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Harlan County U.S.A. (1976)

8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 2,986 users   Metascore: 80/100
Reviews: 36 user | 27 critic | 5 from Metacritic.com

A filmed account of a bitterly violent miner strike.

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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 3 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

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 ...
Himself
Ken Yablonski ...
Himself
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
Edit

Storyline

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 <lewison+@pitt.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 September 1977 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Harlan County U.S.A.  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Connections

Version of Harlan County War (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Trouble Among Yearlings
Instrumental by Country Cookin
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Workin' on a Contract
4 March 2007 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Harlan County USA (1976) ****

I used to consider Gates of Heaven and Harlan County USA as in deadlock for the best documentary ever made, but upon watching Harlan County USA again and all the extras available on the Criterion DVD, I have no choice but to move it into the sole number One position. The sense of dread and danger of Harlan County USA elevates it to a whole new level, making it perhaps the most watchable documentary ever made as well - its tense subject matter and the incredible footage captured by Kopple and her crew make it play as a feature film. Kopple's intimate participatory style makes the film even more poignant. The film crew was there with the strikers, amidst the bullets and beatings, at one point being singled out for attack and were beaten by the mining company militants. That they were there meant that they got some absolutely incredible footage, such as the scene described above, and when they catch the main strike breaker pointing his gun at them on film.

Harlan County USA is also an important social document, now housed in the national film registry for preservation. Scenes such as children being washed in buckets, in the 1970s, in the "beacon of freedom and democracy" The United States of America, really get beyond the rhetoric and show how the government and the big business agenda often trumps the rights of workers - its about maximizing profits not lives.

4/4


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