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Bowling for Columbine

Bowling for Columbine

3.8 73

Cast: Michael Moore, Charlton Heston, Matt Stone, Marilyn Manson


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Filmmaker, author, and political activist Michael Moore trains his satirical eye on America's obsession with guns and violence in his third feature-length documentary, which gets its title from a pair of loosely related incidents. On April 20, 1999, shortly before they began their infamous killing spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO, Eric Harris and Dylan


Filmmaker, author, and political activist Michael Moore trains his satirical eye on America's obsession with guns and violence in his third feature-length documentary, which gets its title from a pair of loosely related incidents. On April 20, 1999, shortly before they began their infamous killing spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold attended their favorite class, a no-credit bowling course held at a bowling alley near the school, the same bowling alley which would become the scene of a robbery and triple homicide two years later. While pondering these events, Moore humorously considers the link between random violence and the game of ten pins; along the way, Moore calls on the Michigan Militia (and gets to know some of the models for their "Militia Babes" calendar); spends some time with James Nichols, brother of Oklahoma City bombing accomplice Terry Nichols; visits K-Mart's corporate offices with two teenagers injured in the Columbine massacre as they ask the retail chain to stop selling bullets for handguns; investigates the media's role in the American climate of fear and anger; compares crime statistics in the United States with those of Canada (which, despite higher unemployment and a larger number of guns per capita, manages to rack up a small fraction of the homicides committed in the United States), and questions actor and National Rifle Association president Charlton Heston regarding his appearance at a pro-gun rally held in Littleton a few days after the Columbine massacre, and a similar rally in Flint, MI, after a six-year-old boy killed a classmate with a gun he took from his uncle's house. Bowling for Columbine received its first public screening at the 2002 Ann Arbor Film Festival; the film's official premiere took place a few months later at the Cannes Film Festival.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Jeffrey Iorio
Michael Moore's Academy Award-winning documentary Bowling for Columbine is one of the more polarizing, disturbing films in recent memory. The empirical facts put forth in it are irrefutable: Millions of guns are circulating in the U.S., and Americans are inexplicably using them to kill one another. Discerning empirical facts from deftly disguised leaps in logic, however, can sometimes be a tall order, especially when the man at the helm is rabble-rouser Moore. A folksy cherub with a sardonic wit and an insatiable appetite for off-kilter confrontation, the Roger & Me gadfly shepherds the audience to the desired epiphany with all the grace of a battering ram. Using as a linchpin an absurd yet horrifying bit of evidence -- that the Columbine High School students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold attended their regularly scheduled bowling class the morning of their shooting spree -- Moore launches an investigation into the origins of America's culture of violence. To his credit, the usual scapegoats, i.e., "too many guns" and "video games," are discredited. Canada, we are told, has nearly as many guns as the United States but experiences a minuscule murder rate. In Japan, ultra-violent comics and video games are the norm, yet gun crime is almost nonexistent. One could argue, though, that Moore's thesis -- that American media cultivate an atmosphere of fear by using violence as its centerpiece -- is weakened by the broad strokes he uses to paint the picture. Whatever feelings one has about National Rifle Association president Charlton Heston, who spoke at a pro-gun rally in Littleton shortly after the killings, Moore's bizarre interview with the aging actor casts Heston more as a dotard than the devil. Still, the film's impact remains undeniable, and those willing to look past Moore's propagandistic tendencies to the central issue discussed will find ample food for thought.
All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
In Michael Moore's best work, the director's attitude toward his subject walks a fine line between bemusement and bitter outrage, and those two extremes are closer than one might ever expect in his film Bowling for Columbine. Moore's examination of America's three-way addiction to guns, violence, and fear doesn't offer many answers to the tough questions it poses, but to a large degree that's part of the point; one of the film's most telling moments comes when Moore interviews the father of one of the students killed in the Columbine High School massacre, and after a while he can only conclude ruefully that he simply doesn't know why America has become such a violent society. Of course, Moore certainly has his opinions about this matter, but for every moment where he's taking on K-Mart for selling handgun ammo or Charlton Heston for appearing at major pro-gun rallies days after highly publicized incidents of handgun violence (in the latter case, at least Moore's entitled as a member of the NRA), there's another where Moore sets out to find if it's true that Canadians don't lock their doors by simply barging in unannounced, or visits a bank where you can get a free rifle for opening a savings account. Moore is able to make the absurdity of real life communicate his message just as well as his rage or sadness, and the film's pointed but effective comedy not only makes the film more entertaining, but also reinforces the more somber (and sometimes shocking) material elsewhere. Bowling for Columbine has an obvious and specific political agenda (and your appreciation of the film may well have a lot to do with the degree to which you share his views), but Moore seems less interested in determining who is right or wrong than in asking what can be done to make America a safer and saner place to live, and for all the craziness (both funny and disturbing) on view, it's the shaggy regular-guy humanity of Bowling for Columbine that makes it most effective, both as a polemic and as cinema.

