Bowling for Columbine (2002) Poster

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A guerrilla for non violence
Chris Knipp14 December 2002
`Bowling for Columbine,' is a very thought provoking film.

Perhaps the first thought it provokes in any US resident is that the most sensible thing he or she could possibly do is move forthwith to Canada. It's nearby, they speak English almost indistinguishable from standard American, it feels `lighter over there,' you get government health care, there are plenty of guns but very little killing, and you don't even have to lock your doors.

The fundamental question `Bowling for Columbine' asks is: What's responsible for the exceptionally high level of killing in America? Not a lot of guns, Moore points out, because other countries have that. Not a violent history, because other countries have that. Not a love of violent movies, video games, and so forth, because other countries love all that too. Not poverty, unemployment, and ethnic diversity, because lots of countries have more poverty and Canada has as much ethnic diversity and more unemployment. Two things, according to Moore, are primary causes: the US media, which, as he shows, fans up fear constantly among the American populace; and the government in Washington, which solves everything by bombing people somewhere. There's a third thing that emerges more subtly: a gun culture, which leads to the absurd notion of self-defense, perpetuating the violence and the fear and the racism. In this the leading force is that powerful lobby, the National Rifle Association. The result of this lethal combination delineated by Moore, particularly since 9/11, is that Americans aren't very happy people: they live in a constant state of rage, perturbation, and fear, when they're not disolved in tears for the dead who're falling in the houses and streets and schools of the country on a daily basis.

`Bowling for Columbine' isn't ultimately very cheery or uplifting stuff. True, it has lots of laughs, but most of them are ironic - a little sick-making, when you think about it -- and at American expense. Those of us who live in the USA and don't actually regard moving to Canada (or somewhere else) as a real option, aren't walking out of this polemical documentary feeling any too cheerful. One may quarrel with Moore's style, though it seems questionable that so many reviewers have expressed disapproval of his personal appearance (what's sloppy dressing got to do with it?). One can hardly quarrel with most of Moore's basic facts or the urgency of his subject or his commitment to it. Because of its significance to Americans on both personal and national levels, "Bowling for Columbine" has to be considered the most important (and it's becoming the most watched) US documentary film in many a year. This is being recognized in all sorts of ways, first of all with the special jury prize at Cannes. We shall see what the Academy has to say.

It's impressive that Moore and two young men seriously injured at Columbine were able by their confrontations to shame Wal-Mart into taking handguns and ammunition out of their stores - and Moore appears to have been surprised and impressed by this result himself.

Moore has seemed crude and simplistic and confrontational in the past. His methods have not radically changed, but they've modulated into something subtler and less self-serving, such that he has an ability to talk more easily with potential adversaries -- bank employees giving out rifles with new accounts; Michigan militiamen; even Charlton Heston, the haughty President of the National Rifle Association, who invites Moore into his house to film a conversation. True, Heston ends up walking out of the room after a while, but he doesn't have Moore thrown out. Nor does Wal-Mart. This is significant. One is tempted to call Moore's methods (as he wields them today) not crude and simplistic and confrontational, but direct, simple, and honest. There's something unimposing and Middle American about his overweight slouch and scruffy baseball cap crowned head. If he lives in a house worth close to $2 million in New York now, you can't tell it from looking at him, and that consciously maintained persona, if we choose to see it thus, aids him in moving through Littleton, Colorado and Windsor, Ontario, and the other places where he got the footage for this devastating, yet simple film. For credibility among US gun-toters like Heston, Moore has an ace in the hole: he's an expert marksman and a lifetime member of the NRA.

Heston walks out because he hasn't good answers; in fact he really hasn't any answers at all. His explanations for why the USA is so violent are ones Moore has already discounted, and he can't justify his brazenly fronting for the National Rifle Association in Colorado and Michigan right after the child murders by children in those two states. Marilyn Manson (the artist accused of complicity at Columbine because the young killers liked his music) in contrast has not only good answers, but also the greatest zinger in the film. When asked what he would have said to the youth at Columbine after the murders, he says: `Not a word. I'd have listened to them. That's what nobody has been doing.' In between telling interviews, Moore has various ways of documenting contexts: an animation, recited statistics with images, and astonishing film clips like the Fifties one of cops admiring how realistic some kids' toy guns are, and the one from a metal-detector company pushing for dress codes in schools, showing a boy with baggy pants unloading a whole arsenal. What's laughable are all such solutions that don't even begin to get at the problem - that are just profiteering from chaos and insecurity.

