17 user 31 critic

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

2:09 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $3.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

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 »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.2/10 X  

Siblings, Brad and Lisa Carpenter, along with two lifelong family friends, Will and Vanessa, set out to cross Eastern Canada enroute to an annual family reunion. Their road trip takes them ... See full summary »

Director: Gabriel Carrer
Stars: Ry Barrett, Breanne TeBoekhorst, Jennifer De Lucia
Documentary | History | News
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Using smuggled footage, this documentary tells the story of the 2007 protests in Burma by thousands of monks.

Director: Anders Østergaard
Stars: George W. Bush, Ko Muang, Aung San Suu Kyi
Street Fight (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

This documentary follows the 2002 mayoral campaign in Newark, New Jersey in which the Cory Booker attempted to unseat longtime mayor Sharpe James.

Director: Marshall Curry
Stars: Jen Bluestein, Cory Booker, Bill Bradley
Documentary | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

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

Directors: Sam Green, Bill Siegel
Stars: Lili Taylor, Pamela Z, Jim Lange
Documentary | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An investigative documentary about the epidemic of rape of soldiers within the US military.

Director: Kirby Dick
Stars: Amy Ziering, Kirby Dick, Kori Cioca
Documentary | Action | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

What does it mean to lead men in war? What does it mean to come home? Hell and Back Again is a cinematically revolutionary film that asks and answers these questions with a power and ... See full summary »

Director: Danfung Dennis
Stars: Nathan Harris, Ashley Harris, The Marines of Echo Company
Undefeated (2011)
Documentary | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Chronicles three underprivileged students from inner-city Memphis and their volunteer coach who tries to help them beat the odds on and off the field.

Directors: Daniel Lindsay, T.J. Martin
Stars: Bill Courtney, O.C. Brown, Montrail 'Money' Brown
Racing Dreams (2009)
Documentary | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A feature documentary following three young racers as they compete in the World Karting Association's National Pavement Series. Clocking speeds up to 70 mph, these kids chase the National ... See full summary »

Director: Marshall Curry
Stars: Annabeth Barnes, Josh Hobson, Brandon Warren
Documentary | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A documentary on a Palestinian farmer's chronicle of his nonviolent resistance to the actions of the Israeli army.

Directors: Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi
Stars: Emad Burnat, Soraya Burnat, Mohammed Burnat
GasLand (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An exploration of the fracking petroleum extraction industry and the serious environmental consequences involved.

Director: Josh Fox
Stars: Josh Fox, Dick Cheney, Pete Seeger
Documentary | History | News
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The story of two coalitions -- ACT UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group) -- whose activism and innovation turned AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition.

Director: David France
Stars: Peter Staley, Larry Kramer, Iris Long
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A further followup of the case of the West Memphis Three and the decades long fight to exonerate them that finally gained traction with new DNA evidence.

Directors: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky
Stars: Gary Gitchell, Todd Moore, Dana Moore


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 »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



See  »

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?
See more »


References Trade Off (2000) See more »


Cherry Tree
Written by Matt Berninger (as Matthew Berninger) and Bryce Dessner
Performed by The National
Courtesy of Brassland
Published by Val Jester Music (ASCAP) and Hawk Ridge Songs (ASCAP)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Great documentary showing the people willing to fight back against the corporations
11 March 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Great documentary showing the people who are willing to fight back against the corporations that are not only willing to destroy and pillage mother nature for profit but are happy to do so. Do I agree with their tactics? No, but am I happy there is now a new extreme fighting back against the other extreme? Yes. For too long corporations have done what they please without caring for anything but the money lining their pockets. This documentary shows the people who where willing to stand up and say enough is enough. Peaceful protests just fell on deaf ears and ended with pepper spray to the eyes and testicles. These guys had enough, they knew for a fact that their protests where not going to change anything so they had to turn it up notch. Corporations would not listen to their cries and simply didn't care so ELF decided to hit them in the only place they care about, their pockets. This documentary follows the story of one of these protesters who decided to fight back and stand up for what he thought was right. Should these people be considered terrorists? No, they should be considered arsonists. If the government defines these people as terrorists then what name should be given to the corporations who drove these people to take these actions? Again I do not condone the actions of these people but they are the lesser of two evils in this situation.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
First your property then your lawn, you're missing the whole point! juancarlosadex-250-234756
The Rest of the Story? rmatlan
Very Balanced thanasaki_mtl

Contribute to This Page