Screening on Film
Directed by John Sayles.
With Chris Cooper, James Earl Jones, Mary McDonnell.
US, 1987, 35mm, color, 132 min.

A small mining community in rural West Virginia is torn between the efforts of union organizers and the mining companies. Further dividing the community is the company’s decision to hire African-American and Italian immigrant workers in order to cut labor costs, a choice which fuels the town’s climate of distrust toward outsiders. Based on actual events which led to the 1920 West Virginia Mine War, John Sayles’ acclaimed work makes full use of his reliable stable of actors (Chris Cooper, Mary McDonnell, David Strathairn, Kevin Tighe, Gordon Clapp) to give the director’s distinct spin on the failure of the American Dream.

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Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive: A–Z