It's encouraging that so many people are seeing and commenting on this movie. When it was over, I wished the lights would go up and there'd be a discussion group held right there in the auditorium. There was a lot to talk about. Not everything was by any means clear, nor were all the facts to be bought without question. But in one way or another, `Bowling for Columbine' brings up all the most central issues in America today. Michael Moore makes you laugh and cry; but most important, he makes you think.
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A movie that should be mandatory for all politicians
octomagneto16 March 2004
Yes Mr. Moore may lean left, and yes he may not be the most objective documentarian.

However the facts stand: America has many, many more deaths attributed to guns than any other nation. It's a sad truth.

Unfortunately Mr. Moore has been vilified for asking why. And typical of the "head-stuck-in- the-sand" mentality of the far right, they are angry for his work, not at the facts.

This movie is well done and if you're left, right, in-between, gun nut, or responsible gun owner it is definitely worth viewing.

I suspect most of the negative comments posted about this movie at IMDB and similar sites are by people who haven't seen the movie. They're just angry at what they perceive the movie to be.

It isn't a movie about gun control. It's a movie that merely ask why so many deaths.

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preppy-321 October 2002
Documentary by Michael Moore about the NRA and America's fascination with guns. Much of the footage deals with Columbine and the case in which a 6 year old boy shot to death a 6 year old girl. It all culminates in an interview with the head of the NRA Charlton Heston.

Riveting, chilling, hilarious and absolutely incredible movie despite what your views are on the gun issue. Moore's views are definetely anti-gun but he does try to show the opposite side also. Moore questions why there are so many killings in America by guns and almost none in other countries. He gives no real answers to this question but he raises a lot of interesting points and theories. I walked out of the theatre very shaken but, in a way, exhilirated. This is truly a great documentary.

I'm not going to review this fully--it's a movie you should see for yourself. A definite must-see.
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A liberal's critique
illusoryjane2 August 2004
This movie was entertaining and interesting, but in certain ways it left me wanting. Michael Moore himself is somewhat irritating, and I found myself wishing he kept more to the background than he does. At the same time, the conclusions that he draws are compelling and pragmatic. This movie was not designed to be an argument. It was not designed to sway the viewer. It was designed to fuel the fire of the already convinced. Though I think that this is Moore's intent (concluded from interviews I've read), I feel that goal could be reached at the same time as convincing a few fence-sitters, and that would have made the film more powerful.

I have two main complaints regarding this movie:

First, I felt that Michael Moore sometimes crossed lines in his interviews that in no way seemed to further his cause or drive his point home. He interviews people as though looking for his answer, not their answer, and particularly seemed to be trying to strike a blow at the conservative masses. I thought this distracted the genuinity and plausibility of the conclusions that he drew. It must be said that the conclusions that Moore drew are of a nature that strikes at conservative politics. However, I felt that the facts he represented spoke for themselves, and that the blows should not have been dealt to conservative interviewees by asking questions designed to get emotional responses out of them.

Second, I found some of the statistics needed to be qualified with per capitas or percentages. When comparing the United States to England, for instance, it is important to take population differences and density into consideration. Straight statistics do not apply. I think the statistics were somewhat skewed by this oversight, however according to some rough guesstimates I made, it wouldn't have diminished Moore's point, only made it less dramatic (which would, indeed, have strengthened his case).

These two complaints hint at an even larger problem, however, and that is this: Because Moore presents his case in this way, he can never hope to have his message truly heard by anyone who isn't already on his side.
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The key to understanding the american dream (or nightmare?)
cbudtz30 May 2003
This movie makes me feel that it is the first time i just remotely understand the American society. Michael Moore explores the darkest side of America - the society built on fear. Fear of terrorists, fear of the coloureds fear of your neighbor. It appears that americans have lost perspective, not noticing the real dangers of life: pollution, traffic, e.t.c. With TV-channels telling stories only about violence and terrorism and populistic politicians scaring people to vote for them Americans trust only in themselves.

