. This wrenching documentary follows Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger, who lost his daughter to a rare leukemia, as he reveals how the Marine Corps has betrayed its soldiers and their families by exposing them to toxic water at a base in North Carolina.

If a Tree Falls
A Story of the Earth Liberation Front

Documentary 2011 NR 85 minutes. Filmmakers Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman examine the case of Daniel McGowan, a member of the radical environmental group Earth Liberation Front who was arrested for committing arson against two Oregon timber companies.

Fair Game

Docudrama 2010 PG-13 108 minutes. After her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson (Sean Penn), writes op-ed columns accusing the Bush administration of misleading the public to justify invading Iraq, Valerie Plame Wilson’s (Naomi Watts) status as a covert CIA agent is leaked by administration officials. Based on events described in Plame Wilson’s memoir, this drama explores the political scandal that led to the conviction of Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

Shut Up & Sing

Documentary 2006 R 93 minutes. This film centers on country music’s The Dixie Chicks and their nationwide vilification over an off-hand critical comment one of them made in London in 2003 about President George W. Bush on the eve of the Iraq war. See Full Review

The Last Mountain

Documentary 2011 PG 1hr 35m. This gripping documentary follows ordinary citizens in West Virginia’s Coal River Valley as they wage a campaign to prevent the infamous Massey Energy Company from expanding ruinous mountaintop removal mining operations in their community.See Full Review

Deep Down

Documentary Independent Lens 2010 PG 58 minutes. This episode of the Emmy-winning public television series spotlights the controversy raging in the hamlet of Maytown, Ky., where residents find themselves deeply divided over a powerful coal company’s plans to expand operations in their town. While some citizens desperately need the financial windfall that new mining would bring, others rally their neighbors to protect the homes and community that the mine would destroy.

Split Estate

Documentary 2009 NR 1hr 16m. The struggle between preserving public health and public treasures and satisfying the economy’s never-ending hunger for new energy sources is played out in the scenic landscape of Garfield County, Colo. Narrated by Ali MacGraw, the film details the oil and natural gas industry’s legacy of environmental damage and pollution in Colorado and elsewhere, as well as residents’ battle to protect their health and their clean water supplies.

The People Speak

Docudrama 2009 TV-PG 106 minutes. Inspired by historian Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States,” a slate of top performers takes the stage to recreate the voices of American history’s most eloquent dissenters, many of whom are excluded from traditional history books. The words of slaves, authors, politicians, poets, protesters and others come to life, courtesy of a cast that includes Don Cheadle, Sean Penn, Sandra Oh, Marisa Tomei, Benjamin Bratt and many more.

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 Corporation disaster in India. They pose as spokesman for the Dow Corporation (which took over Union Carbide) and go on live TV apologizing for their role in the incident and pledging to fix the wrong. In this film, the Yes Men go after a collection of corporations who have injured the world in one way or another. They go into corporate meetings and conventions posing as heads of business to expose how greed and instant stock satisfaction destroys lives. They also pose as representatives of HUD at a meeting in New Orleans about destroying existing public housing after Hurricane Katrina. They also help put out a “special edition of the New York Times” featuring “All the News You Would Like Printed”. They also propose a new fuel after oil runs out. 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

Bottled Life

Documentary 2013 NR 1hr29m. Journalist Res Gehriger investigates how Swiss-based corporation Nestlé has plundered the world’s water resources in the name of big business. I can’t say that this documentary was anywhere as good as either “Flow: For Love of Water” or “Tapped”, both of which are available here, so see ‘Flow’ and ‘Tapped’ first. But for the uninitiated, there is still some good information here. (This documentary is mainly good for completionists.) There’s lots of info online about this.

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.

The Yes Men

Documentary 2003 R 83 minutes. This humorous documentary monitors the exploits of a group of jokester liberals who make names for themselves as they mimic members of the World Trade Organization at various venues across the globe. The absurd facade gets started when two members of The Yes Men create a web site that looks quite similar to the WTO site, resulting in the group being invited to high-level meetings and being mistaken for WTO officials.

