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Howard Zinn: You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train (2004)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 18 June 2004 (USA)
The life and times of Howard Zinn: the historian, activist, and author of several classics including "A Peoples History of the United States". Archival footage, and commentary by friend, colleagues and Zinn himself.

Directors:

Deb Ellis, Denis Mueller
1 win. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Credited cast:
Matt Damon ... Narrator (voice)
Daniel Berrigan Daniel Berrigan ... Self
Howard Zinn ... Self
Alice Walker ... Self (archive footage)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Noam Chomsky ... Self (archive footage)
Daniel Ellsberg ... Self (archive footage)
Tom Hayden ... Self (archive footage)
Staughton Lind Staughton Lind ... Self
David Rovics David Rovics ... Self
John Silber John Silber ... Self (archive footage)
Marian Wright Edelman ... Self (archive footage)
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Storyline

The life and times of Howard Zinn: the historian, activist, and author of several classics including "A Peoples History of the United States". Archival footage, and commentary by friend, colleagues and Zinn himself.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Dr. Howard Zinn was one of the first American authors to write a comprehensive history of the barriers erected by the U.S. Government to prevent equality and constitutionally guaranteed rights amongst the working classes and minority races, and the subsequent violent clashes between protestors, the government, and corporate soldiers. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Zinn, Howard: We grow up in a controlled society, where we are told that when one person kills another person, that is murder, but when the government kills a hundred thousand, that is patriotism.
See more »

Soundtracks

There Is Power In A Union
Written by Billy Bragg
Performed by Billy Bragg
Courtesy of Chrysalis Music
See more »

User Reviews

The old hagiography show
2 October 2011 | by wandereramorSee all my reviews

Howard Zinn has had a fascinating life, going from working-class soldier to civil rights activist to pioneering historian. The strengths of this documentary is, then, its remarkable subject matter and the inevitable power that comes with it. It's hard not to be moved, for instance, hearing Zinn recount his realization that he was test-dropping napalm in the dying days of WW2.

Unfortunately, the documentary takes a fairly standard hagiographical approach that you often see in documentaries about intellectuals, elevating the person above their ideas even when this seems to go directly against the "people's history" approach that Zinn so argued for. Moreover, it sticks to the same tired talking-heads/archival-clips-and-photos approach that you've seen in every documentary. Hell, you've probably even seen these specific talking heads and photos in many other movies.

Pick up a copy of A People's History of the US, or one of Zinn's other books, but you can skip this documentary. In the end understanding the man's ideas are more important than biographical worship of the man himself.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 June 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Говард Зинн: Как сохранить нейтралитет в поезде See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$122,011

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$122,011
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