Michael Moore tries with this movie to make the Americans consider and think for themselves being rationals, and to tell the rest of the world how the American society works. Really something to think about... See it, its necessary
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Major funding from Canada?
ster200127 July 2004
I watched this for the first time and pretty much like it. But something kept nagging at me. I am a pretty liberal person and believe in Gun control but I really have always liked Charlton Heston and couldn't believe he was as bad as he's portrayed here. So I did a little research and found out that his speech was so horribly butchered by Moore that he totally changed the meaning Heston was going for. Also Moore inserted a shot of Heston waving a gun over his head that was taped at a NRA function a year later in some other location and then cut in so it looked like it was part of his speech in Denver after the Columbine shooting. Moore never mentions that the meeting was planned way before the Columbine shooting and couldn't be canceled realistically in that short period of time.

Other things found out. The Footage of the Dog with the gun is faked. The bank at the beginning mailed the guns to customers from a warehouse 400 miles away. They didn't hand them out in the bank the way its portrayed and the guns in the bank were models. The Foreign death statistics don't take into account police shootings(the US figures do) and they are not adjusted for the differences in population and a few of them he took the lowest death toll in a given period instead of an average???

The scene with Dick Clark was another one that I just couldn't believe. Is he really that rotten? Turns out the the six year old's mother had lost custody of all her kids and was a convicted drug dealer. She had three children all from different father's and her son was not in her custody and living with a drug dealing uncle in a crack house with guns and Knives all over the place. Moore conveniently leaves all this out and tries to make Dick Clark the bad guy for employing the kids mother at minimum wage. When Moore approaches Clark he does it at the worst possible time. Why? because Moore WANTS Clark to get angry and close the door in his face. I'd shut the door in his face too. What's going on here? The list goes on and on and I'll leave it up to the inquisitive viewer to do a little research into how this films was made as almost all of the major points Moore is trying to make have been altered or major points left out to get his personal view across. And what's with Canada being portrayed as something almost bordering on Utopia? Did Moore ever mention that the film got major funding from Canadian government money through a Canadian production company!! And I have friends in Canada and they LOCK the doors!

I agree with what Moore is setting out to do but the film really never draws any conclusions and his tactics are not in line with what's considered Non-fiction. I almost felt Moore's tactics were as disturbing as the subject matter. When you have to distort the truth to such an extent and not even realize or admit to it, based on the way Moore defends everything in the film as the truth, is a very disturbing trend. This film has a tremendous power to influence people and they should really know the whole truth not Michael Moore's truth. Anything else truly is "fiction"
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Soapbox central
ferrero13 September 2003
I will keep this short Moore uses film to preach his beliefs. Some of them may be valid, I just enjoy the fact that most movies don't shove their views down my throat. The worst thing about this movie is how he distorts the truth. It would have been better if he would have been honest in his message but to lie to prove your point, well it is lost on me. I find Moore to be very obnoxious.
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Moore Bowls Gutter Balls in Columbine Film
nikone15 December 2002
Moore Bowls Gutter Balls in Columbine Film

by Ari Armstrong

What are we to make of a documentary that claims to discuss violence in America, but fails to even mention a policy responsible for raising U.S. homicide rates at least 25%?

At the end of his film Bowling for Columbine, director Michael Moore bowls a strike. Unfortunately, his film is less successful. He heaves mightily and knocks down a few pins, but he also rolls some gutter balls.

Economist Jeffrey Miron of Boston University found "drug and alcohol prohibition have substantially raised the homicide rate in the United States over much of the past 100 years" by an estimated 25-75%. Why? Prohibition creates violent black markets. It's a simple theory supported by the evidence.

So, in his rambling exploration of many other facets of violence in America, why does Moore completely ignore the domestic consequences of prohibition? Such an omission is inexcusable, and it indicates Moore's social agenda trumps any serious effort to come to grips with the problem.

