8.3/10
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50 user 33 critic

Harlan County U.S.A. (1976)

A filmed account of a bitterly violent miner strike.

Director:

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

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Cast

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

Harlan County U.S.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 was selected into the National Film Registry in 1990 for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" 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 And the Oscar Goes To... (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Lone Prairie
by Roscoe Holcomb and Wade Ward
See more »

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User Reviews

Awesome Documentary
8 August 2006 | by harleydman1955See all my reviews

Thank you Ms. Kopple for your courage and resolve to show the world the struggle of a brave group of men and women who were willing to lay down their lives for what they believed. I am an ex-coal miner from Harlan County and I remember the Brookside strike vividly. You portrayed the sorrow and joy of these courageous families. When I was watching the documentary I was shocked to see a portion where union miners were at the bridge attempting to stop the scabs from crossing the bridge and going to work. I was one of those men who wanted to stand with their union brothers against the tyranny of the coal operators. This was the only time I was arrested in my entire life but the union organizer made sure we never spent one second behind bars. This gripping documentary brings back wonderful memories of a time in my life when I joined myself to a group of people I didn't know for a common cause. There is something refreshing about fighting for what you dearly believe in and you brought the struggle of many to light for the whole world to see. I only wish you had your camera with me when the state troopers roughed me up before putting me in the back seat of one of the cruisers. At this point I feared for my life because all of my union brothers were at the bridge and I was surrounded by scabs waiting for the bridge to clear so they could go to work. All previous comments were very touching to read from one who lived during those days and was involved almost daily manning the picket line for our union brothers. Peace!


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