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Movies about the Labor Movement

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blocho
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Movies about the Labor Movement

#1

Post by blocho »

ICM has no list for movies about the labor movement. I've decided to rectify this situation, and you can see the preliminary result here:

https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/labo ... es/blocho/

I'd appreciate suggestions for additions to this list. I am looking for movies that feature the labor movement in their narrative in any way, whether in a positive or negative light. Narrative elements might include organizing, unions, collective bargaining, striking, picketing, litigation, etc.

I am specifically not looking for movies about slave revolts (no Spartacus), the evil of owners and managers (no Horrible Bosses), or how work sucks (no Office Space) -- though they are worthy subjects, I will not include them if they do not also feature depictions of labor movement activity. I also am not including movies about the political labor movement or political revolution unless they also feature labor movement activity.

I have not seen all of the movies that are already on the list. I have based some inclusions on written descriptions of their plots. If people believe any of the movies do not belong, based on the criteria above, please let me know.
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#2

Post by hurluberlu »

Needs more French films, we are specialists in (non) Labor… :rolleyes:

Starting with, top of my head, :
Une Chambre en Ville (1982)
Germinal (1993)
Human Resources (1999)
Deux jours, une nuit (2014)
En guerre (2018)

Others:
Germinal (1913)
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Metello (1970)
La classe operaia va in paradisio (1972)
La Patagonia Rebelde (1974)
Bound for Glory (1976)
Comrades (1986)
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#3

Post by GruesomeTwosome »

Sorry to Bother You (2018, Boots Riley)
I’m to remember every man I've seen fall into a plate of spaghetti???

My IMDB profile
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#4

Post by albajos »

Hvem eier Tyssedal? (1975) https://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/hve ... lquestion/
Streik! (1975) https://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/streikexclamation/

Labour Party
Documentary about Gerhardsen, which was Prime Minister in Norway 1945-1965 for Labour https://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/tillitsmannen/ I haven't seen it, so I don't know if it fits. (but I'll watch it soon)

Otherwise: http://sandulligrace.com/the-best-labor ... -all-time/ (read the comments for more titles)
Last edited by albajos on May 14th, 2019, 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#6

Post by Knaldskalle »

Reds (1981).
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#7

Post by flaiky »

There's a list of documentaries here: https://letterboxd.com/monocle/list/toi ... mentaries/
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#8

Post by matthewscott8 »

Specificaly going for movies I liked, and are about the labor movement:

Joe Hill (1971) - Another Bo Widerberg
Acht Stunden sind kein Tag (1973 - Fassbinder)
Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 (1976 - Alain Tanner)
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#9

Post by Lonewolf2003 »

Man of Iron (1981)
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#10

Post by brokenface »

Moonlighting
Peterloo
Walesa: Man of Hope
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#11

Post by Nathan Treadway »

Interesting topic.. My stepmother was the Union Steward at her job for several years before retiring, and my father was very heavily involved in union work as well, so, definitely a theme I'm at least somewhat interested in..

The River (1984) could possibly fit. While it's not exactly about the labour movement, there's a rather major sequence in the middle of the film where Mel Gibson's character takes a job at a factory that's on strike. I'll probably think of more later.
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#12

Post by blocho »

Many thanks for all the suggestions. I've added many and will continue to do so.

I've just found this site (https://laborfilms.com/) which has a database of nearly two thousand movies. Though the site's criteria is wider than my own, I might make another list for their database.
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#13

Post by 3eyes »

I'd thought of Brassed off but wasn't sure it was what you wanted.

Cant find a search thingy in that database but what about The Proud Valley (1940, Paul Robeson in the Welsh coal mines)?
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#14

Post by insomnius »

Wildcat at Mead (1972)
http://interferencearchive.org/wildcat-at-mead/

(Not on Imdb, though)
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#15

Post by blocho »

3eyes wrote: May 15th, 2019, 2:51 pm I'd thought of Brassed off but wasn't sure it was what you wanted.

Cant find a search thingy in that database but what about The Proud Valley (1940, Paul Robeson in the Welsh coal mines)?
The list is now up to 98 movies: https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/labo ... es/blocho/

I couldn't tell from written descriptions of the plots of Brassed Off and the Proud Valley whether they included labor movement activities or just were focused on the plight of workers. Increasingly, I'm thinking I made a mistake by limiting my list only to labor movement movies. It seems unfair and arbitrary to leave off movies like the two 3eyes suggested or the many others (Los Santos Inocentes, Banditi a Orgosolo) that address the life of workers.

But if I modified the list or added another, where would I draw the lines of criteria? There are many movies that show people working without really being about labor. And then there are all the political/revolutionary movies that are more broadly about mechanisms of oppression without directly indicating labor relations.
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#16

Post by albajos »

Brassed Off is about workers, but outside one reference to a strike 10 years earlier it's really just about the village brass band, and how it connects the them.