That said, at times Moore's work is chillingly poignant. During one segment, he shows frame after frame of botched U.S. foreign policy moves. The U.S. helps kill or otherwise remove one leader of a struggling nation, only to see the rise of an even worse leader. The U.S. has supported both Saddam Hussein and the Taliban, though in retrospect that support seems to have been unwise. Moore's critique of American "foreign entanglements" mirrors libertarian concerns.

On the morning of the Columbine murders, Moore points out, President Clinton was on television announcing the latest American bombing raid in Kosovo. Just an hour later, Clinton was back on TV discussing the suburban terror. Is senseless violence on the personal level linked to the mass violence of the state? It's possible, but Moore doesn't demonstrate a causal connection.

Shock-rocker Marilyn Manson continues this theme by pointing out the president has more influence than Manson does. Manson blames the "campaign of fear and consumption" constantly bombarding Americans. However, Manson's suggestion that his music is a healthy "escape" is as ludicrous as his critics' assertions that Manson's music somehow drives people to mayhem.

Moore notes the Columbine killers also attended a morning bowling class, so why not blame bowling? Moore's comparison is silly, but he does raise the excellent point that people shouldn't look for scapegoats following a tragedy.

Which brings us to another of Moore's gutter balls. Scapegoating is precisely what Moore does, only his victim is the American gun owner rather than Marilyn Manson.

At one point, Moore places a picture of the young victim of the Buell school shooting against a ledge of Charlton Heston's house. Moore seems to think Heston is somehow to blame for the death, and he asks Heston to apologize.

Moore also took a couple of Columbine victims to K-Mart and used media pressure to convince the chain to stop selling ammunition. He describes this as an "overwhelming victory." Yet his self-serving media stunt accomplished the same thing keeping Manson out of Denver accomplished: exactly nothing.

In his incoherent badmouthing of corporations, Moore neglects to remind us that his film was released by a large corporation, his equipment was manufactured by corporations, and his work was advertised by corporate web pages and media outlets. This doesn't prove Moore's case is wrong, but it does prove he's not self-reflective.

Moore offers some needed criticism of American media, especially television news programs. One person Moore interviews notes that, even as the American murder rate plummeted, television coverage of murders dramatically expanded, thus giving viewers a false impression of reality.

Moore rightly rails against racism. Many white Americans have an irrational fear of black males, and this encourages a violent mindset. That's a needed criticism. Unfortunately, Moore seeks to replace bigotry against blacks with bigotry against gun owners.

Many of my gun-owning friends are doctors, lawyers, professors, and professionals. Does Moore interview anybody representative of the American gun owner? Of course not. Does he interview any scholar who is an expert on crime and firearms, such as David Kopel, John Lott, Gary Kleck, or Don Kates? Of course not. To do so would be to treat the matter seriously rather than fan the flames of prejudice.

Moore cites the gun-homicide statistics for a variety of countries with lower numbers than in the U.S., but he conveniently omits countries with more stringent gun laws and higher gun-homicide rates.

He also ignores the fact that England's gun bans have been followed by an increase in violent crime there, including gun-related crime. All the evidence that demonstrates lawfully carrying a handgun or keeping a defensive gun in the home deters criminals is totally suppressed.

Moore does wonder why Canada has a relatively high gun-ownership rate yet fewer murders. He concludes there is something wrong with American culture.

He's right about that: there is something wrong. He rightly points to poverty and America's racist past as part of the problem, even though he looks to failed welfare schemes to solve poverty -- whereas libertarians look to repeal the government interventions (such as prohibition) that have perpetuated it.

