8.3/10
4,253
44 user 33 critic

Harlan County U.S.A. (1976)

A filmed account of a bitterly violent miner strike.

Director:

Barbara Kopple

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

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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
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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 »
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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 »
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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

Referenced in 30 Days in Hell: The Making of 'The Devil's Rejects' (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Miners Life
Traditional
Instrumental performed by David Morris's Band
See more »

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User Reviews

 
unique and enlightening documentary chronicles labor strike
16 June 1999 | by CatbuttSee all my reviews

This movie is a must-see for fans of socially active documentary film, or for those interested in the American labor movement.

It sometimes loses momentum as it documents the details of a particular labor strike in a mining town in rural Kentucky; yet that particular strike yields many memorable moments, including flashes of violence and revelatory dialogue. The company men are deliciously slick and slimy, and their goons are so ornery, that it's easy to forget that these people are real!

Where this film is at its best is where it uses historical footage and traditional labor songs to tie the strike to the larger past, and also where it explores other details of these people's lives -health issues, living conditions- that aren't specific to the strike. In this sense, the film becomes an important historical document of its own accord; unique, compelling, and enlightening to future generations.


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