DVD - 1987
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(Producer) In 1920-s Mingo County, WEst Virginia coal miners struggling to form a union are up against company operators and gun thugs. Black and Italian miners, brought in by the company to break the strike, are caught between two forces: Union activists and ex-Wobbly Joe Kenehan (Chris Cooper), sent to help organize the union by bringing the local, Black, and Italian groups together. Inspired by a true story many were killed in the Matewan Massacre, but the young Danny Radnor, a coal miner and preacher, lived to spread the gospel of union.
Publisher: [S.l]: Cinecom Entertainment Group, c1987
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (2 hrs., 15 min.): sd., col.; 1/2 in


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Jul 09, 2018

John Sayles wrote and directed this gut-wrenching account of the infamous Matewan Massacre, a film he has credited with becoming “…a staple in the teaching of U.S. Labour history”. Filmed on location in West Virginia everything in "Matewan" rings true from the costumes and working class accents to some claustrophobic scenes in subterranean mine shafts. Sayles' superb cast breathe life into their characters making the film’s final string of tragedies all the more palpable—most notably Mary McDonnell as a widow trying to keep her idealistic son alive, Kevin Tighe as a particularly nasty Company thug, and David Strathairn as the town’s hard-nosed sheriff desperate to keep the capitalist wolves at bay. An egregious chapter in American democracy presented with passion and cinematic flair.

Oct 26, 2015

Excellent movie about the labor movement and the ruthless attempts by companies to keep the workers from organizing.


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