But Moore overstates his case. He thinks America is a nation of fear and paranoia. But in some ways he feeds into the same media frenzy he criticizes in his film. Yes, some Americans have problems with violence, bigotry, and paranoia. However, the vast majority of Americans, including the vast majority of American gun owners, lead basically responsible and healthy lifestyles. This basic fact seems not to assist Moore in his quixotic crusades.
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Technique = 8... Honesty in Presentation = 0
Surecure12 July 2006
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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One of the most thought provoking movies.
emma5027 May 2003
What has become of the United States? Is there any difference from the United States that was formed by Puritans and tried to escape from persecution under the British flag? Has there always been a different mentality for the American than that of any other nationality of individual? After September 11th Michael Moore the director and writer set out to make a documentary that addressed these and other embedded questions that are addressed everyday in our news media, school systems, homes, stores and street corners. Attempting to address all sides of the issues as a person of the media Moore used not only his own experiences, his connection to the NRA, but also other persons opinions that ranged from Charlton Hesston, the well known president of the NRA and famous actor, to the average American that was confronted with the violent acts that resulted from the accessibility of fire arms. This documentary took a new approach to the display of information. Not only was animation used to explain history, American's imbedded fear of their own neighbors, but it also used rock music ( gave a beat or a pulse to the film that progress from slow to fast as the intensity of the issues progressed), sarcasm, interviews, and casual conversations. Moore traveled the country to talk to all those that make up the spectrum of the American society, he traveled to the scenes of some of the more recent American tragedies, made impromptu stops in corporations such as Kmart (where the boys from Columbine bought the ammunition used in the shooting), and traveled to Canada to get an outside or foreign opinion. The idea was to move away from the documentary style of `talking heads'; he wanted a film that would not only touch a chord with the American people but one that would also be readily watched. This idea also made the documentary, that there was too much influence placed on the `words of the professional' or the ` findings of the expert'; that these findings and misleadings flooded the news at night to increase the amount of fear that the average American has as it looked for a scape-goat to blame. The information that Moor presented in his documentary did not technically follow a pre-described narrative, but followed more of a form where the audience was left areas to think and to breakdown the information. Elements of the circular narrative were the foundation of the film, where similar elements in opinions and the common American we continually addressed. Yet, the only problem that could be addressed is one of the ways in which Moore collected some of his data. Some might see a use of trickery or manipulation was used on his part to get the responses and such passion-filled opinions stated. While others would see the same information in the light that no instigation was needed, that people have these strong beliefs, opinions and are willing to talk about them but they lack the examples or understanding of the topic to take a well informed stand on one side or the other. Such a problem is not new in the world of documentaries when controversial data is presented to the public. Moore did a great job of presenting a delicate subject to the American people and was deserving of the Academy Award for the project.
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THIS got the Oscar?
down2cabo200014 April 2004
Okay, I get it - Michael Moore is outspoken, tells it like HE wants us to see it and he's a master of that craft. I have seen a lot of documentaries in my twenty-two years on this planet, so I can put my hands on my hips and cluck like chicken about how obvious it was that there was a popularity contest at Oscar's in 2003 when this film was selected, but then again, it was well executed. Maybe I'm just upset about how Michael Moore used THAT platform to express his political views that night, (I know, I know - enough already) but he is truly a unique and gutsy filmmaker. I do look forward to seeing more of his films in the past and it will be interesting to see if they 'nominate' his next film weather or not Oprah endorses it, with fear of what he might say or do on stage. At any rate, keep up the good work.
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canada seems a bit welcoming...
illharmonics001 February 2003
Michael Moore does this country a great justice with this film. He exposes the crazy, ultra-militant underbelly of American culture without spreading a bunch of liberal-slanted accusations that would taint the message. In fact, he has several conservative moments, including one where he doffs his lifetime NRA membership card before Charlton Heston.

Moore is quick to point out the paranoid American blame cycle that is the stain on our collective carpet. When bad things happen (or might happen) Americans are quick to single out the immediately convenient scapegoat, but are hardpressed to focus the microscope on the bigger picture of our progressively crumbling society. Especially as compares to other European nations and the relatively placid Canada, who are made out to be a paragon of virtue by comparison.

