8.3/10
4,340
45 user 33 critic

Harlan County U.S.A. (1976)

A filmed account of a bitterly violent miner strike.

Director:

Barbara Kopple

On Disc

at Amazon

Won 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Salesman (1969)
Documentary | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Four relentless door-to-door salesmen deal with constant rejection, homesickness and inevitable burnout as they go across the country selling very expensive bibles to low-income Catholic families.

Directors: Albert Maysles, David Maysles, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Paul Brennan, Charles McDevitt, James Baker
Grey Gardens (1975)
Documentary | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An old mother and her middle-aged daughter, the aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy, live their eccentric lives in a filthy, decaying mansion in East Hampton.

Directors: Ellen Hovde, Albert Maysles, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Edith Bouvier Beale, Edith 'Little Edie' Bouvier Beale, Brooks Hyers
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Chronicles the six-month strike at Hormel in Austin, Minnesota, in 1985-86. The local union, P-9 of the Food and Commercial Workers, overwhelmingly rejects a contract offer with a $2/hour ... See full summary »

Directors: Barbara Kopple, Cathy Caplan, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Jesse Jackson, Juan Munoz, Ray Rogers
Documentary | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A documentary following Kenzo Okuzaki, a 62-year-old WW2 veteran notorious for his protests against Emperor Hirohito, as he tries to expose the needless executions of two Japanese soldiers during the war.

Director: Kazuo Hara
Stars: Kenzo Okuzaki, Riichi Aikawa, Masaichi Hamaguchi
Gimme Shelter (1970)
Certificate: GP Documentary | Music | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A harrowing documentary of the Stones' 1969 tour, with much of the focus on the tragic concert at Altamont.

Directors: Albert Maysles, David Maysles, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Mick Taylor
Documentary | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

An examination of the conflicting attitudes of the opponents of the Vietnam War.

Director: Peter Davis
Stars: Tin Chan, Chau Diem, Ngo Dinh Diem
Harlan County War (TV Movie 2000)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A Kentucky woman whose mine-worker husband is nearly killed in a cave-in, and whose father is slowly dying of black lung disease, joins the picket lines for a long, violent strike.

Director: Tony Bill
Stars: Holly Hunter, Stellan Skarsgård, Ted Levine
Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A documentary of the successful career and assassination of San Francisco's first elected gay city supervisor.

Director: Rob Epstein
Stars: Harvey Fierstein, Harvey Milk, Anne Kronenberg
Hoop Dreams (1994)
Documentary | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A film following the lives of two inner-city Chicago boys who struggle to become college basketball players on the road to going professional.

Director: Steve James
Stars: William Gates, Arthur Agee, Emma Gates
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Impersonal but beautiful images of Akerman's life in New York are combined with letters from her loving but manipulative mother, read by Akerman herself.

Director: Chantal Akerman
Stars: Chantal Akerman
Nora Prentiss (1947)
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Quiet, organised Dr Talbot meets nightclub singer Nora Prentiss when she is slightly hurt in a street accident. Despite her misgivings they become heavily involved and Talbot finds he is ... See full summary »

Director: Vincent Sherman
Stars: Ann Sheridan, Kent Smith, Bruce Bennett
Sans Soleil (1983)
Documentary | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A woman narrates the contemplative writings of a seasoned world traveler, focusing on contemporary Japan.

Director: Chris Marker
Stars: Florence Delay, Arielle Dombasle, Riyoko Ikeda
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Norman Yarborough Norman Yarborough ... Himself - Eastover Mining President
Houston Elmore Houston Elmore ... Himself - UMW organizer
Phil Sparks Phil Sparks ... Himself - UMW staff
John Corcoran John Corcoran ... Himself - Consolidated Coal President
John O'Leary John O'Leary ... Himself - former Bureau of Mines director
Donald Rasmussen Donald Rasmussen ... Himself - Blackwing Clinic, WV (as Dr. Donald Rasmussen)
Hawley Wells Jr. Hawley Wells Jr. ... Himself (as Dr. Hawley Wells Jr.)
Tom Williams Tom Williams ... Himself - Boyle campaigner
Chip Yablonski Chip Yablonski ... Himself
Ken Yablonski Ken Yablonski ... Himself
Logan Patterson Logan Patterson ... Himself - negotiator
Harry Patrick Harry Patrick ... Himself - UMW secretary-treasurer
Mike Trbovich Mike Trbovich ... Himself - UMW VP
Bernie Aronson Bernie Aronson ... Himself - UMW staff
Guy Farmer Guy Farmer ... Himself - BCPA General Counsel
Edit

