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The Weavers: Wasn't That a Time (1981)

Documentary about the blacklisted folk group, "The Weavers," and the events leading up to their triumphant return to Carnegie Hall.



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Credited cast:
Ronnie Gilbert ...
Lee Hays ...
Himself - Narrator
Fred Hellerman ...
Harold Leventhal ...
Himself (Weavers manager)
Don McLean ...
Holly Near ...
Harry Reasoner ...
Mary Allin Travers ...
Herself (as Mary Travers)


Documentary about the blacklisted folk group, "The Weavers," and the events leading up to their triumphant return to Carnegie Hall.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


We felt that if we sang loud enough and strong enough and hopefully enough, somehow it would make a difference.


Documentary | Music


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

7 March 1982 (USA)  »

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Referenced in A Mighty Wind (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

A documentary to bring tears to the eyes of an old leftie
19 June 2000 | by (Philadelphia, PA) – See all my reviews

When this movie was released in 1982, I was living in Dallas, Texas - not exactly a hotbed of radicalism. I hopped on my bicycle and pedaled to a Tuesday matinee performance at one of the many multiplexes then springing up around the country. I bought my ticket, soda, and popcorn, then settled down for the 1:30 pm show. The time passed -- nothing happened. At 1:45 I went back to the lobby and asked when "Wasn't That a Time" was supposed to start. The manager's response was priceless - "I'm sorry, sir, I didn't realize there was anyone in that theatre. I'll start it right away." Thus, my first viewing was a private showing in a 200-seat theatre. When home-video became popular, this was one of the first tapes I bought, and I still have it. For old folkies / lefties, you need no persuasion - after all, it's The Weavers. If you're fascinated by the McCarthy Era, this is a "light-hearted" documentary about blacklisting in the entertainment industry. If you wonder how this little documentary has scored so high among its few viewers, then search around for a copy. You will be thoroughly entertained by four people who obviously love what they are doing

  • lifting their voices in song and spreading their message of tolerance

throughout mankind. Lee Hays - the brains behind the group and behind the movie - certainly knew he was dying as he assembled his cohorts for one last get-together at his farm, which turned into an incredible reunion at Carnegie Hall. The voices may waiver, but the emotions are more powerful than ever. Ronnie Gilbert's duet with Holly Near about "The Disappeared" in Chile ("Hay Una Mujer") will raise the hair on the back of your neck. Pete Seeger and Fred Hellerman never sounded better. All of the voices belting out the title tune during rehearsal even surprise the singers - there's a sudden silence when they finish like they can't believe what they've just sung. And if these 'modern' versions of "Good Night, Irene" and "If I Had a Hammer" don't get you singing along, you haven't a musical molecule in your body. I give highest praise to this movie. It's a classic to be shared with friends and family alike. For people who say "I just don't like documentaries," this will change their minds.

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