Granny D Goes to Washington

Documentary 2007 NR 26m. An 89-year-old idealist walks across the United States to demand that lawmakers reduce the role of special interest money in politics, focusing on campaign finance reform. This film is very inspiring…to see that someone cared enough about the United States and its people to walk across the country at the age of 89 putting her life at risk. The journey would be challenging to even the fittest of athletes yet Granny-D let the importance of her cause inspire her to keep moving in spite of her collapse in the heat of the desert. Campaign contributions are a bain to true democracy. Soft money contributions by corporations were undermining the ability of the people to self-govern. This film illustrates the power of one…one who has the determination to make a difference. Starting on January 1, 1999, she walked over 3,200 miles (5,100 km) across the continental United States to advocate for campaign finance reform. Haddock’s walk across the country followed a southern route and took more than a year to complete, starting on January 1, 1999, in southern California and ending in Washington, D.C., on February 29, 2000. She influenced people all across the U.S. as she walked, and when she arrived in Washington D.C. prominent politicians like John McCain were eager to talk with her and proud to see an American with such love for her country and the democratic process. Such acts are what the U.S. has been built upon. In 2004, she ran unsuccessfully as a Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican Judd Gregg for the U.S. Senate. But in 2010 the Citizens United decision overturned the McCain-Feingold reform barring soft money. What a tragedy to see all your hard work over the last decade overturned in an instant. While Granny-D was successful in influencing campaign finance reform laws, in 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court changed the laws in favor of soft money proponents by giving corporations the ability to spend unlimited funds in our elections. The case: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions. This action opened the flood gates and bad money is now buying influence with our members of Congress. Sadly, this law was passed January 21, 2010, almost 100 years to the day from Granny-D’s birth. Granny-D died March 9, 2010 — about 6 weeks after the Supreme Court decision at the age of 100 in Dublin, New Hampshire. The founders of the U.S. had the same enthusiasm, fortitude and dedication. Granny-D — hope you are proud, wherever you may be. Thank you!!

Howard Zinn
Voices of a People’s History of the USA

Docudrama 2006 NR 120 minutes. An impressive roster of celebrities — including Lili Taylor, Paul Robeson, Sarah Jones, Brian Jones, John Sayles and Wallace Shawn — lend their voices to this performance of readings inspired by Howard Zinn’s best-selling book. Segments bring to life Tecumseh’s speech to the Osages, Frederick Douglass’s thoughts about July 4 and Paul Robeson’s Unread Statement before the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

Fahrenheit 9/11

Documentary 2004 R 122 minutes. Michael Moore’s hard-hitting documentary addresses the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, outlining the reasons the United States (and, in turn, thousands of innocent Americans) became a target for hatred and terrorism. The film not only criticizes President George W. Bush’s response to the attacks but also reinforces Moore’s theory that the Bush Administration used the tragic event to push its own political agenda.See Full Review

This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Documentary 2000 NR 68 minutes. Narrated by Susan Sarandon and Michael Franti, this powerful documentary recounts the story of more than 100 activists who gathered to promote economic justice and turned cameras on police during the 1999 World Trade Organization summit in Seattle. During a days-long massive demonstration, violent clashes with the cops were broadcast by news outlets around the world as the protestors shut down the WTO.

Rebel Without a Pause
Noam Chomsky

Documentary 2003 NR 75 minutes. MIT professor and respected political analyst Noam Chomsky speaks his mind on sober issues including the U.S. war on terrorism, anti-American sentiment, media manipulation, the after-effects of 9/11, and social activism at high-profile gatherings. The film also features interviews with his wife, activists, fans and critics, and examines the truths and myths surrounding the anti-capitalist and longtime advocate of liberty and justice.

Deconstructing Supper

Documentary 2002 NR 47m. On a personal quest to understand our food choices, acclaimed chef John Bishop travels around the world exploring where genetically modified crops come from, whether they may be harmful and what alternative options currently exist. Through interviews with farmers, scientists and activists, this thought-provoking documentary offers substantial insight into the nuts and bolts of global food.

Incident at Oglala
The Leonard Peltier Story

Documentary 1992 PG. Narrated by Robert Redford, this provocative documentary chronicles the controversial events surrounding the shooting of two FBI agents on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation in 1975, resulting in the conviction of Sioux activist Leonard Peltier. Featuring reenactments and interviews with key players in the incident, the film offers evidence that the government’s prosecution of Peltier was unjust and politically motivated.

