IMDb > Matewan (1987)
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Matewan (1987) More at IMDbPro »

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Down 33% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
John Sayles (written by)
View company contact information for Matewan on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
30 June 1988 (Australia) See more »
It takes more than guns to kill a man See more »
A labor union organizer comes to an embattled mining community brutally and violently dominated and harassed by the mining company. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 2 wins & 7 nominations See more »
(24 articles)
Cartagena to honour John Sayles, Clive Owen
 (From ScreenDaily. 24 February 2014, 2:34 AM, PST)

John Sayles Talks 'Matewan' at the Marchesa
 (From Slackerwood. 18 December 2013, 7:30 AM, PST)

Movies This Week: December 6-12, 2013
 (From Slackerwood. 6 December 2013, 12:00 PM, PST)

User Reviews:
Powerful presentation of the struggle for human dignity and equity. See more (52 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Chris Cooper ... Joe Kenehan

Mary McDonnell ... Elma Radnor

Will Oldham ... Danny Radnor

David Strathairn ... Sid Hatfield

Ken Jenkins ... Sephus Purcell

Kevin Tighe ... Hickey

Gordon Clapp ... Tom Griggs

Bob Gunton ... C.E. Lively

Jace Alexander ... Hillard Elkins

Joe Grifasi ... Fausto
Nancy Mette ... Bridey Mae
Jo Henderson ... Mrs. Elkins

Josh Mostel ... Cabell Testerman
Gary McCleery ... Ludie
Maggie Renzi ... Rosaria

Tom Wright ... Tom
Michael B. Preston ... Ellix (as Michael Preston)
Thomas A. Carlin ... Turley (as Tom Carlin)
Jenni Cline ... Luann

Michael Mantell ... Doolin (as Michael A. Mantel)
J.K. Kent Lilly ... Pappy's Voice (voice)
Ida Williams ... Mrs. Knightes
James Kizer ... Tolbert
Ronnie Stapleton ... Stennis
Davide Ferrario ... Gianni
Frank Payne Jr. ... Old Miner

John Sayles ... Hardshell Preacher
Hazel Dickens ... Singer
Charles Haywood ... Sheb
Neale Clark ... Isaac
Mitch Scott ... Mister
Hazel Pearl ... Missus
Michael Frasher ... Lee Felts

Frank Hoyt Taylor ... Al Felts
Fred Decker ... James
Bill Morris ... Bass
Delmas Lawhorn ... Conductor
William Dean ... Broker
P. Michael Munsey ... Broker
Thomas Hal Phillips ... Boxcar Guard (as Hal Phillips)
Stephen C. Hall ... Redneck Miner
Percy Fruit ... Black Miner
Thomas Poore ... Injured Black Miner
Tara Williams ... Miner's Wife
Gerald Milnes ... Fiddler
Mason Daring ... Picker
Jim Costa ... Mandolin Player
Phil Wiggins ... Harmonica Player

James Earl Jones ... Few Clothes
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jim Damron ... Fireman (uncredited)
Jason Jenkins ... Extra (uncredited)

Scott A. Martin ... Limping Miner (uncredited)
Ric Siler ... Native Miner (uncredited)
Jesse Womack ... Gun Thug (uncredited)

Directed by
John Sayles 
Writing credits
John Sayles (written by)

