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The Weather Underground (2002)

The remarkable story of The Weather Underground, radical activists of the 1970s, and of radical politics at its best and most disastrous.

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, (co-director)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Narrator (voice)
Pamela Z ...
Narrator (voice)
...
Additional Narrator (voice)
Evan White ...
Additional Narrator (voice)
Bernardine Dohrn ...
Mark Rudd ...
Brian Flanagan ...
Himself
David Gilbert ...
Himself
Bill Ayers ...
Himself (as Bill Ayers)
Naomi Jaffe ...
Todd Gitlin ...
Himself
Laura Whitehorn ...
Herself
Don Strickland ...
Himself
...
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Storyline

In the late 1960s and early 1970s polarization of American political situation was becoming acute, with the Vietnam War abroad and civil rights at home being the most pressing issues. For the youth political movement, seemingly ineffectual methods of peaceful protest and resistance led to the rise of a faction that wanted a more extreme approach that the government could not ignore. One particular group, the Weather Underground, attempted to team up with the Black Panthers to violently confront the US government. They began with participation in street riots, and escalated their efforts to include the bombing of specific targets associated with the government or local power structures. Through archival footage and interviews of participants on both sides of this conflict, this film covers the Weather Underground's campaign of violence through this period, the FBI's strategies and tactics to apprehend them (including some deemed unethical or illegal), until changing times and ... Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

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Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

13 November 2003 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Tempo de Protesto  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,984, 8 June 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$560,199, 23 May 2004
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the segment about the accidental explosion of the Greenwich Village townhouse at 18 West 11th Street, Dustin Hoffman can be seen standing next to a fire truck observing the scene. He was living in the townhouse next door with his wife at the time, Anne Byrne. See more »

Quotes

Naomi Jaffe: We felt that doing nothing in a period of repressive violence is itself a form of violence. That's really the part that I think is the hardest for people to understand. If you sit in your house, live your white life and go to your white job, and allow the country that you live in to murder people and to commit genocide, and you sit there and you don't do anything about it, that's violence.
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Connections

Featured in The 76th Annual Academy Awards (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Excerpt from 'Fugitive Days'
by Bill Ayers (as Bill Ayers)
Courtesy of Beacon Press
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User Reviews

Sad, but Important Film
9 February 2004 | by See all my reviews

The people in the film made many astute points. Rudd points out toward the end that violence is seen by the public as mental illness or some other chaos unless perpetrated by the government--in that case, violence is normal. I'm glad the Weathermen existed. How flat and hopeless the history of activism would be today without them. It seems that nowadays there is a stereotype of the college leftist activist as being a weak member of a highly privileged class who simply feels guilty about the privilege but is ultimately all talk--wants to keep his wealth in the end. The Weathermen defy this stereotype, putting themselves in full danger of losing everything and accomplishing incredible strategic feats against the government like freeing Timothy Leary and bombing government buildings. I suspect that such a defiance of stereotype is why I, who am college educated and a leftist activist type, never knew the names of the Weathermen, while I knew the names of the most prominent Black Panthers, like Eldridge Cleaver and Bobby Seale. It is a movement almost entirely ignored, even by leftist academics. As the film wraps up, one thing that is telling is that none of the featured Weathermen sold out and became capitalists like so many members of SDS. They're all currently doing things for the good of society even if they're no longer bombing buildings. Also, we learn from the film that people didn't simply lose interest in the left and anti-war/anti-capitalist activism, preferring to embrace the glorious consumerism of Reagan's America. The government beat it out of people. Particularly, the government killed the Weathermen's effectiveness when they forced them underground. Maybe the reason we don't have mass uprisings in the U.S. as in other countries is because our government is the most effectively repressive, it being the most powerful in the world.


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