American Dream

Documentary 1990 PG-13 102 minutes. Documentarian Barbara Kopple weighs in with an unsettling account of the months-long strike of employees at the Hormel meatpacking plant, juxtaposed against the Reagan administration’s demolition of the nation’s air traffic controllers’ union. In Austin, Minn., in 1984, Hormel strikers found themselves picketing during the worst climate for organized labor since the 19th century. Kopple won an Oscar for Best Documentary in 1991.

A Matter of Sex
(The Willmar 8)

Docudrama 1984 TV-14 1hr36m. After watching male workers pad their salaries with high-paying promotions, disgruntled female bank tellers stage a protest for union rights. A Matter of Sex is a labor-management drama that demonstrates the blinkered sexism and routine chauvinism in a small-town Minnesota bank in the late 1970s. It is so sad that women, just 30 years ago, were met with such discrimination in the workplace. This should be a must see movie for all.  See Full Review

Lois Gibbs and the Love Canal

Docudrama 1982 TV-14 96 minutes. Marsha Mason stars in this inspirational made-for-TV movie as mother turned activist Lois Gibbs, who refused to keep quiet when she suspected that chemical waste was poisoning her children — and scores of others in Love Canal, N.Y. What begins as a one-woman crusade to get the government to take responsibility for their suffering mushrooms into a 700-strong community battle for accountability, justice and truth.

Ghandi

Docudrama 1982 PG 190 minutes.  This awe-inspiring biopic about Mahatma Gandhi — the diminutive lawyer who stood up against British rule in India and became an international symbol of nonviolence and understanding — brilliantly underscores the difference one person can make.

Norma Rae

Docudrama 1979 PG 118 minutes. In an Oscar-winning performance, Sally Field is unforgettable as Norma Rae Webster, the real-life Southern millworker who revolutionizes a small town and discovers a power within herself that she never knew she had. Under the guidance of a New York unionizer (Ron Leibman) and with increasing courage and determination, Norma Rae organizes her fellow factory workers to fight for better conditions and wages. Beau Bridges co-stars.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Drama 1975 R 129 minutes. While serving time for insanity at a state mental hospital, implacable rabble-rouser Randle Patrick McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) inspires his fellow patients to rebel against the authoritarian rule of head nurse Mildred Ratched (Louise Fletcher). This Milos Forman masterpiece was the first film since It Happened One Night (1934) to take all five major Oscar prizes for picture, director, screenplay, actor (Nicholson) and actress (Fletcher).

Ralph Nader
An Unreasonable Man

Documentary 2006 NR 2hr 2m. 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, beginning with General Motors, earned him a reputation as both a hero of the working class, and eventually as a public pariah after the 2000 presidential election. See Full Review

Paul Goodman Changed My Life

Documentary 2011 NR 1hr 29m. This documentary explores the little-known life of best-selling author Paul Goodman, “the most influential man you’ve never heard of.” He may not be widely recognized by name, but his book Growing Up Absurd became the bible of the New Left.

Earth Days

Documentary American Experience 2009 NR 102 minutes. Robert Stone’s absorbing documentary revisits that April day in 1970 when 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day, a far-reaching call to action that helped to forge the modern environmental movement. Amazing archival footage combines with in-depth profiles of nine key players in the movement to chart the growth of the public’s understanding of the environmental crisis. The film premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

The U.S. vs. John Lennon

Documentary 2006 PG-13 Rated PG-13 96 mins. David Leaf’s provocative documentary — produced in collaboration with Yoko Ono — examines John Lennon’s growing involvement in antiwar efforts from 1966 to 1976 and the U.S. government’s attempts to silence him.

Berkeley in the Sixties

Documentary 1990 NR 117 minutes. University of California, Berkeley, alumni recount how their quiet school became the epicenter of 1960s campus activism, starting with the free speech movement and evolving into organized opposition to the Vietnam War. The students also championed civil rights, the women’s movement and the Black Panther party. Archival footage is interwoven with present-day interviews and songs by the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez and Jefferson Airplane.