But to add every movie about workers, like Office Space, Dilbert or Modern Times (or the beginning of Joe vs the Volcano) kind of loses the point of the struggle. Then were more into Kafka territory where the job just seem pointless in the broad sense. So that would be another list entirely.
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#17

Post by 3eyes »

blocho wrote: May 15th, 2019, 4:30 pm
3eyes wrote: May 15th, 2019, 2:51 pm I'd thought of Brassed off but wasn't sure it was what you wanted.

Cant find a search thingy in that database but what about The Proud Valley (1940, Paul Robeson in the Welsh coal mines)?
The list is now up to 98 movies: https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/labo ... es/blocho/

I couldn't tell from written descriptions of the plots of Brassed Off and the Proud Valley whether they included labor movement activities or just were focused on the plight of workers. Increasingly, I'm thinking I made a mistake by limiting my list only to labor movement movies. It seems unfair and arbitrary to leave off movies like the two 3eyes suggested or the many others (Los Santos Inocentes, Banditi a Orgosolo) that address the life of workers.

But if I modified the list or added another, where would I draw the lines of criteria? There are many movies that show people working without really being about labor. And then there are all the political/revolutionary movies that are more broadly about mechanisms of oppression without directly indicating labor relations.
I think your criteria are just fine. Broadening them would indeed lead you into a morass.

I haven't seen The Proud Valley (found others I hadn't seen but restrained myself). From what I could tell from the IMDb reviews they avoided the whole labor relations ball of wax with a Deus ex machina, i.e. WW II. (It should be on the Criterion Channel but isn't.)
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#18

Post by blocho »

After two weeks and many hours of work, I'm proud to present what I consider the first definitive version of the list of labor movement movies (and TV):
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/labo ... es/blocho/

A few notes of interest:
- More than a third of the list entries have no checks. Many of these are TV productions and/or very obscure documentaries, often self-funded and never distributed widely.
- More than a third of the movies have been made since the new century. I believe this is a consequence of the advent of cheaper filmmaking methods, particularly video. When filmmaking was more expensive, it required the support of large companies, and these companies were often loathe to depict the labor movement.
- I found several lists on the same topic on imdb and other sites. None of them are as comprehensive as the one I created.

All that being said, the list is not perfect. There are certainly overlooked movies that deserve to be on it. And perhaps there are also a few on the list that don't belong there. I welcome suggestions.
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#19

Post by 3eyes »

Well, it'll do to be going on with - at least until I watch the 91% I haven't seen. In short, well done!

Maybe the broader area of, say, resistance to corporate exploitation (eg. Tambien la lluvia, a fave of mine) is another list.
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#20

Post by blocho »

3eyes wrote: May 28th, 2019, 6:06 pm Well, it'll do to be going on with - at least until I watch the 91% I haven't seen. In short, well done!

Maybe the broader area of, say, resistance to corporate exploitation (eg. Tambien la lluvia, a fave of mine) is another list.
I'm glad you have like the list. Tambien la Lluvia sounds fascinating. When I was in Bolivia back in 2011, I got unexpectedly waylaid by a protest over water access for El Alto (that was quite a story). I didn't know something similar was happening in Cochabamba.
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#21

Post by St. Gloede »

Amazing work!

I found another one: Perla w koronie / Pearl in the Crown (1972, Kazimierz Kutz) which follows a long and harsh coal mining strike.
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#22

Post by Mate_cosido »

This is one of my favourite subject matters, thanks for the list, at the top of my head i see 3 of my favourite movies missing, Ken Loach's "Days of Hope", an amazing miniseries about a working class family in the early 20th century, "from the great war to the general strike", the South Korean movie "A Single Spark", about the real story of a labour activist in the dictatorial regime of Park Chung-hee, and what is probably my favourite Argentinian movie, "Los traidores", about the rise and fall of a peronist union leader in the sixties

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0150282/
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0121755/
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0069401/
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#23

Post by blocho »

The list has been updated with Mate's and Gloede's suggestions. Thanks for helping out. Does anyone know any other movies that belong on the list?
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#24

Post by 3eyes »

PS, just watched my current Netflick, Bisbee '17 - quite astonishing in a meta sort of way.
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#25

Post by Nathan Treadway »

I'm not sure if you've seen this or not, but I just ran into it:

Workers in Motion

Just did a quick comparison, there's 97 films on this list that's not on yours, although some of them won't fit your criteria (Bicycle Thieves, Kes..) I haven't gone through the list individually, just glanced, so, maybe there's a few more that do?
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#26

Post by blocho »

I'm pretty sure I went through that list when I put together mine, but thanks for checking and being interested. I'm thinking of starting an ongoing labor movie challenge, perhaps beginning on may day next year (or maybe US labor day in September)
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#27

