A labor union organizer comes to an embattled mining community brutally and violently dominated and harassed by the mining company.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Elma Radnor
...
Danny Radnor
...
...
Sephus Purcell
...
Hickey
...
Tom Griggs
...
C.E. Lively
...
Hillard Elkins
...
Fausto
Nancy Mette ...
Bridey Mae
Jo Henderson ...
Mrs. Elkins
...
Cabell Testerman
Gary McCleery ...
Ludie
Maggie Renzi ...
Rosaria
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Storyline

Mingo County, West Virginia, 1920. Coal miners, struggling to form a union, are up against company operators and the gun thugs of the notorious Baldwin-Felts detective agency. Black and Italian miners, brought in by the company to break the strike, are caught between the two forces. UMWA organizer and dual-card Wobbly Joe Kenehan determines to bring the local, Black, and Italian groups together. While Kenehan and his story are fictional, the setting and the dramatic climax are historical; Sid Hatfield, Cabell C. Testerman, C. E. Lively and the Felts brothers were real-life participants, and 'Few Clothes' is based on a character active several years previously. Written by Susan C. Mitchell <susanm@indirect.com>, expanded by Silverwhistle

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It takes more than guns to kill a man See more »

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

30 June 1988 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Azok a véres napok  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$1,680,358 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first John Sayles film to get Oscar nominated that being for the Best Cinematography Academy Award for Haskell Wexler but the picture did not win for this. See more »

Goofs

The steam locomotive used in "Matewan" was ex-New York, Chicago, and St. Louis Railway ("Nickel Plate Road") #765. It was a modern steam locomotive built in the 1940's and thus would not have existed at the time of the events depicted in "Matewan." See more »

Quotes

[about the owner of the Baldwin-Felts agency:]
Sid Hatfield: I've met Mr. Felts. I wouldn't pee on him if his heart was on fire.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Game On: Martin's Baby (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Soundtrack was available on LP, Columbia, 37.089
Harmonica by John Hammond, Phil Wiggins
Fiddlee by Gerry Milnes, Stuart Schulman
Mandolin by John Curtis, Jim Costa
Guitar by John Curtis, Mason Daring
Dobro by Mason Daring
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great movie about my hometown!
26 February 1999 | by (Kentucky, USA) – See all my reviews

If you are from Matewan, you know the shock of having this movie be about your hometown. I can't help but wonder if James Earl Jones was thinking "Why the hell are we making a movie about this place??" I think the population when I lived there (most of my life) was somewhere around 1200. Probably hasn't grown much. I still keep in contact with a few people from there. My dad owned a bar there called the Silver Dollar, and he worked in the mines at one time, as did my mother and grandfather. I've heard stories of how the real Matewan Massacre went, along with Bloody Mingo and all the rest, and from what I've heard from my family, this movie is pretty close to the truth. Matewan has always been a rough town, and even today fights are commonplace in this little one street town. It's pretty desolate, with no real business, no industry, and the coal mines are almost mined out. The nearest decent place is Williamson (WV) or Pikeville, Kentucky, a small college town. I miss home sometimes, but at least I can watch the movie and be reminded of home. One thing about it... it's an entertaining movie. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did, but then again, I'm biased.


29 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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