Two Days in October

Documentary American Experience 2005 NR 90 minutes. In October 1967, a U.S. regiment walked into a Vietcong ambush that killed 61 soldiers — and raised doubts about whether the war was winnable. Meanwhile, University of Wisconsin students protested the presence of Dow Chemical recruiters on campus. The demonstration soon spun out of control, marking the first time a protest became violent. Told by those who took part in the events, the film offers a window into a defining American moment.

The War at Home

Documentary 1979 UR 100 minutes.  Documentarians Barry Alexander Brown and Glenn Silber vividly chronicle the Vietnam War protest movement of the 1960s and ’70s at the University of Wisconsin in a film that incorporates rare raw footage. The overall effect is an incisive depiction of how anti-war acrimony in the United States spread from committed activists to fraternity row on college campuses to the business community at large.

Sir! No Sir!

Documentary 2005 NR 84 minutes. Filmmaker and activist David Zeiger’s documentary chronicles the largely forgotten antiwar activities of American GIs and other members of the military during the Vietnam era — actions that put them in greater peril than civilian protesters. Powerful and surprising, the film weaves together the stories of veterans who participated in the opposition movement, an effort that, by the early 1970s, found widespread support from civilians and troops alike.

Greenwich Village:
Music That Defined a Generation

Documentary 2012 NR 1hr 32m. This documentary blends interviews and archival footage to profile the folk music legends who transformed the New York neighborhood in the 1960s.

PROTESTS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

I Have a Dream
Martin Luther King

Documentary (2005) NR. In August 1963, against the iconic backdrop of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., Martin Luther King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech and transformed the civil rights movement in America. The eloquence and poeticism of the speech still echoes down through the generations, as reflected in this disc. A few years later, King (who had predicted his own martyrdom in the speech) was slain on a motel balcony in Memphis, Tenn.

Freedom Riders

Documentary, American Experience 2009 NR 111 minutes. Based on the award-winning book Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice, this documentary chronicles the daring and courage activists, black and white, who rode on interstate bus lines through the Southern states to challenge their segregation laws. Directed by Stanley Nelson (The Murder of Emmett Till), the film focuses on how the civil rights campaign was conceived, and how the movement eventually became a major concern for the Kennedy administration. See Full Review

Get on the Bus

Documentary 1996 R 121 minutes. A father and son, chained together by court order. A black historian. A cop. A former gangbanger. These are some of the souls who rode the bus from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., to attend the Million Man March in 1995. Released on the one-year anniversary of the controversial gathering, director Spike Lee’s stirring narrative examines the delicate threads of racism that permeate African-American culture.

PROTEST VIETNAM WAR

The War at Home

Documentary 1979 UR 100 minutes.  Documentarians Barry Alexander Brown and Glenn Silber vividly chronicle the Vietnam War protest movement of the 1960s and ’70s in a film that incorporates rare raw footage. The overall effect is an incisive depiction of how anti-war acrimony in the United States spread from committed activists to fraternity row on college campuses to the business community at large.

Chicago 10

Documentary 2007 R 90 minutes. Blending archival footage with modern animation, this documentary examines the massive protests besetting the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention, and the courtroom trial of several activists and participants in the aftermath. Among those featured are Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, who were charged with inciting a riot. Mark Ruffalo, Hank Azaria and Nick Nolte provide voice-over work, and the soundtrack features Rage Against the Machine and Eminem.

Two Days in October

Documentary American Experience 2005 NR 90 minutes. In October 1967, a U.S. regiment walked into a Vietcong ambush that killed 61 soldiers — and raised doubts about whether the war was winnable. Meanwhile, University of Wisconsin students protested the presence of Dow Chemical recruiters on campus. The demonstration soon spun out of control, marking the first time a protest became violent. Told by those who took part in the events, the film offers a window into a defining American moment.

Born on the Fourth of July

Docudrama 1989 R 145 minutes. Tom Cruise stars in an Oscar-nominated turn as U.S. Marine Ron Kovic, who returns home from the Vietnam War paralyzed from the chest down. After months of hellish rehabilitation, he finds renewed purpose PROTESTING the war he once proudly fought. The film — based on Kovic’s autobiography of the same name — earned Oliver Stone an Academy Award for Best Director, and also stars Kyra Sedgwick, Tom Berenger and Frank Whaley.