Between this even-handed film and the fact that I was forced to sign my life over to Selective Service to obtain college funding, I have the funny feeling I'll be seeing the better side of the Great Lakes soon. And to add to this joy, Bowling for Columbine gives any rational thinker the fuel to stand up to the most bigoted, indoctrinated, flag-waving apple pie die for your government pigeon.
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More Infactual Opinion From Moore
Theo Robertson8 August 2004
Is this supposed to be education from Michael Moore ? Okay people prepare to be educated

Moore sets himself up as some working class intellectual but the gist of this documentary is based on stats , half truths and most importantly of all - Points that seem to have been missed out on purpose

For example BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE centres around " America's astronomical murder rate " insinuating that the murder rate in that country is head and above any other country when it's not . Moore misses out the fact that per head of population the USA doesn't have the world's highest murder rate . That unwanted record is held by Mexico . Both Colombia and South Africa have higher murder rates per head of population than the US . He also fails to point out that many American states do have gun bans . New York for example has a total hand gun ban and the penalty for having an automatic weapon there is life imprisonment . He doesn't come out and say that anyone , everywhere in America can pop into any shop and buy as many guns and as much ammo as they want , but he heavily suggests it which misleads the uninformed

Moore also misses out other points about the American death tolls from murder . If you study American murder rates you'll see a clear connection between the American government banning things . For example the prohibition of alcholic drink in the 1920s led to a massive crime wave of killing as gangsters fought to take over the black market due to the drinks ban . As drugs started to flood into the cities of America in the 1960s the murder rate rose as people tried to muscle in on the hard drugs trade to the point where now many US cities are battle zones . It's not the fault of guns that so many people are murdered - It's the fault of drugs and the massive profits they generate that are leading to violence in America . This information doesn't seem to creep into Moore's hidden agenda . Of course if the American government of the day decided to legalise all drugs the gangs and dealers would become instantly disenfranchised , but this suggestion would seem to be too liberterian for Moore .

We're also treated to a wonderful piece of hypocrisy by Moore when he mentions that on the day of the Columbine school massacre the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia reached its peak . You may remember that because the Serbs were engaged in a violent conflict against Islamic insurgents ( America is doing something very similar today in Iraq ) NATO decided to bomb the Serbs until they pulled their troops out of Kosovo . Moore seems to be against the bombing of Yugoslavia in this documentary . What he doesn't tell you is that the NATO airstrikes were under the command of Wesley Clark , the same Wesley Clark who later ran for the Democratic Presidential nomination and the same Wesley Clark WHO MOORE LATER BACKED FOR DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION !

And being a Michael Moore documentary we are treated once again to Louis Armstrong's What A Wonderful World contrasting to images of human suffering. Moore has made a career out of this technique and it's not even his idea because he's stolen it from Barry Levinson in GOOD MORNING Vietnam

My own opinion of BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE is that it's polemical rubbish , uninformative and just plain misleading . I also found it stomach churning that Moore is awarded every film gong going because he makes documentaries centered around human tragedy . His fans will point out that Moore's advertising the fact that guns are responsible for a terrible death toll in which case I'll point out Moore is benefitting from this terrible death toll via this documentary and the praise and awards it received . I wonder how his fans feel about that as they rush out to watch his latest documentary or buy his latest book ?
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At first I believed it then I found now I believe moore is a liar.
Kage_a24 September 2004
I was amazed that this movie was so full of lies and nobody seem to notice! Do yourself a favor; after you watch the movie go to and get the rest of the story. When I first watched the movie I didn't notice all the creative editing and obvious lies. After doing some research (which there is a lot of info on this guy) I found out that he doctored up the movie to make the NRA appear to be awful people. He says that this movie isn't trying to point the finger at guns. After analyzing this "documentary" there is nothing else he could be blaming. Furthermore, he always has some petition or another on his website trying to get people to ban something firearm related. In all reality the is a anti-gun and anti-NRA movie. Moore tries to hide his agenda behind some creative scenes and fails miserably.
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should convince any impartial viewer...
proud_highway14 May 2004
Warning: Spoilers
that michael moore is an obnoxious self-aggrandizing windbag... an incredibly overrated director who combines the crude rhetorical style of conservative media hacks like ann coulter with the nutty politics and unconvincing "millionaire spokesman for the common man" persona of ralph nader... basically just a left-wing version of rush limbaugh, only fatter.

