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Anarchism in America (1983)

A colorful and provocative survey of anarchism in America, the film attempts to dispel popular misconceptions and trace the historical development of the movement. The film explores the ... See full summary »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Paul Avrich ...
Himself
Jello Biafra ...
Himself
Murray Bookchin ...
Himself
Emma Goldman ...
Herself (archive footage)
Karl Hess ...
Himself
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Storyline

A colorful and provocative survey of anarchism in America, the film attempts to dispel popular misconceptions and trace the historical development of the movement. The film explores the movement both as a native American philosophy stemming from 19th century American traditions of individualism, and as a foreign ideology brought to America by immigrants. The film features rare archival footage and interviews with significant personalities in anarchist history including Murray Boochkin and Karl Hess, and also live performance footage of the Dead Kennedys. Written by Harvard Film Archive

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libertarian | See All (1) »

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15 January 1983 (USA)  »

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Soundtracks

Anarchy In The UK
(uncredited)
Written by Glen Matlock, Paul Cook, Steve Jones, John Lydon
Performed by The Sex Pistols
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disappointing documentary!
28 March 2007 | by (usa) – See all my reviews

"Anarchism in America", a documentary from 1983, has arrived on DVD for the first time to share its knowledge and message to a new generation. Maybe that's the thought behind releasing this documentary on the often misunderstood subject of anarchy. The filmmakers set off on a trek across the United States in search of the anarchic voice. Through a well-intentioned, but amateurish approach, they take the viewer through a few bits of historical footage and information to offer a glimpse at the true nature of anarchism in America's past. These infrequent bits become nuisances to the true meat of the production, which is not footage of the team of filmmakers driving cross country (though there's plenty of that) or a last minute arrival of the punk band Dead Kennedys (which feels tacked on), but the interviews with a few highly studied and intelligent voices on the subject. A better film seemingly could have been made from this footage, but unfortunately none of that skill or realization is here. Maybe the point of making such a messy, under-realized film was a broader statement on anarchism, but that's not likely.


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