Post by Leopardi »

Great list and great topic! In case you haven't already gone through it, here's a wiki that might have a few titles not yet on the list.
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#28

Post by Armoreska »

List of lists bout social-political stuff in comment
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/anar ... /comments/
he or A. or Armo or any

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currently working towards a vegan/free world + thru such film lists: GODARD, r/antinatalism recommends,..
the rest
ANARCHISTS, ANIMAL RIGHTS, Assisted suicide, Existential films, SOCIALIST CINEMA (an amalgamation of lists), Feminist lists, various GSSRM lists (aka LGBTQ+), 2010s bests, Visual Effects nominees, kid-related stuff, great animes (mini-serie or feature), very 80s movies, mah huge sci-fi list, ENVIRO, remarkable Silent Films and Pre-Code (exploring 1925 atm) and every shorts and docu list I'm aware of and
/forum.icmforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1434
and "Gordon" Liu Chia-Hui/Liu Chia-Liang and Yuen Woo-ping and "Sammo" Hung Kam-bo
imaginary awards | youtube channels | complaint lounge | explain how big a fan of slavery you are here, ..viewtopic.php?f=12&t=1535 and here: ..viewtopic.php?f=12&t=4484
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#29

Post by blocho »

Armoreska wrote: May 29th, 2021, 12:45 pm List of lists bout social-political stuff in comment
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/anar ... /comments/
Thanks. I'll have a look through the lists for more movies to add to my own.
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#30

Post by Teproc »

Nos batailles (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7773210/reference)
Mémoires d'un condamné (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7523550/reference)

Nos batailles is a drama where Romain Duris plays a union leader having to deal with personal/familial difficulties and trying to balance that with his commitment to the labor movement, so it's not entirely focused on it but it's a very significant part of the film.

Mémoires d'un condamné is a documentary about a worker in the Le Havre harbour who was condemned to die for his involvment in strikes in the early 20th century, which was a pretty big deal at the time but has largely been forgotten.
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#31

Post by Harco »

:ICM: | :letbxd:
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#32

Post by Lakigigar »

Perhaps La Commune 1871 from Peter Watkins?
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#33

Post by blocho »

Lakigigar wrote: June 10th, 2021, 12:54 am Perhaps La Commune 1871 from Peter Watkins?
I haven't seen it, so you'll have to tell me. Do you think it fits the criteria below from the OP? If so, I'll add it.
I am looking for movies that feature the labor movement in their narrative in any way, whether in a positive or negative light. Narrative elements might include organizing, unions, collective bargaining, striking, picketing, litigation, etc.

I am specifically not looking for movies about slave revolts (no Spartacus), the evil of owners and managers (no Horrible Bosses), or how work sucks (no Office Space) -- though they are worthy subjects, I will not include them if they do not also feature depictions of labor movement activity. I also am not including movies about the political labor movement or political revolution unless they also feature labor movement activity.
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#34

Post by Torgo »

I'm dropping this just before I'm jumping into bed, so it may be not completely in line with your searched criteria - feel free to check:
Ken Loach's Sorry We Missed You (2019) (Wiki)
I guess you might be familiar with the film, but if not, it's essentially about what it might look like when you're not organized and crushed by the "market forces". Great, great film, with an ending that makes you want to stand up and go on to the streets arguably more than some of the documentaries on the list. :ph43r:
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#35

Post by Armoreska »

La commune (Paris, 1871) is on
Protest & Rebellion & Revolution
Cine libre!
See You at Mao
my all encompassing anarchist list (top 50)
and Workers in motion

Sorry We Missed You is on
Cine libre!
Anti-work movies
Late Stage Capitalism
Working Class and Poverty
Strike! - Movies about workers and unions
he or A. or Armo or any

Image
currently working towards a vegan/free world + thru such film lists: GODARD, r/antinatalism recommends,..
the rest
ANARCHISTS, ANIMAL RIGHTS, Assisted suicide, Existential films, SOCIALIST CINEMA (an amalgamation of lists), Feminist lists, various GSSRM lists (aka LGBTQ+), 2010s bests, Visual Effects nominees, kid-related stuff, great animes (mini-serie or feature), very 80s movies, mah huge sci-fi list, ENVIRO, remarkable Silent Films and Pre-Code (exploring 1925 atm) and every shorts and docu list I'm aware of and
/forum.icmforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1434
and "Gordon" Liu Chia-Hui/Liu Chia-Liang and Yuen Woo-ping and "Sammo" Hung Kam-bo
imaginary awards | youtube channels | complaint lounge | explain how big a fan of slavery you are here, ..viewtopic.php?f=12&t=1535 and here: ..viewtopic.php?f=12&t=4484
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