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Harlan County U.S.A. (1976)

PG  |   |  Documentary  |  28 September 1977 (France)
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 3,310 users   Metascore: 80/100
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A filmed account of a bitterly violent miner strike.


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Airs Thu. Oct. 15, 9:30 PM on TCM


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Title: Harlan County U.S.A. (1976)

Harlan County U.S.A. (1976) on IMDb 8.3/10

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Norman Yarborough ...
Himself - Eastover Mining President
Houston Elmore ...
Himself - UMW organizer
Phil Sparks ...
Himself - UMW staff
John Corcoran ...
Himself - Consolidated Coal President
John O'Leary ...
Himself - former Bureau of Mines director
Donald Rasmussen ...
Himself - Blackwing Clinic, WV (as Dr. Donald Rasmussen)
Hawley Wells Jr. ...
Himself (as Dr. Hawley Wells Jr.)
Tom Williams ...
Himself - Boyle campaigner
Chip Yablonski ...
Ken Yablonski ...
Logan Patterson ...
Himself - negotiator
Harry Patrick ...
Himself - UMW secretary-treasurer
Mike Trbovich ...
Himself - UMW VP
Bernie Aronson ...
Himself - UMW staff
Guy Farmer ...
Himself - BCPA General Counsel


This film documents the coal miners' strike against the Brookside Mine of the Eastover Mining Company in Harlan County, Kentucky in June, 1973. Eastovers refusal to sign a contract (when the miners joined with the United Mine Workers of America) led to the strike, which lasted more than a year and included violent battles between gun-toting company thugs/scabs and the picketing miners and their supportive women-folk. Director Barbara Kopple puts the strike into perspective by giving us some background on the historical plight of the miners and some history of the UMWA. Written by Martin Lewison <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

28 September 1977 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Eparhia Harlan I.P.A.  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


When filming began, the film was intended to be about the 1972 campaign by Arnold Miller and Miners For Democracy to unseat UMWA president Tony Boyle, in the aftermath of Joseph Yablonski's murder; but the Harlan County strike began and caused the filmmakers to change their principal subject, with the campaign and murder becoming secondary subjects. See more »


Version of Harlan County War (2000) See more »


They Can Never Keep Us Down
Written and Sung by Hazel Dickens
Accompanied by Lamar Grier, John Katarakis, John Otsuka, and Gary Henderson
See more »

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User Reviews

Gritty and real.
14 December 2002 | by (Chattanooga, TN) – See all my reviews

Harlan County USA might surprise viewers that even in the 1970s, large communities existed without indoor plumbing. This documentary is disturbing in that even during the late 20th century, conditions like the one in the movie still existed. Viewers experience many different things as the documentary unfolds; the dangers and pains of working in a coal mine, the corruption of unions and their non-union opposition, and the mind set of American laborers. Harlan County USA is a great documentary and not to be missed by those interested in American labor and the coal mining industry.

23 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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