Storyline

This film documents the coal miners' strike against the Brookside Mine of the Eastover Mining Company in Harlan County, Kentucky in June, 1973. Eastovers refusal to sign a contract (when the miners joined with the United Mine Workers of America) led to the strike, which lasted more than a year and included violent battles between gun-toting company thugs/scabs and the picketing miners and their supportive women-folk. Director Barbara Kopple puts the strike into perspective by giving us some background on the historical plight of the miners and some history of the UMWA. Written by Martin Lewison <lewison+@pitt.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 September 1977 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Eparhia Harlan I.P.A. See more »

Filming Locations:

Brookside, Kentucky, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Cabin Creek See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #334. See more »

Quotes

Hawley Wells Jr.: [... ] that was when I learned my first real political lesson, about what happens when you take a position against the coal operators, against the capitalists... I found out that the union officials were working with the coal companies. I also found that the Catholic hierarchy was working with the coal companies. Here was a combination of the whole thing, you see: you had to bump against the whole combination of them.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Cinéma Vérité: Defining the Moment (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Coal Tatoo
Additional Lyrics and Sung by David Morris
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A gripping reality that still exists in America.
7 May 2003 | by emma502See all my reviews

Dirt roads, no plumbing, wages lower than the standard living condition rates, abused mentally and physically by a large monopolistic corporation, and a lack of a full education are all factors that led to the strike of the minors in Harlan County. A county that time as well as the nation forgot. A county that did not progressed on beyond the persecution and disgraceful treatment of the 1930's proletariat. A county where the average man lived in constant fear that there would not be a constant and or adequate income; where the only way to see change was to unite and to revolt by any means to force people to see the intolerable conditions that they live in.

This documentary was filmed over a period of 4 years which in turn showed the lack of speed for a change from a peon work ethic to one of equality. The men of the mine saw the results that a union in other parts of the country and the standard of living that most Americans enjoyed as compared to their own situation. The community of Harlan County had a desire for change from an almost forced labor to one where the worker could make choices, have health care and to not live from pay check to pay check. The men and the woman were willing to risk everything for a better future for their children. The wives of the minors not only lived in the same conditions but had the same drive for changes and a difference. The women not only increased the numbers for picket lines but they also brought the importance of the strike to an `at home' feel. The rough terrain, harsh living community, and dirty, dingy way of life that a miner and a miner's family lived in was adequately represented in the film via the raw nature of the interviews and the in the field live spontaneous coverage. You as the viewer did not sit back and watch the film but instead were brought in to the lives of these men and woman. The filming brought a sense to the audience that you were there on the picket line, you felt the terror of being attacked, and you experienced the chaos when shots were fired at unarmed citizens. The falling of the camera and the blackness of the shot exemplifies the nature of not understanding what was going on at that moment. This in your face type of filming also show all aspects of what a strike of this nature entails. The viewer saw the aftermath and hospitalization of the battles between unarmed men and the `gun -thugs' sent to end picket lines. Like Bordwall and Thompson state the film crew used was small and more mobile, this not only rejected the traditional ideals of script and structure but also allowed the film makers to almost disappear into the back ground and let the action unfold in font of their eyes. This form of filming were there is a no holds bar or in your face tactic shows all portions of the incident, meaning that there is a feeling that the camera was never turned off. It brought light to a subject that most would not have known about, a subject that it profoundly influenced. The press that such documentaries bring to these hidden incidents carries a strong level of change and importance that otherwise would not be there. The filming of these events is intense. The film must express the telling of a complete story, one that ties the events that previously unfolded through the elapsed filming time to a coherent ending, being it either good or bad. The documentary film is a modern day form of passing on a lesson or an experience to a new audience, the modern day word of mouth story telling.


21 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 45 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed