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…  See more details below


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.

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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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Product Details

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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
I first saw this movie the night it came out, and I loved every minute of it. I went back and saw it five more times. Every American should see this movie, especially the ones who are obsessed with guns. It is a poignant look at a deadly American obsession. With all its humor, it still carries a very strong message.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bowling for Columbine was an awesome and very original look at violence in America. It mixed a hint of sarcastic comedy with a realism that really hit home. Between the hip roaring hilarious ''History of America'' Southpark cartoon that made you burst out into combustive laughter and the surreal real time video footage from the Columbine massacre that made you break down like a baby and cry...all of your emotions were touched. In this film, you truly will cry and laugh and be angry. Two points rang clear in this film. We live in an ever increasingly ''fear oriented'' world where we're bombarded with tales of murder and threats of killer bees and bombs in shoes. And really is only a few committed people who really ever make a difference. This movie is a must see!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Should be compulsory viewing for every American. No wonder this movie won at Cannes. Michael Moore is no actor but he got the story line nearly perfect.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is nothing short of outstanding. From the moment I began watching this movie I was riveted to the screen. I wish that every American could see this - especially all of the war-mongers out there that are completely intolerant of people and cultures and think that war is the answer to solve all problems. Not to mention, it is quite an eye-opener to see some a few famous people in their true form, instead of the phonie front that they portray on T.V. and fictional movies. If this movie does nothing else for you, it will absolutely make you think.....a quality that most of the ''blockbuster'' or as I call them....JUNK movies are so sadly lacking.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldnt stand it. I especially hated when he attacked that senile, feeble old man towards the end of the film. BLAH!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great documentary, but Mike Moore makes me sick. He is a raving idiot whose un-American views should be kept to himself, not blared to thousands of booing real Americans who do not care what the F--K he thinks. You are very good at what you do Mr. Moore. Do not ruin it by being Jessie Jackson Jr.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sarcastic, funny and real-all geniune Michael Moore style. Hits very true to home...and makes you reflect very deeply (and consider moving to Canada).
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this is the most important movie of all time. I think everybody should see this movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I must say that iam truely disappointed with the US. this movie already cameout here in europe - its been a bestseller too. you cant walk into a movie store without seeing a large display of these DVDs for sale. in fact it is even sold at a bookstore that has no other movies. why on earth is america trying to hide this flim. of yes because it goes against what americans -i am one too- were tought to believe as acceptable. if you want to see a different side of america you sould see this movie, but if your happy in your own little world find a disney movie to watch.
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 has succeeded in tantalizing the audience with his somewhat odd but brutally honest (and at times humorous)approach at researching possible causes of the shootings at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. Through interviews with actors, as well as people who were directly affected by the shootings and some who weren't, the film gives a wonderful portrayal of violence in the history of America. It is an eye-opener in a frighteningly realistic way to what true values and morals this country is run under. Thank you Michael.
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
It's good for Michael Moore that this film won an Academy award, after ''Bowling'', his reputation as a reporter of the facts is now in serious jeopardy. It's sad that he has to resort to conning the audience by passing off myth as substantiated fact in order to make his arguments. Otherwise, a great work of reality-based FICTION. My advice, do your own research on Columbine, etc., before you watch this film. You'll be amazed at the differences.
Guest More than 1 year ago
He should be ashamed! Hey Moore, read the definition of ''documentary''. There is more fiction than truth in this story and is done solely to further his political cause, as evidenced by his acceptance speech. Don't waste your money on a work of fiction.
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
A movie not a documentary. Moore should try and be as HONEST about his story as he wants the President to be. Somewhat funny, but mostly rubbish. Gets a 10 for fiction and a zero for honesty.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This film is important for every American to see, especcially those that are subject to the American Scaremongering, i.e. everyone. It brings ideas to light that the modern day babysitter (TV) won't tell you. I'd be scared not to see it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Michael Moore is a truly talented humorist. For those with little exposure to the facts, his story line will be very persuasive. When CNN's Lou Dobbs asked about the glaring inaccuracies, Moore's response was how can there be inaccuracy in comedy? As the Wall Street Journal stated March 21, 2003, Mr. Moore would deserve an Academy Award if there were an Oscar for Best Cinematic Con Job.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Does anyone else who has watched this movie know anything about Micahel Moore? The man is certainly not an expert in political science, for that matter neither am I, but do I claim to be? No. Does Michael Moore claim to be in this ''documentary'' (read 'editorial')? Anwser that yourself. What Michael Moore does in fact do is critizice the extablishment (which he has always done) which is sometimes good, but not always good as Mr. Moore seems to think. As its main way of demonstrating its points, the film uses interviews with unsespecting ppl. like employess of a Kmart who are selling things that are protected by the American Constitution. This simply exposes Moore for what he is; a political southpaw and one who skillfully bends truth to his own point of view. Don't let films like this sway your own views of what is or is not true.
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.