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Bowling for Columbine (2002)

R  |   |  Documentary  |  15 November 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 117,770 users   Metascore: 72/100
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Filmmaker Michael Moore explores the roots of America's predilection for gun violence.



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Credited cast:
Himself - Narrator
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Himself - President of Chile (archive footage)
Jacobo Arbenz ...
Himself - President of Guatemala (archive footage)
Mike Bradley ...
Himself - Mayor of Sarnia, Ontario, Canada
Arthur A. Busch ...
Himself - County Prosecutor: Flint, Michigan (as Arthur Busch)
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Michael Caldwell ...
Himself - Police Detective
Richard Castaldo ...
Himself - Columbine Victim
Himself (archive footage)
Steve Davis ...
Himself - Deputy Sheriff (archive footage)
Ngo Dinh Diem ...
Himself - President of South Vietnam (archive footage)
Mike Epstein ...
Himself - Shopper in Mall
Joe Farmer ...
Himself - Superintendent of Schools (archive footage)


The United States of America is notorious for its astronomical number of people killed by firearms for a developed nation without a civil war. With his signature sense of angry humor, activist filmmaker Michael Moore sets out to explore the roots of this bloodshed. In doing so, he learns that the conventional answers of easy availability of guns, violent national history, violent entertainment and even poverty are inadequate to explain this violence when other cultures share those same factors without the equivalent carnage. In order to arrive at a possible explanation, Michael Moore takes on a deeper examination of America's culture of fear, bigotry and violence in a nation with widespread gun ownership. Furthermore, he seeks to investigate and confront the powerful elite political and corporate interests fanning this culture for their own unscrupulous gain. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


What a wonderful world. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violent images and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |


Release Date:

15 November 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Akiryhtos polemos  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$209,148 (USA) (11 October 2002)


$312,914 (Brazil) (20 June 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Because the film didn't fit neatly into any established categories at Cannes, the Jury created a special 55th Anniversary Award just for the film. See more »


As Charlton Heston walks away from Michael Moore in the final interview, the scene cuts repeatedly between Heston (point of view from behind Moore) and Moore (point of view from the stairs directly in front of Moore) holding a photo of the slain Flint, Michigan girl and asking Heston to look at it. When the POV is of Moore holding the photo, there is clearly no cameraman anywhere behind him. The same with the POV of Heston, there is clearly no cameraman anywhere in front of Moore. So the two POVs were not filmed simultaneously as the film implies. See more »


Canadian: If more guns make people safer, then America would be one of the safest countries in the world. It isn't. It's the opposite.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There is no cast list, either at the start of the film or at the end. People are credited either by subtitle, by the narrator or by themselves. See more »


Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »


What a Wonderful World
Written by Bob Thiele (as Robert Thiele) and George David Weiss (as George Weiss)
Performed by Louis Armstrong
Courtesy of MCA Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A liberal's critique
2 August 2004 | by (Salt Lake City, UT) – See all my reviews

This movie was entertaining and interesting, but in certain ways it left me wanting. Michael Moore himself is somewhat irritating, and I found myself wishing he kept more to the background than he does. At the same time, the conclusions that he draws are compelling and pragmatic. This movie was not designed to be an argument. It was not designed to sway the viewer. It was designed to fuel the fire of the already convinced. Though I think that this is Moore's intent (concluded from interviews I've read), I feel that goal could be reached at the same time as convincing a few fence-sitters, and that would have made the film more powerful.

I have two main complaints regarding this movie:

First, I felt that Michael Moore sometimes crossed lines in his interviews that in no way seemed to further his cause or drive his point home. He interviews people as though looking for his answer, not their answer, and particularly seemed to be trying to strike a blow at the conservative masses. I thought this distracted the genuinity and plausibility of the conclusions that he drew. It must be said that the conclusions that Moore drew are of a nature that strikes at conservative politics. However, I felt that the facts he represented spoke for themselves, and that the blows should not have been dealt to conservative interviewees by asking questions designed to get emotional responses out of them.

Second, I found some of the statistics needed to be qualified with per capitas or percentages. When comparing the United States to England, for instance, it is important to take population differences and density into consideration. Straight statistics do not apply. I think the statistics were somewhat skewed by this oversight, however according to some rough guesstimates I made, it wouldn't have diminished Moore's point, only made it less dramatic (which would, indeed, have strengthened his case).

These two complaints hint at an even larger problem, however, and that is this: Because Moore presents his case in this way, he can never hope to have his message truly heard by anyone who isn't already on his side.

113 of 205 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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