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American Dream (1990)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 572 users  
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Chronicles the six-month strike at Hormel in Austin, Minnesota, in 1985-86. The local union, P-9 of the Food and Commercial Workers, overwhelmingly rejects a contract offer with a $2/hour ... See full summary »

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Title: American Dream (1990)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Chronicles the six-month strike at Hormel in Austin, Minnesota, in 1985-86. The local union, P-9 of the Food and Commercial Workers, overwhelmingly rejects a contract offer with a $2/hour wage cut. They strike and hire a New York consultant to manage a national media campaign against Hormel. Despite support from P-9's rank and file, FCWU's international disagrees with the strategy. In addition to union-company tension, there's union-union in-fighting. Hormel holds firm; scabs, replacement workers, brothers on opposite sides, a union coup d'état, and a new contract materialize. The film asks, was it worth it, or was the strike a long-term disaster for organized labor? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Documentary

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for momentary strong language | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

6 October 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Amerikaniko oneiro  »

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Box Office

Gross:

$269,823 (USA)
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1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Great follow-up to "Harlon County, USA"
10 September 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This Oscar-winning 1991 documentary is captivating, personal, and heartfelt. It is also, however, a bleak and dark film, and the vantage it provides into American capitalism is a haunting one. Much like Kopple's previous documentary: "Harlan County, U.S.A.," "American Dream" is more than an examination of a labor dispute. (Specifically, the 1984 strike of Hormel, Inc. meatpackers in Minnesota). This film asks that we look at the bigger picture, and it was made during a time when the American economy was faltering. Through her frank and journalistic interactions with various stakeholders, Kopple presents a riveting deconstruction of the working class in America, as well as big business and the interworkings of organized labor. Underneath it all, though, this is a human interest story, and watching the strike unfold chronologically - from various viewpoints - is magnetizing. Brother is pitted against brother, union against union, and Kopple's delicate political handling is masterful. Anyone interested in organized labor in America, as well as the sometimes fleeting notion of the American Dream, this is one you SHOULD NOT MISS. This is gripping, psyche-dwelling stuff. (PS: During the film's closing credits, take note of the huge amount of organizations and people who contributed their money, and volunteeered their talent to this project. Perhaps nothing else is greater testament to its importance). ---|--- Was this review helpful?


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