21 user 25 critic

Orwell Rolls in His Grave (2003)

Unrated | | Documentary | 19 November 2004 (UK)
A documentary analyzing the role of the modern American media and its effects on democracy.


Robert Kane Pappas

On Disc

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Credited cast:
Charles Lewis Charles Lewis ... Founder of the Center for Public Integrity
Robert McChesney Robert McChesney ... Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Mark Crispin Miller Mark Crispin Miller ... Author, Professor, New York University
Bernie Sanders ... Congressman from Vermont
Danny Schechter Danny Schechter ... Author
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Vincent Bugliosi ... Attorney, Author
Jeff Cohen Jeff Cohen ... Himself - Founder of FAIR
Dennis Kucinich Dennis Kucinich ... Himself
Mark Lloyd Mark Lloyd ... Visiting Professor M.I.T.
Michael Moore ... Himself
John Nichols John Nichols ... Himself
Greg Palast Greg Palast ... Reporter
Tim Robbins ... Himself (archive footage)
Helen Thomas ... Herself


A documentary analyzing the role of the modern American media and its effects on democracy.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




Unrated | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

19 November 2004 (UK) See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,059, 25 July 2004, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$19,257, 8 August 2004
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)


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Did You Know?


[first lines]
Author: We falsely think of our country as a democracy, when it has evolved into a media-o-cracy, where a media which is supposed to *check* political abuse is part of political abuse.
See more »

Crazy Credits

War Is Not Peace Freedom Is Not Slavery Ignorance Is Not Strength See more »


Featured in Stare Into the Lights My Pretties (2017) See more »

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User Reviews

Informative and well done
19 October 2004 | by intnsredSee all my reviews

There are some other great comments about this film, so I'll instead

try to give out some detail. The film is done in a calm, non-ranting,

informative manner primarily via interviews with journalists. Many

points about the corporate domination of the corporate mass media are

brought out well; the citing of GE Inc.'s top management interfering

with NBC news is one case in point. The portrayal of the media

industry itself as a political "special interest" similar to the

tobacco lobby or other traditional special interest is both insightful

and strong. The film also does an adequate job of painting the change

in "ethics" of government officials over the years, and gives a few

citations to support its point.

If there is a knock, it's that the film covers a vast amount of points

and therefore cannot go in depth unless you want to watch a ninety-hour

documentary. This is not a big knock -- it seems that one goal of the

film is to try to tie many disparate issues and trends together to

paint the big picture, which is something our regular mass media simply

does not do.

To me, two points are worth special mention and applause. (1) the film

mentions the original 1980 "October Surprise" and while it does not go

in depth, it does flush out the basics and gives a reference to the

book by Carter's Nat'l Security Adviser ("October Surprise"), which one

can use to read for more information. Still, it would have been nice

to mention Jimmy Carter's quote about the October Surprise or the fact

that the former Iranian president has publicly said the October

Surprise did indeed happen while he was president. (2) Despite it not

being a focus of the film, the film brings out the class gap (aka the

growing gap between the rich and poor) and issues of Americans working

long hours. This is done in a way related to media self-censorship but

I'm always surprised when this issue rears its head -- simply because

reporting about it is so very rare in the mainstream press. The film

gives a few stats but its message that the poor are poorer now than a

couple of decades ago and the rich are much, much richer comes through

well; it notes the current gov'ts solution to this problem is a tax cut

for the rich stands out starkly in its plain-face absurdity. While

there was a few of those conventional-wisdom-turned-upside-down moments

in the film, that one stood out.

Overall, like the other reviewers, I highly recommend the film. While

it's not done in a Michael Moore-like funny manner, the material

presented is on the money, is not preachy and is easily followed, and

the film runs along coherently in an easy to watch pace. In some ways,

it's scary, depressing stuff; in other ways, it's invigorating because

it illustrates the depth of what's happening to our republic and paints

a picture of just how much work we've got to do to return our gov't to

some semblance of rule by/for the people.

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