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Bowling for Columbine (2002)

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Filmmaker Michael Moore explores the roots of America's predilection for gun violence.

Director:

Michael Moore

Writer:

Michael Moore
Won 1 Oscar. Another 40 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Michael Moore ... Himself - Narrator
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Salvador Allende ... Himself - President of Chile (archive footage)
Jacobo Arbenz Jacobo Arbenz ... Himself - President of Guatemala (archive footage)
Mike Bradley Mike Bradley ... Himself - Mayor of Sarnia, Ontario, Canada
Arthur A. Busch Arthur A. Busch ... Himself - County Prosecutor: Flint, Michigan (as Arthur Busch)
George Bush ... Himself (archive footage)
George W. Bush ... Himself (archive footage)
Michael Caldwell Michael Caldwell ... Himself - Police Detective
Richard Castaldo Richard Castaldo ... Himself - Columbine Victim
Dick Clark ... Himself
Bill Clinton ... Himself (archive footage)
Steve Davis Steve Davis ... Himself - Deputy Sheriff (archive footage)
Ngo Dinh Diem ... Himself - President of South Vietnam (archive footage)
Mike Epstein Mike Epstein ... Himself - Shopper in Mall
Joe Farmer Joe Farmer ... Himself - Superintendent of Schools (archive footage)
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Storyline

The United States of America is notorious for its astronomical number of people killed by firearms for a developed nation without a civil war. With his signature sense of angry humor, activist filmmaker Michael Moore sets out to explore the roots of this bloodshed. In doing so, he learns that the conventional answers of easy availability of guns, violent national history, violent entertainment and even poverty are inadequate to explain this violence when other cultures share those same factors without the equivalent carnage. In order to arrive at a possible explanation, Michael Moore takes on a deeper examination of America's culture of fear, bigotry and violence in a nation with widespread gun ownership. Furthermore, he seeks to investigate and confront the powerful elite political and corporate interests fanning this culture for their own unscrupulous gain. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

One Nation Under The Gun See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violent images and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Canada | Germany

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 November 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Akiryhtos polemos See more »

Filming Locations:

Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$209,148, 13 October 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$21,244,913, 11 May 2003

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$35,564,473, 31 December 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the highest-grossing documentary until 2004 when Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)--also directed by Michael Moore--made more in its opening weekend than this movie did in its entire run. See more »

Goofs

A clip of a Godzilla-type monster roaring is shown while showing gun-related death rates for Japan. The clip, however, is from Gorgo, which was a UK production. See more »

Quotes

[about accusations that he was responsible for Columbine killings]
Marilyn Manson: I definitely can see why they would pick me. Because I think it's easy to throw my face on the TV, because in the end, I'm a poster boy for fear. Because I represent what everyone is afraid of, because I say and do whatever I want.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the credits, there is a thank you to Mike's Militia - Athens Branch. This does not exist - Michael Moore, during his speaking engagement at Ohio University, to promote his book, "Stupid White Men," screened two versions of the "History of gun control" animated segment, which featured the same animation but different narration. The audience was asked to vote on which of the two versions should be included. After choosing a version, Moore claimed he would include Athens, Ohio and the audience in the credits, but wasn't sure what name to give credit to. Several suggestions were shouted out and Mike Michigan Militia, Athens, OH branch was finally chosen. See more »

Alternate Versions

In the theatrical release, a caption was inserted into a 1988 Bush-Quayle ad, "Revolving Doors," which read "Willie Horton released. Then kills again." In the DVD release, the caption reads "Willie Horton released. Then rapes a woman." Neither version makes it clear that the text was not part of the original ad. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Pressing the Public Opinion (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Bandstand Boogie
(1954)
Music by Charles Albertine, Larry Elgart, Les Elgart, and Bob Horn (1954)
Lyrics by Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman (1978)
Performed by Barry Manilow
Courtesy of Arista Records
Under license from BMG Special Projects
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Technique = 8... Honesty in Presentation = 0
12 July 2006 | by SurecureSee all my reviews

First let me say that, as a person (a Canadian for anybody who might question if all the negative reviews are from the USA) who doesn't care for guns and has no interest in them -- I've never even held one -- upon first viewing of "Bowling for Columbine" I was a fan. I loved this film. I even bought the DVD. I thought it was a brilliant documentary and that its presentation of the facts was spot on.

However, the scene where Moore talks about a bomber on display in the desert and the army plaque beneath it always made me wonder exactly how honest he was being, since what he claimed the plaque said sounded too outrageous to me. It kept on grating me until about a year later I began to actually research his film and found that nearly every single thing Moore presents in BFC is either heavily manipulated facts or bald-faced deceptions.

Take the scene of him getting a gun for opening an account at a bank. What he does not show is that there was a criminal background check including photo ID check and an FBI background check. Then, to get the gun, he had to open a 10 year Certificate of Deposit... basically he had to deposit nearly $1000 before he could get the gun, not the smartest idea compared to just buying a gun if that's the only intent. Even then, when Moore gets his gun and asks about the safety of handing out guns in the bank, the audience is duped into forgetting a large portion of Moore's handing-out-a-gun-at-a-bank safety joke: the bank doesn't supply the ammunition!

You even have his little cartoon where he tries to link the NRA to the KKK... never mind that him saying the NRA was formed the same year that the KKK was declared an illegal organization is 100% wrong... never mind that the NRA was actually formed by Northern Yankee's who fought AGAINST slavery... never mind that the NRA was primarily created in reaction to Southern laws that would ban blacks from owning firearms (the exact opposite of the cartoon's suggestion the NRA wanted to suppress blacks and leave them defenseless)... never mind that the cartoon is a South Park rip-off, presented after an interview with South Park creator Matt Stone in order to make it seem like the cartoon was made by the creators of South Park. I mean, no wonder Matt Stone hates Moore and made him a target of insults in his "Team America: World Police" movie. Talk about complete deception from every angle.

What's worse is that he is even hypocritical in how he talks about America's culture of fear and how the media tries to instill fear in the population, and yet that is EXACTLY what BFC is: a film that presents manipulated facts in order to create fear. Probably the best refutation of BFC one can find is the in-depth article by Dave Kopel called "Bowling Truths" that literally shreds BFC from beginning to end, showing it to be -- as he puts it -- more of a 'mockumentary' in the vein of "This is Spinal Tap" than a serious documentary outlining anything close to reality.

In terms of gun control issues, if you really want an intelligent look at the problems of gun control, check out the episode of Penn & Teller's Bullsh*t on gun control. Now THAT is an intelligent and more importantly an HONEST delving into gun control. But if you are looking for facts and honesty in subject matter, you couldn't find a worse choice than BFC.

BFC is insulting to anybody who would be willing to take the time and educate themselves on exactly how honest Moore is. If you think BFC is truthful and honest, go read Kopel's article (readily available on the net) and you'll see how much Moore stretches the truth. I mean, even the film's title is deceptive since -- as even the preliminary police report states -- the two shooters at Columbine never showed up for bowling that morning! I still own the DVD, if only to show people a perfect example of how sheep can be led around if they don't stop and ask whether what they are hearing is real. BFC offers little reality and a lot of political brouhaha that does little for intelligent discussion on gun control. In that, he has hurt the gun control movement more than he has helped it.

(And by the way, people in Canada do lock their doors. I have to wonder how many doors he had to try in order to get his shots of every door being open.)


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