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If Barbara Kopple had made no other film than this documentary account of the 1974 strike of Kentucky mine workers, arguably one of the finest documentaries ever made in the U.S. and possibly the best on the problems of organized labor, her place in film history would be assured. The strike began when the miners working for the Eastover Mining Co. joined the UMW, and its corporate parent, Duke Power, refused to sign the standard union contract. By living with the 180-odd families involved in the strike, Kopple shows the backbreaking burdens of the miners' life in the best of times and the looming fear of destitution in the worst. As the strikers strive to remain united through a difficult year, Kopple photographs the picketing, the company's use of state troopers to keep the roads open for scabs, the showdowns between the miners and strikebreakers brandishing firearms. After several shootings, one miner is finally killed. During the man's wake, a memorable sequence, his mother collapses. While the film i...
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DirectorBarbara Kopple
Genre:  Documentary
Release Date:  October 18, 1976
MPAA Rating:  PG
DVD Release Date:  Image Entertainment, Inc. (April 25, 2006)
Runtime:  1hr 43min
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review by . May 07, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Miners, their wives, justice and America
Harlan County, U.S.A. is one of the great documentaries. It shows us the miners' strike against the Brookside Mine of the Eastover Mine Company, part of the giant Duke Power corporate empire. It is an emotionally wrenching look at what happens to some poorly educated, unsophisticated, hard-working people when they decide to come together in a struggle for the kinds of rights and protections most Americans take for granted.       In 1973 the miners at Brookside in Harlan …
review by . March 31, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Presentation, the people being filmed, the sense of humor they have      Cons: The last 10 minutes      The Bottom Line: I doubt any other documentary could be as plain as this for why unions may still be necessary (and this is from an anti-union liberal).      Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot.      The documentary went just a little too far.      …
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Harlan County, USA
Harlan County, USA
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