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Michael Moore Participant
Charlton Heston Participant
Matt Stone Participant
Marilyn Manson Participant
Dick Clark Participant
George W. Bush Actor
James Nichols himself
Barry Glassner himself
Richard Castaldo Participant
Brandon T. Jackson Participant

Technical Credits
Michael Moore Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Charles Bishop Producer
Matthew Bookbinder Animator
Dave Concepcion Animator
Gaia Cornwall Animator
Jim Czarnecki Producer
Brian Danitz Camera Operator
James Demer Sound/Sound Designer
Michael Donovan Producer
Kurt Engfehr Co-producer,Editor
Jeff Gibbs Score Composer
Bob Gleason Animator
Kathleen Glynn Producer
Bob Golden Score Composer
Miguel Hernandez Animator
Francisco Latorre Sound/Sound Designer
Michael McDonough Camera Operator
Harold Moss Animator
T. Woody Richman Animator
Kareem Thompson Animator
Wolfram Tichy Executive Producer
Aneurin Wright Animator
Rehya Young Co-producer


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Bowling for Columbine 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 73 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didn't know what to expect. This movie really gives you something to think about when it comes to guns, gun control, and all the different things that drive people to do what they do. This movie doesn't just address the Columbine tragedy but includes tragedy in general. Makes you think about the glorification people put on news and violence. Explains how the media, writers, film makers, etc. have more of a conscious regarding how much money they will make versus the influence they will have on people (especially young people). As they say sex and violence sells which is a sad state of our society. I now have a lack of respect for Charlton Heston (ironic how he played Moses in the Ten Commandments).
Guest More than 1 year ago
Michael Moore's documentary on the shootings at Columbine High School takes a very serious though thoughtfully witty examination of violence in America, both past and present. Through interviews with victims and others both directly and indirectly impacted by the tragedy, as well as stars of hollywood and others, Moore gives viewers a chance to personally interpret what he portrays as mere possibilities in the never-ending saga of the causes of violence in American culture. My final thought: Damn... how'd we EVER get this far?? Thank you Michael.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Michael Moore is upfront and hides no information. A film to raise you off your seat! A valid perspective of American culture and a powerful way to portray it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I never liked Michael Moore, I always thought he was just some fat liberal dork. But after actually watching this movie, I was proven wrong. This guy really knows what hes doing. Bowling for Columbine points out many very important issues that are just simply ignored by us Americans. Most of us aren't even aware of them. It really opened up my eyes and changed my perspective on things. My only compliant is that he kind of makes gun owners look bad by interviewing some strange people but other than that the rest of the movie is extremely informative and well worth your time. I think every American definitely needs to see this movie, you won't be disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A very emotional look a very serious problem. Mr. Moore simply used the incident at Columbine as a launching pad for this video diatribe. I'm not sure where the ''fiction'' came into play, but those B&W security camera images from the High School will stay with me a long time. The oppressive air of fear we are all subjected to by the vast wealthy media of this country is certainly a problem we will have to contend with, soon. That to me is Mr. Moore's messgage here and his greatest concern going forward. As far as saying shame on the leader of our current ultra-nationalistic regime, I say more power to you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm only 16, so I don't really know all that much about politics and what was wrong in the movie, but I thought it was great and can't get over how true it was. I LOVE this movie!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I agree with the viewers who commented that this movie should not be labeled as a documentary, since it contains more fiction than facts. I think it's unfortunate that Moore exploits the tragedy at Columbine by skewing the reality of that day's events for his own personal gain. This movie could have been better if Moore kept his personal views out of the picture.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Brings home the duplicity of the gun lobby, NRA and naivity of their followers and fans. Moore's directness is as always piercing to the crux of the issue, in this case gun violence. Incredible. Laugh and cry with this one!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Proving once again that he looks at the world through jade-colored glasses (or is it yellow, to match his so-called journalism?), Michael Moore rolls up his left sleeve and engages in yet another no-holds-barred attack on those who are wrong as far as he is concerned. Who died and made him God? Anyone watching this movie who has half a brain will see instantly that he lays the blame for violence in the U.S. squarely at the feet of the NRA. He didn't truly give the media their due blame for the violence problem in this country (a media that is owned and run primarily by liberals), and he didn't even touch the justice system that has been so diluted (by who else but the liberals he defends so staunchly) that murderers are allowed to kill without so much as a slap on the wrist. Nor did he examine the devaluation of life being forced down America's throat by people who believe personal convenience overrides an unborn child's right to exist (guess which political persuasion is pushing THAT agenda?). For crying out loud, he didn't take an honest look at the NRA; a group of people who are largely law-abiding citizens who take their responsibilities seriously. Yes, the NRA has its share of 'gun nuts,' but so do the inner-city gangs. Let's face it: Michael Moore doesn't understand the meaning of the words 'objectivity' or 'fairness.' He looks at an issue, decides all by himself what the problem is, then he goes out and finds evidence (primarily opinion) to support his position. Don't be fooled, and DON'T waste your time or money watching this movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
