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If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (2011)

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A rare behind-the-curtain look at the Earth Liberation Front, the radical environmental group that the FBI calls America's 'number one domestic terrorist threat.'
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Daniel McGowan ...
Himself - Earth Liberation Front Activist
Lisa McGowan ...
Herself - Daniel's Sister
Tim Lewis ...
Himself - Activist & Filmmaker
Kirk Engdall ...
Himself - Assistant U.S. Attorney
Jim Flynn ...
Himself - Former Editor, Earth First Journal
Jenny Synan ...
Herself - Daniel's Girlfriend
Susan Synan ...
Herself - Jenny's Mother
Bill Barton ...
Himself - Native Forest Council
Leslie James Pickering ...
Himself - Former ELF Spokesman
Greg Harvey ...
Himself - Detective, Eugene Police Department
Chuck Tilby ...
Himself - Captain, Eugene Police Department
Suzanne Savoie ...
Herself - Daniel's Ex-Girlfriend
Steve Swanson ...
Himself - President, Superior Lumber
Chuck Wert ...
Himself - Executive Vice President, Superior Lumber
Don Rice ...
Himself - Manager, Jefferson Poplar Farms


IF A TREE FALLS is a rare behind-the-curtain look at the Earth Liberation Front, the radical environmental group that the FBI calls America's 'number one domestic terrorist threat.' With unprecedented access and a nuanced point of view, the documentary tells the story of Daniel McGowan, an ELF member who faced life in prison for two multi-million dollar arsons against Oregon timber companies. The film employs McGowan's story to examine larger questions about environmentalism, activism, and terrorism. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Unrated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

January 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Queda de uma Árvore: A História da Frente de Libertação da Terra  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$5,634 (USA) (24 June 2011)


$61,153 (USA) (19 August 2011)

Company Credits

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Did You Know?


Daniel McGowan - Earth Liberation Front Activist: When you're screaming at the top of your lungs and no one hears you, what are you supposed to do?
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References Big Rattle in Seattle (1999) See more »


Written by Matt Berninger (as Matthew Berninger) and Aaron Dessner
Performed by The National
Courtesy of Beggars Banquet Records Ltd
Published by Val Jester Music (ASCAP) and ABD 13 Music (ASCAP) administered by BUg
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User Reviews

Tired of crybabies
1 April 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

If you go back in history and read about real heroes you can get a clear idea about what exactly is wrong with our society today.. Greek heroes during the Greek rebellion in 1821 opted for torture and death upon their arrest instead of surrendering key information to the Ottomans. Mexican Commander Antonio López de Santa Anna when he got arrested after the battle of San Jacinto begged for his life and signed the Treaties of Velasco, in which he agreed to withdraw his troops from Texan soil and, in exchange for safe conduct back to Mexico, lobby there for recognition of the new republic (which led to the independence of the state of Texas. And what about activists you might ask? Well this movie will tell you a lot about their courage, determination, perseverance and a whole bunch of life skills they claim to carry..

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