IMDb > Bright Leaves (2003)
Bright Leaves
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Bright Leaves (2003) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 2 | slideshow) Videos (see all 2)
Bright Leaves -- McElwee family legend has it that the Hollywood melodrama "Bright Leaf" starring Gary Cooper as a 19th century tobacco grower, is based on filmmaker Ross McElwee's great-grandfather, who created the Bull Durham brand.
Bright Leaves -- Open-ended Trailer from First Run Features


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Ross McElwee (writer)
View company contact information for Bright Leaves on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
28 April 2004 (France) See more »
North Carolina produces more tobacco than any other state in America. Bright Leaves describes a journey taken across the social... See more » | Add synopsis »
1 win & 5 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A Masterful Follow Up to "Sherman's March"... See more (14 total) »


Allan Gurganus ... Himself
Paula Larke ... Herself
Marilyn Levine ... Herself
Emily Madison ... Herself

Adrian McElwee ... Himself
Ross McElwee ... Himself
Tom McElwee ... Himself

Patricia Neal ... Herself
Vlada Petric ... Himself
Charleen Swansea ... Herself

Directed by
Ross McElwee 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Ross McElwee  writer

Produced by
Ross McElwee .... producer
Linda Morgenstern .... associate producer
Cinematography by
Ross McElwee 
Film Editing by
Ross McElwee 
Mark Meatto  (as Mark Meato)
Production Management
Stan Sztaba .... post-production supervisor
Sound Department
Rick Beck .... sound
Camera and Electrical Department
Adrian McElwee .... additional camera operator
Editorial Department
Brad Fuller .... post-production consultant
Stan Sztaba .... negative matcher
Other crew
Pacho Velez .... production assistant
Renata Jackson .... thanks

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
107 min

Did You Know?

Miss Tobacco:[on being asked about the tobacco industry] It brings a lotta jobs and a lotta revenue, but... it has its health hazards and... everybody's gonna die of something, so...
Ross McElwee:May as well be tobacco?
Miss Tobacco:Might as well die of something that's gonna help out the... the... *what's* the word? Here, I'm thinkin'...
Ross McElwee:Economy?
Miss Tobacco:[beams] *There* ya go. There ya go. Havin' a tough mornin'...
See more »
Movie Connections:
References The Fountainhead (1949)See more »


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8 out of 12 people found the following review useful.
A Masterful Follow Up to "Sherman's March"..., 18 April 2005
Author: jk8n from Virginia

It was about 15 years ago that I first saw Ross McElwee's quasi-autobiographical documentary about his quest to trace General Sherman's unsuccessful campaign through the South during the Civil War. "Sherman's March" was a film which showed the delightful disconnect between McElwee's memories of vestigial Southern culture, with the man he had become. Just as the American South exemplifies the Sublime to the Ridiculous, McElwee's ostensible journey to follow the trail of Sherman's March was really an excuse to visit old girlfriends and childhood memories along the way.

"Bright Leaves" is so good a follow up to McElwee's earlier film about his search to understand his Southern roots that, rather than inviting a comparison with "Sherman's March," it simply picks up his story with a new quest. This time it's his search to understand the history of North Carolina tobacco farming, which was also a part of his family's history three generations before.

The film is at least two hours long, but not one extraneous frame is included. In McElwee's typical style, he presents us with a meandering, quiet, thoughtful and extremely funny unfolding of the tobacco story, and his signature pacing perfectly highlights the layers and layers of meaning he wants to get across.

As a Northerner and unashamed Yankee who has lived in the South for 13 years (which is 12 years too long), I can vouch that McElwee's films have just as much value for those of us who lack the DNA required to understand the South. His films are not just for born and bred Southerners who see themselves as special members of a unique and proudly eccentric group.

On a practical level, "Bright Leaves" may be the best anti-smoking film ever made, just as "Supersize Me" was the most convincing argument about the dangers of fast food. I highly recommend you take your kids to see it, too.

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Finding Bright Leaves icanheartheheart
Music dalieberman
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Other smoking documentaries chris-mccue
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