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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.

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Cast

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

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.

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Release Date:

18 June 2004 (USA)  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

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

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 »

Quotes

[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.
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Soundtracks

Down
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
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User Reviews

The old hagiography show
2 October 2011 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Howard Zinn has had a fascinating life, going from working-class soldier to civil rights activist to pioneering historian. The strengths of this documentary is, then, its remarkable subject matter and the inevitable power that comes with it. It's hard not to be moved, for instance, hearing Zinn recount his realization that he was test-dropping napalm in the dying days of WW2.

Unfortunately, the documentary takes a fairly standard hagiographical approach that you often see in documentaries about intellectuals, elevating the person above their ideas even when this seems to go directly against the "people's history" approach that Zinn so argued for. Moreover, it sticks to the same tired talking-heads/archival-clips-and-photos approach that you've seen in every documentary. Hell, you've probably even seen these specific talking heads and photos in many other movies.

Pick up a copy of A People's History of the US, or one of Zinn's other books, but you can skip this documentary. In the end understanding the man's ideas are more important than biographical worship of the man himself.


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