anyone who honestly thinks that "bowling for columbine" is an accurate and thoughtful investigation of violent crime in american society does not live in the united states (as the demographic data on this website clearly illustrates) or is ideologically predisposed to agree with any crackpot theory that moore spits out. *obligatory spoiler warning* the critically acclaimed documentary is a rambling, poorly-focused melange of isolated statistics, erroneous insinuations (including a crappy cartoon suggesting that the NRA was established in conjunction with the ku klux klan), lame anecdotal evidence, sappy appeals to the audiences' emotions, and incredibly dull diatribes about irrelevant topics like air pollution and health care reform.

moore does, however, manage to pose an interesting question... why does canada, where gun ownership is common and violence-laced american forms of entertainment are popular, have lower violent crime rates than the united states? unfortunately, his laughably inept attempts to answer that question leave much to be desired. in "bowling for columbine" we are told that students sometimes shoot their classmates because k-mart sells cheap bullets, the CIA armed paramilitary groups in central america during the 1980s, and television news programs somehow turn ordinary people into racist lunatics. with stunningly tortured logic, moore also decides to blame former president clinton for declaring war on a murderous serbian dictator as well as dick clark for owning a restaurant that hired a single mother on welfare.

in a disingenuous interview with NRA president charlton heston, moore crosses the line between mildly entertaining leftist buffoon and self-righteous jerk. with pointed questions and shameful editing, moore portrays the aging actor, who suffers from alzhiemer's disease, as a bigoted old fossil. take a minute to read heston's biography on this website... he was an active member of the civil rights movement when moore was probably sitting in his parents' garage eating paint chips and sniffing model glue.

the target audience of smirking gullible foreigners, aging hippies, and naive latte-sipping college students will probably enjoy "bowling for columbine"... but anyone who does not already assume that america is overrun by heavily-armed, delusional sociopaths will find it tiresome and unconvincing... (2/10)
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Manipulative and Full of Holes
buster271 February 2003
Michael Moore contradicts himself during several arguments throughout this film. Saying it is ridiculous to blame Marilyn Manson for what happened at Colombine and then turning around and blaming the media for it's coverage of violence and Lockheed/Martin for making weapons. Portraying Canada as a wonderland of government programs for everyone without mentioning it's unemployment rate or insane taxes that pay for these programs. (And did anyone else notice the guy he used as an example of a minority in Canada was later revealed to be from Detroit?) The self depricating animated history was entertaining, but untrue and one sided. It basically said America's gun problem was the result of white people's fear of minorities. The use of the girl who was killed in Michigan and blaming it on the welfare system that "forced her killer's mother to get a job in another city" was pure manipulation. Why not blame the uncle for not locking up his gun so his nephew couldn't have access to it? Out of the 11,000 gun deaths each year in the US how many are Columbines or fourth graders killing each other? These kinds of things are rare. Yes, everyone agrees that gun violence is a huge problem in this country and it is tragic when anyone is killed. This documentary failed to deal with the real issues. What about the majority of gun deaths? What is at the root of those? Lockheed/Martin? The media? Poverty? I don't know and neither does Michael Moore. He spent the whole movie asking questions to people (Heston for one) and pointing to their failure to answer as proof that they were wrong without ever answering the questions himself. Finding the most sympathy inducing stories and presenting them as examples of the gun violence in America while using statistics that have very little to do with those examples is manipulation.
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Spread The Word People - We Want This Film In Top 250!
Cydone25 January 2003
I have seen this flick 2 times now, and it only gets better, the message stands even clearer now in my mind.

Therefor I urge people, especially now, to spread the word about this movie, people must see this and hopefully reflect on the subjects laid out in front of us.

Would be nice to get this one in the top 250, as it is perhaps the most most important film of our time!

Yes, it is time...
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More serious than previous Michael Moore films
JohnnyCNote20 January 2003
I finally got to see Bowling tonight (the marquee said "Bowling of Columbine"). It started off with Moore's trademark mix of serious political commentary and humor, but as it moved on it became more grave in tone, making several interesting points and raising some very disturbing questions.

