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Bowling for Columbine (2002)

Filmmaker Michael Moore explores the roots of America's predilection for gun violence.



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Won 1 Oscar. Another 40 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »



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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 (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Una pelicula de Michael Moore el Hombre que desafió a BUSH See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

15 November 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Akiryhtos polemos  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$209,148 (USA) (13 October 2002)


$21,244,913 (USA) (11 May 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


In May 2002 this film became the first documentary to compete in the Cannes Film Festival's main competition in 46 years. See more »


The "Brief History of America" segment includes the assertion that early Americans burned suspected witches. No accused witches were burned in America. See more »


Michael Moore: How many people are killed by guns each year? In Germany; 381. In France; 255. In Canada; 165. In the United Kingdom; 68. In Australia; 65. In Japan; 39. In the United States; 11,127.
Father of Columbine victim: But that, to me, brings up an important question; then what is so different about Americans? Are we homicidal in nature? Because in Europe and Australia... Most other free-world countries they don't have this. They don't have people who snap and go on murderous rampages.
Michael Moore: Well no, they're just like us. I mean, they...
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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 Manufacturing Dissent (2007) See more »


Bandstand Boogie
Music by Charles Albertine, Larry Elgart, Les Elgart, and Bob Horn (1954)
Lyrics by Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman (1978)
Performed by Barry Manilow
Courtesy of Arista Records
Under license from BMG Special Projects
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

More Infactual Opinion From Moore
8 August 2004 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

Is this supposed to be education from Michael Moore ? Okay people prepare to be educated

Moore sets himself up as some working class intellectual but the gist of this documentary is based on stats , half truths and most importantly of all - Points that seem to have been missed out on purpose

For example BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE centres around " America's astronomical murder rate " insinuating that the murder rate in that country is head and above any other country when it's not . Moore misses out the fact that per head of population the USA doesn't have the world's highest murder rate . That unwanted record is held by Mexico . Both Colombia and South Africa have higher murder rates per head of population than the US . He also fails to point out that many American states do have gun bans . New York for example has a total hand gun ban and the penalty for having an automatic weapon there is life imprisonment . He doesn't come out and say that anyone , everywhere in America can pop into any shop and buy as many guns and as much ammo as they want , but he heavily suggests it which misleads the uninformed

Moore also misses out other points about the American death tolls from murder . If you study American murder rates you'll see a clear connection between the American government banning things . For example the prohibition of alcholic drink in the 1920s led to a massive crime wave of killing as gangsters fought to take over the black market due to the drinks ban . As drugs started to flood into the cities of America in the 1960s the murder rate rose as people tried to muscle in on the hard drugs trade to the point where now many US cities are battle zones . It's not the fault of guns that so many people are murdered - It's the fault of drugs and the massive profits they generate that are leading to violence in America . This information doesn't seem to creep into Moore's hidden agenda . Of course if the American government of the day decided to legalise all drugs the gangs and dealers would become instantly disenfranchised , but this suggestion would seem to be too liberterian for Moore .

We're also treated to a wonderful piece of hypocrisy by Moore when he mentions that on the day of the Columbine school massacre the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia reached its peak . You may remember that because the Serbs were engaged in a violent conflict against Islamic insurgents ( America is doing something very similar today in Iraq ) NATO decided to bomb the Serbs until they pulled their troops out of Kosovo . Moore seems to be against the bombing of Yugoslavia in this documentary . What he doesn't tell you is that the NATO airstrikes were under the command of Wesley Clark , the same Wesley Clark who later ran for the Democratic Presidential nomination and the same Wesley Clark WHO MOORE LATER BACKED FOR DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION !

And being a Michael Moore documentary we are treated once again to Louis Armstrong's What A Wonderful World contrasting to images of human suffering. Moore has made a career out of this technique and it's not even his idea because he's stolen it from Barry Levinson in GOOD MORNING Vietnam

My own opinion of BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE is that it's polemical rubbish , uninformative and just plain misleading . I also found it stomach churning that Moore is awarded every film gong going because he makes documentaries centered around human tragedy . His fans will point out that Moore's advertising the fact that guns are responsible for a terrible death toll in which case I'll point out Moore is benefitting from this terrible death toll via this documentary and the praise and awards it received . I wonder how his fans feel about that as they rush out to watch his latest documentary or buy his latest book ?

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