7.9/10
6,089
54 user 22 critic

Matewan (1987)

PG-13 | | Drama, History | 30 June 1988 (Australia)
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

In reality, the identity of the Baldwin-Felts spy in the community (who was indeed the character identified in the film) was not revealed until the trial which followed the battle. 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 While We're Young (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

HILLS OF GALILEE
Sung by Hazel Dickens
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User Reviews

 
Powerful presentation of the struggle for human dignity and equity.
3 March 2005 | by (San Diego, California, USA) – See all my reviews

This is a powerful film depicting both the conditions under which most mineworkers labored and the social conditions existing in the 1920-1930 era of our American history. It accurately portrays the manner in which powerful industrial interests manipulated the worker's economic dependency using 'script' issued in lieu of lawful and legal tender and controlled the acquisition of basic needs such as shelter, food, and clothing. By "owning" the stores, controlling employment, threatening the physical well-being of its employees, and hiring of thugs to intimidate individuals and their ability to implement any organized mutual assistance, these wealthy and powerful companies sought to (and succeeded in ) maximizing their profits by using the labor of the poor and impotent at almost no cost to the company.

One needs to search intensely to finally reveal the true history of our period of industrialization. It is of great credit to the producer's and director's of such films as "Matewan" that we can see clearly the history and ongoing great struggle between the working class and the wealthy elite to obtain their proper share of "profits."

This is a film where one enters a theater to be "entertained", but leaves having the stirrings of compassion and outrage raised in their hearts. It reminds us that there is a human price paid for economic gain.


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