THis movie is a must see. Not only does it tackle so many of the issues in conversation today regarding race,fear and ignorance it does so in a way that injects humor into how Americans think without making fun of our overwhelming fear and insecurities about each other. The movie is a great conversation piece and can lead to hours of open dialogue amoung people of all races, creeds and the like.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My subject line pretty much says it all. I hate guns. Hate em hate em hate em. This movie just confirmed what I felt..... and I love it when other people agree with me (or at least agree that private citizens owning guns aren't helping our society in any way). Thank you Mr. Moore.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's unfortunate after such a tragic event that anyone gives this title even a single glance. By dressing himself as a social satirist, Moore believes he can force feed his own position to the public. To anyone that can see both sides of an issue, this movie is an insult to your intelligence.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is so disengaged from reality, and let me give you 3 examples: 1. he claims the columbine plant is a 'weapons-plant' - but all that has ever been manufactured there have been space rockets (and anyone who understands physics realizes they are dramatically different from the anti-tank and other military application rockets we use). 2. he set up the entire opening sequence in which the bank hands him a rifle on the premisis, by convincing the branch manager that it would be 'good publicity' and 'good for business' to hand out a free gun right there. the typical bank procedure would have been to give a gift certificate redeemable at a local sporting goods store. 3. his jingoistic 'fear of the greedy white men' (and i'm not white either, btw) is creating fear itself, the thing that he claims he is fighting. importantly, his socialist arguments belie his complete ignorance of basic economics. i think it's a good film, and there's some interesting perspective, but there are a lot of fallacies and realize, when you are watching it, that the film is pulling one over on you - and that you owe it to yourself to do some research and homework. start with some good watchdog sites like www.moorewatch.com
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can't believe there are people in this world that actually liked this movie. It makes me wonder if they are from planet Earth or just visiting from the planet Bad Taste in Movies. First off this movie is very inaccurate, so if your looking for both points of view it's not there. The movie is shot from an extremely left-wing point of view. (but what did you expect from Michael) Boring, Boring, Boring... It wasn't even interesting or shocking. It was a long movie with horrible interviews and at one point has Michael carrying on a crusade against K-Mart. K-MART??? Are you kidding me, who cares? A lame documentary that drags on until the bitter end. Michael if your listening, go back to the little hole you crawled out of and never make another movie please!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Patricia Orozco I agree on the points of discrimanitation,is all likend together. If i'm an african american does that mean i'm a criminal. The movie was good and it gets to the point.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was so happy to see an honest portrayal of guns and violence in America. Bowling for Columbine gives an honest and forthcoming look at crime.and shows that although the media usually puts a black or hispanic face on crime stories the real culpret is usually a white face. This should be mandatory viewing for all public highschool social studies classes
Guest More than 1 year ago
Considering that we are currently in a state of war, this movie is worth watching if for no other segment that the one that reviews the history of political overthrows in other countries. Not only do we nurture violence in our society, our government has a record for decades of covert intervention in other countries, backing and installing brutal regimes. The cartoon offered by the 'South Park' inventor, and this chronology is a must see for every American.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Those who gave this film only one star are the same people who encourage the use of guns and violence, but their target audience is no longer adults, it's the youth of America that they are finding to be the most gullible and ready to act on their preachings.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw this film in my English class for the second time. Although this time, his message sunk in a little better than the first time. I was amazed at how simple it is to purchase a gun in this country. Michael Moore tried to find the answer as to why us Americans are so violent. Racism also comes into play in this film and I have to say I agree with many of the points Moore made. It’s always a black man on TV portrayed as the crack-fiend monster out to get you. Yet you have teenage white kids shooting each other in the middle of the country. Moore also expressed his views on violence in the media, and how the media scares Americans into panic, causing them to waste exorbitant amounts of money to prepare for these cataclysmic events. I just don’t understand, and neither does Michael Moore for that matter, how we are so violent in this country. The movie even expresses how our neighboring country Canada, has rarely any violence at all. I actually don’t believe this, because there is violence everywhere in the world. I do however believe that the environment in Canada is a better place to raise children, since everything advertised to us is about sex, violence and money. To me, those are the three words that make you money in this country. And I think that Michael Moore did an excellent job in expressing that we as Americans need a change in our lives.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A wonderful documentary about the United State's gun culture and violence. With a hint of comedy in this world of violence and guns, the director makes you think about it, even after it is long over. Showing that movies, video-games, and music don't cause this by showing and interviewing Brian Warner a.k.a., shock rocker Marilyn Manson (who speaks very intelligently and sensibly) he shows the truth behind all of this confusion. You cry, you laugh, it moves you. Again. WONDERFUL
Guest More than 1 year ago
as a young american girl, i see the things michael moore outlines in this movie every day. in the media, all i ever hear is violence. i attend high school, and to think that something like columbine could have ever happened, let alone happen again is a very scary thing. i saw this movie in the beginning of the year and it changed me. i recommend this movie to all people of all ages. this is an important issue and i think michael moore brilliantly represents it.