MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 4,925 this week

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

7.2
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.2/10 from 2,408 users   Metascore: 65/100
Reviews: 17 user | 32 critic | 14 from Metacritic.com

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.'

Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

$0.00 with Prime Instant Video

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 25 titles
created 17 Jul 2011
 
a list of 36 titles
created 02 Oct 2011
 
a list of 48 titles
created 24 Apr 2013
 
a list of 31 titles
created 31 Aug 2013
 
a list of 23 titles
created 31 Aug 2013
 

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

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

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (2011) on IMDb 7.2/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front.

User Polls

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

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 | 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
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A documentary that systematically challenges the common human belief that humans are superior to other life forms. The documentary reveals the absurdity of this belief while exploding human... See full summary »

Director: Samuel McAnallen
Stars: Steven Best, Nick Gylaw, Bernard Rollin
Documentary | History | News
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A powerful documentary that exposes the direct connection between the long history of U.S. intervention in Latin America and the immigration crisis we face today. From the territorial ... See full summary »

Directors: Peter Getzels, Eduardo Lopez
Stars: Junot Diaz, Luis Enrique, Juan Gonzalez
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
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Seen through the eyes of activist Peter Jay Brown, Confessions grants the viewer an intimate look at shipboard life amongst these self proclaimed animal saviors and sea rebels who shaped ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Brown
Stars: Peter Brown, Robert Hunter, Paul Watson
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An American sets out with his motorbike to find both adventure and his sense of manhood, leading him on an extraordinary journey he could not have imagined, including fighting in the Libyan Revolution.

Director: Marshall Curry
Stars: Matthew Vandyke
A Tree Falls (2008)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

Two Iranian friends come to the US three years before the Iranian Revolution of 1979

Director: Hassan Sherkat
Stars: Paul Alayo, Sina Amedson, David Cardona
Documentary

A documentary feature about war journalism, following Janine Di Giovanni as she covers the conflict in Syria.

Director: Robert Rippberger
Stars: Janine di Giovanni, Nicole Tung, Omar Hattab
If a Tree Falls I (2014)
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: William Drexler
Stars: Cassie Buscemi, Golden Groves, Chad Hylton
Documentary | Short | News
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

The story of the Syrian revolution as told through the experiences of two young Syrians, a male rebel fighter and a female journalist, as they fight an oppressive regime for the freedom of their people.

Director: Matthew Vandyke
Stars: Omar Hattab, Nour Kelze
The Replacement Gods (Video 2012)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Edit

Cast

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
Edit

Storyline

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


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

|

Country:

|

Language:

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)

Gross:

$61,153 (USA) (19 August 2011)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Connections

References Burning the Future: Coal in America (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Toxic
Written by Cathy Dennis, Henry Jonback (as Henrik Jonback), Christian Karlsson, Pontus Winnberg (as Ptonus Johan Winnberg)
Performed by Britney Spears
Jive Records
Publishers/Administrators: Colgems EMI Music Inc. and Universal Polygram International Publishing Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

What makes a terrorist?
26 October 2011 | by (Birmingham, Alabama) – See all my reviews

What are the criteria for being a terrorist? What should be the criteria for a being a terrorist? Is an environmentalist who burns down the empty office of a logging company in the middle of the night comparable to crimes committed by people like Timothy McVeigh or Osama bin Laden? Is this crime to be put on the same legal shelf as those who fly planes into skyscrapers and kill thousands of people? Ask any three people and you are likely to get three different answers, after all, the people you ask probably aren't the ones going to prison for it.

Marshall Curry's documentary If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front begins by showing us some acts of "eco-terrorism", acts in which radical environmentalists whose peaceful protests have fallen on deaf ears and turned up the heat by setting fires to lumber mills, wild horse corrals, SUV dealerships and meat packing plants. They were called The Earth Liberation Front – or E.L.F. – unorganized group of radicals willing to cause millions of dollars in property damage in the name of keeping corporate America from destroying the planet. The knee-jerk reaction, of course, is to dismiss these individuals as a bunch of over-zealous ya-hoos who just enjoy watching things burn. Yet, the film is something more, as we watch it, we are taken into the lives of some of the members of the E.L.F. and begin to understand what they are fighting for. That leads to questions of whether or not their legal prosecution is really fair.

The E.L.F. get the attention of, not only their targets, but the F.B.I. who quickly labels the group as "The number one domestic terrorist threat" and launches a full-scale investigation of the individuals involved, an investigation that resembles in many ways the F.B.I.'s investigation of the mafia 50 years ago.

What is interesting is that even while we don't agree with what the E.L.F. is doing, the film gives us images that allow us to understand their point of view. We see footage of trees that have stood for thousands of years, blindly cut down. We see horse mills, with hundreds of dead horses hung from the ceiling. We see the heartbreaking sight of a group of legendary trees sawed down to make a parking lot.

We see the protesters themselves, camped out in the trees that are to be cut down, beaten and maced unmercifully by the local police. In a scene that resembles the riots of the 1960s, we see members of the E.L.F. with their faces covered marching into the streets and then beaten and clubbed. The irony is that the members of the group who are clearly guilty of vandalism haven't done any physical harm to other human beings but are being beaten down by law enforcement as if they were murderers.

Let us make no mistake, what the E.L.F doing is wrong, unlawful and is deserving a punishment by law, and yes, jail time. The point is that this film questions the severity of the extent of that punishment. Curry's film moves very deeply into that very question and wonders about the fate of Daniel McGowen, whose story provides the film's bookends, goes under house arrest in his sister's home until his trial in which it will be decided what kind of jail time he will do for the crime of arson. He seems like a nice kid with a sweet voice, somewhere in his mid-20s who smiles a lot, but has eyes that are much more thoughtful, focused and intelligent than most kids his age. When he goes to trial and receives his sentence, we aren't surprised that it is harsh. What does surprise us is the information that McGowan is now going to spend the rest of his life on the government's terrorist watchdog list. Why? His crime, at best, results in malicious vandalism. Why a life sentence on the same list as Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, the architect of the 9/11 attacks?


29 of 32 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