Produced by
Mark Balsam .... executive producer
Ira Deutchman .... associate producer
James Glenn Dudelson .... associate producer
Ned Kendall .... associate producer
Amir Jacob Malin .... executive producer
Peggy Rajski .... producer
Maggie Renzi .... producer
Jerry Silva .... executive producer
Original Music by
Mason Daring 
Cinematography by
Haskell Wexler (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Sonya Polonsky 
Casting by
Barbara Shapiro 
Production Design by
Nora Chavooshian 
Art Direction by
Dan Bishop 
Set Decoration by
Anamarie Michnevich 
Leslie A. Pope  (as Leslie Pope)
Costume Design by
Cynthia Flynt 
Makeup Department
David Halsey .... hair consultant
David Halsey .... makeup consultant
James Sarzotti .... hair stylist
James Sarzotti .... makeup artist
Production Management
Sarah Green .... assistant production manager
Diana Pokorny .... unit manager
Peggy Rajski .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Benita Allen .... second assistant director
Matia Karrell .... first assistant director
Art Department
Daniel Boxer .... set dresser assistant
Roland Brooks .... chargeman scenic artist
Jeff Butcher .... property assistant
Jeff Butcher .... property production assistant
Howard J. Calvert Jr. .... art department troubleshooter
Jem Cohen .... property assistant
James Dean .... art department production assistant
Anthony Dunne .... construction coordinator (as Tony Dunne)
Ann Edgeworth .... property master
Daniel Fisher .... set dressing production assistant
Chris Gibbin .... art department production assistant
Nancy Gilmore .... set dresser
Brent Haywood .... set builder
Leigh Johnson .... set decorator assistant
Leigh Kyle .... head set dresser
Archie Lambert .... art department production assistant
Bill Lehne .... set builder (as William Lehne)
Pat McClinch .... scenic artist
Bill McKinney .... set dressing production assistant
Ken Nelson .... set builder
Joel Ossenfort .... scenic artist
Kim Parsons .... art department production assistant
Nelle Stokes .... set dressing production assistant (as Nell Stokes)
Sound Department
Marko A. Costanzo .... foley artist
Tom Fleischman .... sound mixer: Sound One
George A. Lara .... foley mixer
Skip Lievsay .... supervising sound editor
Marissa Littlefield .... assistant sound editor
Bruce Pross .... assistant sound editor
Lisa Schnall .... boom operator
Philip Stockton .... sound editor (as Phil Stockton)
John Sutton .... sound mixer
Christopher Weir .... assistant sound editor
Special Effects by
Shirley Belwood .... special effects
Russell Berg .... special effects
Peter Kunz .... special effects coordinator
Todd Wolfeil .... special effects
Danny Aiello III .... stunt player
Len DeVirgilio .... stunt player (as Lenny De Virgilio)
Edgard Mourino .... stunt coordinator
Gianni Lazuli .... stunt miner (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Steve Apicella .... video assist operator
Claudia Bailey .... assistant camera: second unit
Arthur Blum .... grip
Lynn Breschel .... best boy
Robert Bruce .... electrician
Stefan Czapsky .... key grip
Mitch Dubin .... camera operator
Robert K. Feldmann .... grip (as Robert Feldman)
Morris Flam .... gaffer
Sean Garrett .... grip assistant
Erica Gelczis .... grip assistant
Louisa Heyward .... electrician
Claiborne Lashley .... grip assistant (as Clai Lashley)
Luke Latino .... grip assistant
Bob Marshak .... still photographer
P. Scott Sakamoto .... first assistant camera (as Scott Sakamoto)
Debbie Sarjeant .... second assistant camera
Lee Shapira .... grip
Newton Thomas Sigel .... director of photography: second unit (as Tom Sigel)
Casting Department
Eve Battaglia .... casting assistant
Pam Flam .... casting assistant
Julie Hutchinson .... casting assistant
Avy Kaufman .... additional casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Gabriele Campbell .... wardrobe production assistant
Connie Lucas .... wardrobe production assistant
Susan Lyall .... assistant to costume designer
Holly Scarborough .... wardrobe production assistant
Heidi Shulman .... wardrobe supervisor
Editorial Department
David Leonard .... apprentice editor
Geraldine Peroni .... assistant editor
Music Department
Leanne Ungar .... music engineer
Leanne Ungar .... music mixer
Transportation Department
E.W. 'Sonny' Adkins .... driver (as Sonny Adkins)
Mark Moore .... driver: generator
Roscoe Thomas .... driver
Other crew
Beth Bernstein .... office production assistant
Libby Bika .... office production assistant
Buddy Brewer .... set production assistant
Sandy Cox .... craft service
Cilista Eberle .... production office coordinator
Davide Ferrario .... dialogue coach: Italian
Vincent Gratzer .... intern (as Vince Gratzer)
Robert Grindrod .... assistant auditor
Andrea Gustke .... intern
David Hollander .... legal counsel
Greg Jacobs .... set production assistant
Sara Malossini .... dialogue coach: Italian
Paul Marcus .... coordinator: second unit
Paul Marcus .... location manager
Pat McCarthy .... assistant office coordinator
Ralph Renzi .... set production assistant
John Sloss .... legal counsel
Barbara-Ann Stein .... auditor
John Tintori .... script supervisor
Brian Wenk .... set production assistant

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
135 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Thurmond was the site of one of the five offices of the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency. Two of the men killed in Matewan that day were Albert and Lee, brothers of agency owner, Thomas Felts. In retaliation, Felts had the former Matewan police chief, Sid Hatfield, and his deputy and friend Ed Chambers, killed when he was tried in Welch, WV. Both young men, unarmed and accompanied by their wives, walked up the steps to the courthouse and met five detectives (including the former spy Charles Everett Lively) waiting for them at the top. They were gunned down. Hatfield died almost instantly from chest wounds. Detective Hugh Lucas turned and emptied a gun into the courthouse wall, then placed the gun in the dead man's hand to make it look like self-defence. Lively shot Chambers, who had already been hit several times in the body and neck, behind the ear to make sure he was dead, despite Mrs Chambers' efforts to fend him off with her parasol. Hatfield was 28 years old, and Chambers 22, when they were killed. Their funeral was attended by thousands of miners.See more »
Factual errors: In the scene where the coal company executives are trying to bribe the Mayor and Sid Hatfield, the calendar behind the mayor reads September 1920. The historical shootout at the climax occurred in May of 1920, four months beforehand.See more »
[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 »
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18 out of 20 people found the following review useful.
Powerful presentation of the struggle for human dignity and equity., 3 March 2005
Author: sunsetcliff from San Diego, California, USA

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.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (52 total) »

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