Some have criticized him for playing loose with the facts, but these overlook the important questions it asks. It's particularly relevant in these days of impending war with Iraq.
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What's wrong with America?
saxman4298 January 2003
Bowling for Columbine is perhaps the most honest and truthful documentary I have seen in a longe time. Michael Moore manages to debunk the myth that Americans are a righteous people. He does this by pointing to numerous references in American history where the government has overthrown regimes in favor of dictators and other militant groups. At the heart of his argument, however, is gun control. Moore poses the question: Why does Canada have a much lower death rate due to gun violence than the United States when Canadians seem to have the same obsession with guns? Moore points out that roughly 12000 deaths occur in America as opposed to the few hundred in Canada.

To answer this question, Moore goes to Canada, where he talks to ordinary citizens. As one student remarks, Americans seem to want to fight over everything instead of talk things out. Perhaps, as Moore suggests, there is something wrong with the very framework our country is built upon.

An interview with Charleton Heston, the President of the NRA, is shocking. What he answers to Moore's proposed question will astonish many.

Overall, it is satisfying that rational and clear-headed individuals such as Moore still exist.
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Must see
kingrollo20 November 2002
This is an outstanding movie. It is one of the most insightful, yet at the same time most amusing pieces I have ever seen. There is only one negative thing I can think of about this documentary, and even this could be considered a plus. While Moore criticises the media in the US for creating a perception of constant danger among the public, he himself creates a similar emotion. While I was watching this movie, I found myself seriously considering leaving the theater and moving to Canada. But like I said, you can consider this a plus of the film as well, since it practically illustrates one of its major points. As a final remark, seeing the footage of GWB, I could not help being reminded once again of a quote from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy that "anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job."
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A few good points ruined with flat-out lies.
samklink7715 January 2004
I will not completely revoke the fact that Michael Moore's movie Bowling for Columbine had some interesting, and funny parts. However, he completely misleads the viewer by piecing together Charleston Heston speeches, taking statements grossely out of context, and flat out lying. I really can't begin to explain how far he goes so, for more info. So, if you're interested, just do a search for "Revoke the Oscar" on google, or your search engine of choice. Keep in mind that these sites are intent on changing your view of Michael Moore, so there are many low-blows, but you can also find the actual truth about the "documentary" too.
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nothing new to be learned here
ChelseaGirl983 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I just saw this film and it really has me puzzled. I expected it be an anti-gun film, and parts of it are, but Moore tells us he is a lifetime member of the NRA, so his point of view is not clear. If he thinks guns are so bad, then why is he an NRA member? The film is muddled, with Moore trying to make connections that are simply not there. For instance, he goes after K mart for the fact that their bullets were used at Columbine. How is this their fault? Blaming K mart for selling bullets that were used in a crime is like blaming Budweiser because someone drank their beer, drove a car and hit a pedestrian. In addition, Moore doesn't at all address where the shooters purchased their guns. That to me seems more important, as a responsible gun dealer would certainly think twice before selling guns to teenagers.

There is a lot of footage of citizens target shooting, but the vast majority of people who enjoy the sport are not going to turn into violent criminals, so the connection is very tenuous, to say the least. Moore does make a valid point that America has a much higher rate of gun deaths than other countries that also allow gun ownership, but is not able to answer why this is so.

The film doesn't really go anywhere. It's a bunch of interviews and images with no coherent message. At the end of this type of film, the viewer should be able to figure out what the filmmaker had to say. But I have no idea what he was trying to say (other than the obvious--like showing a rally that included signs saying "Guns and children don't mix." Well, duh!) I didn't learn anything new from watching this movie or gain any insight at all into Columbine or the larger problem of violence. If you aren't going to learn anything new from a documentary, then it's pretty much a wasted two hours.
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Anasazie2 January 2003
Marylin Manson made more sense in 2 minutes than Moore did in 2 hours. Did you notice that the word 'fear' hadn't even been mentioned until the interview with Manson. A horrible mish-mash of over-elaborated statistics and passion.
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