OTHER PROTESTS

Walkout

Docudrama 2006 TV-14 110 minutes. Based on a true story, this made-for-cable drama set in East Los Angeles chronicles a March 1968 Latino student protest that was sparked by injustices and racial prejudice in the public school system. Led by devoted teacher Sal Castro (Michael Peña) and honor student Paula Crisostomo (Alexa Vega), the kids stage a walkout at five barrio schools to draw attention to their plight. But the peaceful rally gets out of hand when the cops overreact.

The Weather Underground

Documentary 2002 UR 92 minutes. This sobering documentary about the Weather Underground chronicles the global trend of revolution. The Weathermen didn’t just march or sit in: They rioted and bombed — not to change the American political scene but rather to destroy it.

Rebels with a Cause

Documentary 2000 NR 109 minutes. Using news clips, archival footage and recently conducted interviews to put it all in context, director Helen Garvey spins a fascinating documentary about the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the passionate, often contentious but deeply committed activist group that blazed its way through the issues of the day (Vietnam, in particular) in the 1960s. Interviewees include former senator Tom Hayden, Todd Gitlin and Bernardine Dohrn.

Network

Drama 1976 R 121 minutes. 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 over-powerful corporations. An aging news anchor decided to break out of the cookie cutter mold that news anchors 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 news anchor 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.

Norma Rae

Docudrama 1979 PG 118 minutes. In an Oscar-winning performance, Sally Field is unforgettable as Norma Rae Webster, the real-life Southern millworker who revolutionizes a small town and discovers a power within herself that she never knew she had. Under the guidance of a New York unionizer (Ron Leibman) and with increasing courage and determination, Norma Rae organizes her fellow factory workers to fight for better conditions and wages. Beau Bridges co-stars.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Drama 1975 R 129 minutes. While serving time for insanity at a state mental hospital, implacable rabble-rouser Randle Patrick McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) inspires his fellow patients to rebel against the authoritarian rule of head nurse Mildred Ratched (Louise Fletcher). This Milos Forman masterpiece was the first film since It Happened One Night (1934) to take all five major Oscar prizes for picture, director, screenplay, actor (Nicholson) and actress (Fletcher).

The Caine Mutiny

Drama 1954 NR 125 minutes. Captain Queeg: madman or misunderstood taskmaster? That’s the dilemma facing the first officer (Van Johnson) of the U.S.S. Caine when its stern new captain (Humphrey Bogart) drives the crew to the brink of mutiny. Part sea-going adventure, part courtroom drama, The Caine Mutiny is a tale that manages to be both thrilling and thought-provoking. Bogart shines in one of his last roles.

PROTEST:1930s

The Wobblies

Documentary 1979 NR 90 minutes. This fascinating documentary explores the group that won an eight-hour workday and fair wages in the early 20th century. Founded in 1905, the Industrial Workers of the World, aka the Wobblies, changed the course of history as they attempted to organize unskilled workers into one overarching union. Replete with striking archival footage, the film pays tribute to American workers who put their lives on the line to battle rampant corporate greed.

 PROTEST: AMERICAN REVOLUTION

Liberty! The American Revolution

Documentary Series 2004 NR 3 discs. This PBS production showcases the events that led up to the American War for Independence, in comprehensive and sequential order. No stone is left unturned, as everything from the Boston Tea Party to the approval of the U.S. Constitution is explored. The documentary combines narration, reenactments of events, interviews with academics and historians, actors’ dramatic readings of letters and diaries written at the time and much more.

The American Revolution Prepares

Docudrama You Are There 1953 NR 50 minutes. Renowned newsman Walter Cronkite’s stentorian pronouncement “You are there” — an armchair witness to history’s greatest moments — greeted viewers of this popular television series that aired from 1953-1957. Hosted by the likes of Charles Collingwood and Mike Wallace, the show investigated key historical events as though they were breaking news. This chapter spotlights the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party.

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FILMS ON PROTESTS WORLDWIDE

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