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Commune (2005)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 26 July 2005 (USA)
A documentary on the Black Bear Ranch Commune, an alternative living community founded in 1968 in the remote North Californian wilderness.


Jonathan Berman


Jonathan Berman

On Disc

at Amazon




Cast overview, first billed only:
Mahaj Seeger Mahaj Seeger ... Herself - Black Bear Resident
Peter Coyote ... Himself - Black Bear Resident
Cedar Seeger Cedar Seeger ... Himself - Black Bear Resident
Mel Kramer Mel Kramer ... Himself - Local Resident
Elsa Marley Elsa Marley ... Herself - Black Bear Resident
Michael Tierra Michael Tierra ... Himself - Black Bear Resident
Richard Marley Richard Marley ... Himself - Black Bear Resident
Larry Bacon Larry Bacon ... Himself - Public Defender
Hoss Bennett Hoss Bennett ... Himself - Neighbor
Creek Hanauer Creek Hanauer ... Himself - Black Bear Resident
Harriet Beinfeld Harriet Beinfeld ... Herself - Black Bear Resident
Martin Linhart Martin Linhart ... Himself - Black Bear Resident
Peter Leaf Peter Leaf ... Himself - Black Bear Resident
Osha Neumann Osha Neumann ... Himself - Black Bear Resident
Kenoli Oleari Kenoli Oleari ... Himself - Black Bear Resident


In the late 1960s, a few free thinkers cobbled together donations, primarily from Hollywood, to buy 80 acres at the end of a dirt road in Siskiyou County, California: Big Bear Ranch, a commune with the motto "free land for free people." Archival footage, photographs, documents and news articles, and interviews with people who lived or still live there tell the commune's history: the cold first winter, women and men doing the same work, communal decision making, emerging environmental politics, free love and family formation, child rearing and memories of growing up there, a late 70's crisis with a cult-like group that moved in, and assessment by those grown old of what Big Bear meant. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Peace and love are only half the story.




Not Rated

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

26 July 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

To koinovio See more »

Filming Locations:

Albany, California, USA See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

$41,715, 31 July 2006
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Five Points Media See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In the news reports in the film, it is said that the Vietnam War has just finished, which occurred in 1975. However, Pol Pot is mentioned several times in the news before this announcement. Pol Pot did not become leader of Cambodia until October 1976, and he was largely unknown in Europe at the time that the Vietnam War ended. See more »


Himself - Black Bear Resident: I wish I had know I was dying 50 years ago
Himself - Black Bear Resident: ... because, you know, I might have paid more attention to some of the things that I kind of brushed aside.
See more »


Features Feel My Pulse (1928) See more »


The Ballad of Cedar and Mahaj
Written and Performed by Cedar Seeger
CedarSongs, BMI
See more »

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User Reviews

Intelligent, even handed look at life in a 60s/70s commune
29 June 2012 | by runamokprodsSee all my reviews

Interesting, insightful look at the Black Bear Ranch Commune, one of the many alternative living situations people explored in the late 60s and early 70s.

By interviewing a diverse number of members, it gives what feels like a pretty accurate non- biased view of both the strengths and weaknesses, intelligence and stupidity, bravery and cowardice, generosity and selfishness, openness and didacticism that went into this rag tag bunch trying to show the world there was another way to live then simply as 'consumers' or 'employees'.

Actor Peter Coyote, who was a member, is particularly articulate about the goals, the successes and the failures. The film also has a sense of humor, which helps. Not a life changing documentary, but certainly an interesting one.

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