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Matewan (1987)

Matewan (1987)Writer/Director

Written and Directed by John Sayles

A small town in 1920’s West Virginia explodes when newly-unionized miners clash with the owners of a tyrannical coal company in this film. Itinerant organizer Joe Kenehan (Chris Cooper in his feature debut), arrives in Matewan to try and better the lives of the men and women of this ‘company town’, virtually owed by the Stone Mountain Coal Company, and touches off one of the most violent incidents in the struggle of American labor. Mary McDonnell, David Strathairn and James Earl Jones also star in this critically acclaimed film that Leonard Maltin calls “compelling and compassionate…John Sayles makes every note ring true.” Matewan has become a staple in the teaching of U.S. Labor History.

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