5 user 39 critic

Howard Zinn: You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train (2004)

The life and times of Howard Zinn: the historian, activist, and author of several classics including "A Peoples History of the United States". Archival footage, and commentary by friend, colleagues and Zinn himself.



On Disc

at Amazon

1 win. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

"The Most Dangerous Man in America" is the story of what happens when a former Pentagon insider, armed only with his conscience, steadfast determination, and a file cabinet full of ... See full summary »

Directors: Judith Ehrlich, Rick Goldsmith
Stars: Peter Arnett, Ben Bagdikian, Ann Beeson
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

This documentary compiles a series of Noam Chomsky's interviews and lectures that address the events of 9/11.

Director: John Junkerman
Stars: Noam Chomsky, Carol Chomsky
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A look at America's struggles with war, class, race and women's rights. based on Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States."

Directors: Anthony Arnove, Chris Moore, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Matt Damon, Rosario Dawson, Marisa Tomei
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  

A documentary that weaves together the stories of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, three members of one of the most prominent and influential families in American politics.

Stars: Meryl Streep, Edward Herrmann, George Will
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A documentary that follows former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich as he looks to raise awareness of the country's widening economic gap.

Director: Jacob Kornbluth
Stars: Robert Reich, Mary Tyler Moore, Lily Tomlin
After Tiller (2013)
Documentary | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

After the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas in 2009, there are a limited number of doctors left in the country who provide third-trimester abortions for women. AFTER TILLER moves... See full summary »

Directors: Martha Shane, Lana Wilson
Stars: George Tiller, Warren Hern, Leroy Carhart
Marwencol (2010)
Documentary | Biography | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After a vicious attacks leaves him brain-damaged and broke, Mark Hogancamp seeks recovery in "Marwencol", a 1/6th scale World War II-era town he creates in his backyard.

Director: Jeff Malmberg
Stars: Mark Hogancamp, Emmanuel Nneji, Edda Hogancamp
Documentary | Biography | News
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

REQUIEM FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM is the definitive discourse with Noam Chomsky, on the defining characteristic of our time - the deliberate concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a... See full summary »

Directors: Peter D. Hutchison, Kelly Nyks, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Noam Chomsky
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A look at the career of consumer advocate Ralph Nader from wannabe presidential candidate to public pariah.

Directors: Henriette Mantel, Steve Skrovan
Stars: Ralph Nader, Pat Buchanan, Howard Zinn
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Documentary that looks at the concept of the corporation throughout recent history up to its present-day dominance.

Directors: Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott
Stars: Mikela Jay, Rob Beckwermert, Christopher Gora
Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

About the life and work of controversial American Jewish academic Norman Finkelstein.

Directors: David Ridgen, Nicolas Rossier
Stars: Musa Abu-Hashhash, Nidal Barham, Noam Chomsky
Documentary | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Linguist, intellectual and activist, Noam Chomsky discusses and reflects on the state of world events including the War in Iraq, September 11th, the War on Terror, Media Manipulation and ... See full summary »

Director: Will Pascoe
Stars: Noam Chomsky, Carol Chomsky


Credited cast:
Narrator (voice)
Daniel Berrigan ...
Herself (archive footage)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Tom Hayden ...
Himself (archive footage)
Staughton Lind ...
David Rovics ...
John Silber ...
Himself (archive footage)
Herself (archive footage)


The life and times of Howard Zinn: the historian, activist, and author of several classics including "A Peoples History of the United States". Archival footage, and commentary by friend, colleagues and Zinn himself.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

18 June 2004 (USA)  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$3,378 (USA) (2 July 2004)


$120,250 (USA) (18 February 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

See  »

Did You Know?


Dr. Howard Zinn was one of the first American authors to write a comprehensive history of the barriers erected by the U.S. Government to prevent equality and constitutionally guaranteed rights amongst the working classes and minority races, and the subsequent violent clashes between protestors, the government, and corporate soldiers. See more »


[first lines]
Zinn, Howard: We grow up in a controlled society, where we are told that when one person kills another person, that is murder, but when the government kills a hundred thousand, that is patriotism.
See more »


Written by Eddie Vedder
Music by Mike McCready (as McCready) / Stone Gossard (as Gossard)
Courtesy of Sony Music
King Holmes Music Publishing
Special Thanks Curtis Management
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

What does it mean to be American?
27 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Howard Zinn; you can't be neutral on a moving train is about the life of activist Howard Zinn who dedicated his life to educating people on their rights as human beings and as American citizens by becoming a history teacher. The axiom, those who ignore history are destined to repeat it, is absolutely true. And most Americans have no interest in real history. Rising out of poverty in NYC, Zinn tells of his life through the 30s to his death. He mentions many of the true American struggles like the Ludlow Massacre, where unarmed miners and their families working in company owned world could not get out from under the thumb of business and were massacred by the National Guard during a union strike. Something that most of today's so called American citizens don't seem to mind. An event that never made the news or the history books. In his heyday during the 60s with the racial strife, Zinn was targeted with so many other Americans to be pushed out of America. Something that is also an acceptable notion in the present – America, love it or leave it – an idiots axiom. There are very few people younger than I and very few people in general who can appreciate the life of American's without the rights we are squandering today. Ignorance is bliss. While I admire Zinn's zeal and agree with his impression of America and Americans lack of desire to know, I don't agree with all his attempts to humanize our enemies of the past. I would encourage everyone to admit their ignorance and choke down as much Zinn as they can handle to try and wake them up with another point of view and another set of possibilities.

The biggest mistake of the protesters of the 60s was that they assumed all Americans were educated about their right to engage in civil disobedience and that the cared about human life in general. Protesters assumed that the troops coming home from Viet Nam understood the wrongness of the war and chose to support it rather than engage in disobedience and risk the penalties. The average American, desiring a wave less and secure existence, had no real concept of any of the inconsistencies the war. They were quite content to kill the farmer that they were told threatened their way of life.

How many ignorant people today feel that democracy means the American way of life? How many ignorant people today forget – and to the REPUBLIC, for which it stands… not the democracy.

How many ignorant people today can't make the connection between crack use and war? The bottom line – if you don't have enough time to understand to another American's point of view, you don't have enough time to be an American. A country of the people, by the people, and for the people.

21 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: