8.3/10
3,548
41 user 28 critic

Harlan County U.S.A. (1976)

A filmed account of a bitterly violent miner strike.

Director:

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 8 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
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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:

Eparhia Harlan I.P.A.  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »
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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 »


Soundtracks

Which Side Are You On
Written and Sung by Florence Reece (as Florence Reese)
Additional lyrics by Joshua Waletzky (as Josh Waletzky)
See more »

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User Reviews

Awesome Documentary
8 August 2006 | by (Morristown, TN) – See all my reviews

Thank you Ms. Kopple for your courage and resolve to show the world the struggle of a brave group of men and women who were willing to lay down their lives for what they believed. I am an ex-coal miner from Harlan County and I remember the Brookside strike vividly. You portrayed the sorrow and joy of these courageous families. When I was watching the documentary I was shocked to see a portion where union miners were at the bridge attempting to stop the scabs from crossing the bridge and going to work. I was one of those men who wanted to stand with their union brothers against the tyranny of the coal operators. This was the only time I was arrested in my entire life but the union organizer made sure we never spent one second behind bars. This gripping documentary brings back wonderful memories of a time in my life when I joined myself to a group of people I didn't know for a common cause. There is something refreshing about fighting for what you dearly believe in and you brought the struggle of many to light for the whole world to see. I only wish you had your camera with me when the state troopers roughed me up before putting me in the back seat of one of the cruisers. At this point I feared for my life because all of my union brothers were at the bridge and I was surrounded by scabs waiting for the bridge to clear so they could go to work. All previous comments were very touching to read from one who lived during those days and was involved almost daily manning the picket line for our union brothers. Peace!


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