7.6/10
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19 user 49 critic

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 ... 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

Jesse Helms: They can speak as long as they don't offend anybody else, I suppose.
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Connections

Featured in The Oscars (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

I'll Be Glad When You're Dead You Rascal You
Performed by Louis Prima
Written by Spo-De-Odee (as Sam Theard)
Used by Permission of EMI Mills Music, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Utterly compelling.
13 February 2013 | by jpm-387-613125See all my reviews

I really don't understand how this doco only scores a 7.3. It's the most compelling piece of film I have seen in years, I was gripped from the beginning to the end. It is basically about the early fight for treatment research and recognition that HIV sufferers have a disease and were entitled to respect and humanity from the wider community as it was not a punishment from God for a so called "lifestyle choice".

It is structured by piecing together a lot of archive film that is edited so brilliantly that it like watching a scripted film that tells a great story, a film with real stars and characters. The subject matter is based on HIV but what I took away from the film is how people with such a motivation did "act up" and used democracy to achieve an objective. It is compulsive viewing for any interested in any type of campaigning.

My only criticism of the film is it did not fully explore the reason for the early antagonism toward people with the virus and why the medical establishment and governments at that time were slow to act. But in the end I seen a film about a story I did not know about, a story about successful democratic campaign that has saved millions of lives. I now think these early campaigners should have got Nobel recognition. The film is that powerful.


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