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Bowling for Columbine (2002)

8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 108,786 users   Metascore: 72/100
Reviews: 875 user | 218 critic | 32 from Metacritic.com

Filmmaker Michael Moore explores the roots of America's predilection for gun violence.

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 35 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Himself / Narrator
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Himself - President of Chile (archive footage)
Jacobo Arbenz ...
Himself - President of Guatemala (archive footage)
Mike Bradley ...
Himself - Mayor of Sarnia, Ontario, Canada
Arthur A. Busch ...
Himself - County Prosecutor: Flint, Michigan (as Arthur Busch)
...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself (archive footage)
Michael Caldwell ...
Himself - Police Detective
Richard Castaldo ...
Himself - Columbine Victim
...
Himself
...
Himself (archive footage)
Steve Davis ...
Himself - Deputy Sheriff (archive footage)
Ngo Dinh Diem ...
Himself - President of South Vietnam (archive footage)
Mike Epstein ...
Himself - Shopper in Mall
Joe Farmer ...
Himself - Superintendent of Schools (archive footage)
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Storyline

The United States of America is notorious for its astronomical number of people killed by firearms for a developed nation without a civil war. With his signature sense of angry humor, activist filmmaker Michael Moore sets out to explore the roots of this bloodshed. In doing so, he learns that the conventional answers of easy availability of guns, violent national history, violent entertainment and even poverty are inadequate to explain this violence when other cultures share those same factors without the equivalent carnage. In order to arrive at a possible explanation, Michael Moore takes on a deeper examination of America's culture of fear, bigotry and violence in a nation with widespread gun ownership. Furthermore, he seeks to investigate and confront the powerful elite political and corporate interests fanning this culture for their own unscrupulous gain. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gun | violence | bank | firearm | poverty | See more »

Taglines:

What a wonderful world. See more »

Genres:

Documentary

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violent images and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

21 November 2002 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Akiryhtos polemos  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$6,738 (Hong Kong) (6 June 2003)

Gross:

$312,914 (Brazil) (20 June 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In May 2002 this film became the first documentary to compete in the Cannes Film Festival's main competition in 46 years. See more »

Goofs

As Charlton Heston walks away from Michael Moore in the final interview, the scene cuts repeatedly between Heston (point of view from behind Moore) and Moore (point of view from the stairs directly in front of Moore) holding a photo of the slain Flint, Michigan girl and asking Heston to look at it. When the POV is of Moore holding the photo, there is clearly no cameraman anywhere behind him. The same with the POV of Heston, there is clearly no cameraman anywhere in front of Moore. So the two POVs were not filmed simultaneously as the film implies. See more »

Quotes

George W. Bush: [Archive press conference] Today the Justice Department did issue a 'Blanket Alert'. It was in recognition of a general threat that we received. This is not the first time the Justice Department has acted like this. I hope it's the last, but given the attitude of the evil-doers, it may not be.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There is no cast list, either at the start of the film or at the end. People are credited either by subtitle, by the narrator or by themselves. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Corporation (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphony No. 9 In D Minor (Choral), Opus 125
(1826) (uncredited)
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
Excerpts from Movement 4 "Presto - Ode to Joy" in the score starting at the bowling alley sequence
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Technique = 8... Honesty in Presentation = 0
12 July 2006 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

First let me say that, as a person (a Canadian for anybody who might question if all the negative reviews are from the USA) who doesn't care for guns and has no interest in them -- I've never even held one -- upon first viewing of "Bowling for Columbine" I was a fan. I loved this film. I even bought the DVD. I thought it was a brilliant documentary and that its presentation of the facts was spot on.

However, the scene where Moore talks about a bomber on display in the desert and the army plaque beneath it always made me wonder exactly how honest he was being, since what he claimed the plaque said sounded too outrageous to me. It kept on grating me until about a year later I began to actually research his film and found that nearly every single thing Moore presents in BFC is either heavily manipulated facts or bald-faced deceptions.

Take the scene of him getting a gun for opening an account at a bank. What he does not show is that there was a criminal background check including photo ID check and an FBI background check. Then, to get the gun, he had to open a 10 year Certificate of Deposit... basically he had to deposit nearly $1000 before he could get the gun, not the smartest idea compared to just buying a gun if that's the only intent. Even then, when Moore gets his gun and asks about the safety of handing out guns in the bank, the audience is duped into forgetting a large portion of Moore's handing-out-a-gun-at-a-bank safety joke: the bank doesn't supply the ammunition!

You even have his little cartoon where he tries to link the NRA to the KKK... never mind that him saying the NRA was formed the same year that the KKK was declared an illegal organization is 100% wrong... never mind that the NRA was actually formed by Northern Yankee's who fought AGAINST slavery... never mind that the NRA was primarily created in reaction to Southern laws that would ban blacks from owning firearms (the exact opposite of the cartoon's suggestion the NRA wanted to suppress blacks and leave them defenseless)... never mind that the cartoon is a South Park rip-off, presented after an interview with South Park creator Matt Stone in order to make it seem like the cartoon was made by the creators of South Park. I mean, no wonder Matt Stone hates Moore and made him a target of insults in his "Team America: World Police" movie. Talk about complete deception from every angle.

What's worse is that he is even hypocritical in how he talks about America's culture of fear and how the media tries to instill fear in the population, and yet that is EXACTLY what BFC is: a film that presents manipulated facts in order to create fear. Probably the best refutation of BFC one can find is the in-depth article by Dave Kopel called "Bowling Truths" that literally shreds BFC from beginning to end, showing it to be -- as he puts it -- more of a 'mockumentary' in the vein of "This is Spinal Tap" than a serious documentary outlining anything close to reality.

In terms of gun control issues, if you really want an intelligent look at the problems of gun control, check out the episode of Penn & Teller's Bullsh*t on gun control. Now THAT is an intelligent and more importantly an HONEST delving into gun control. But if you are looking for facts and honesty in subject matter, you couldn't find a worse choice than BFC.

BFC is insulting to anybody who would be willing to take the time and educate themselves on exactly how honest Moore is. If you think BFC is truthful and honest, go read Kopel's article (readily available on the net) and you'll see how much Moore stretches the truth. I mean, even the film's title is deceptive since -- as even the preliminary police report states -- the two shooters at Columbine never showed up for bowling that morning! I still own the DVD, if only to show people a perfect example of how sheep can be led around if they don't stop and ask whether what they are hearing is real. BFC offers little reality and a lot of political brouhaha that does little for intelligent discussion on gun control. In that, he has hurt the gun control movement more than he has helped it.

(And by the way, people in Canada do lock their doors. I have to wonder how many doors he had to try in order to get his shots of every door being open.)


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