Harlan County, USA

From Academic Kids

Harlan County, USA is a 1976 documentary film documenting the efforts of 180 coal-miners on strike in Harlan County, Kentucky in 1974. It was directed by Barbara Kopple, who has long been an advocate of workers' rights. Harlan County, U.S.A. is less ambivalent in its attitude toward unions than her later American Dream.

Kopple and her crew spent years with the families depicted in the film, documenting the dire straits they put themselves through striking for higher wages: following them to picket in front of the stock exchange in New York, filming interviews with people affected by black lung disease, and even catching an attempted murder on tape.

The film won the 1976 Academy Award for Documentary Feature and has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. The events were dramatized in the 2000 TV movie Harlan County War.

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