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How to Survive a Plague (2012)

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The story of two coalitions -- ACT UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group) -- whose activism and innovation turned AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition.

Director:

David France

Writers:

David France, Woody Richman (as T. Woody Richman) | 4 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ed Koch ... Himself (archive footage)
David Barr David Barr ... Himself
Bob Rafsky Bob Rafsky ... Himself (archive footage)
Jim Eigo Jim Eigo ... Himself
Ann Northrop Ann Northrop ... Herself
Larry Kramer ... Himself
Gregg Bordowitz Gregg Bordowitz ... Himself
Peter Staley ... Himself
Bill Bahlman Bill Bahlman ... Himself
Spencer Cox Spencer Cox ... Himself
Barbara Starrett Barbara Starrett ... Herself
Iris Long Iris Long ... Herself (archive footage)
Franke-Ruta Garance Franke-Ruta Garance ... Herself (as Garance Franke-Ruta)
Mark Harrington Mark Harrington ... Himself
Jesse Helms Jesse Helms ... Himself (archive footage)
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Storyline

In the early years of the AIDS epidemic, the disease was considered a death sentence affecting communities, like the LGBT ones, whom many in power felt deserved it. This film tells the story of how militant activists like ACT-UP and TAG pushed for a meaningful response to this serious public health problem. As the activists struggled against political indifference, religious hostility, corporate greed and apparently skewed scientific research priorities with determination and sheer audacity, they produced a political wave that would lead to not only an effective treatment regime, but would advance LGBT rights beyond anyone's expectations. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 November 2013 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

AIDS-pioneerit See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$28,250, 23 September 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$132,055
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Quotes

Larry Kramer: Every single drug that's out there is because of ACT UP, I am convinced. It is the proudest achievement that the gay population of this world can ever claim.
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Connections

Featured in The Oscars (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Come To Life
Performed by Arthur Russell
Written by Arthur Russell (as Charles Arthur Russell Jr.) ((ASCAP)
Courtesy of Audika Records LLC/Rough Trade Records Ltd./Domino Publishing Company Ltd.
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User Reviews

Extremely Well-Made
2 January 2013 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

How to Survive a Plague (2012)

**** (out of 4)

David France's excellent documentary takes us back in time to see the fight AIDS activists had to go through in order to get where we are today. Through video clips, interviews and other forms of video footage we see how the times changed throughout the years while the main focus of the film is set during the late 80s and early 90s when political indifference and a lack of any plan caused millions of people to die while drugs that might have helped them weren't being given to them. What's so great about this movie is that it uses video footage from throughout the decades to tell its story. It could be media reports, underground videos, appearances by people on talk shows or various other forms of footage that really gives one a terrific idea of this uphill fight. Director France does a rather remarkable job editing the footage together to give the viewer a complete idea of what it was like during these times when it seems no one could agree on what to do next. The film covers the activists hopes for what would happen, the politicians refuses to step in for a variety of reasons and even the Catholic church's controversial statement that condoms were sinful. I thought the film really did do a great job at showing future generations the "war" that these people were pretty much going through in order to try and get something done. Some will argue, perhaps rightfully, that the film is too one-sided since it only gives off one side. I understand this argument and I would have liked to have heard from some of the medical departments on why more wasn't done. Still, HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE is a pretty haunting and dramatic little picture that will certainly be a staple of its subject for years to come.


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