7.9/10
6,540
56 user 24 critic

Matewan (1987)

PG-13 | | Drama, History | 30 June 1988 (Australia)
A labor union organizer comes to an embattled mining community brutally and violently dominated and harassed by the mining company.

Director:

John Sayles

Writer:

John Sayles
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Limbo I (1999)
Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In an economically devastated Alaskan town, a fisherman with a troublesome past dates a woman whose young daughter does not approve of him. When he witnesses the murder of his shady brother, he, the woman and the kid run to the wilderness.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: David Strathairn, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Vanessa Martinez
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A woman and her new husband returns to her hometown roots in coastal northern Florida, and must deal with family, business, and encroaching real estate development.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: Angela Bassett, Edie Falco, Alex Lewis
Lone Star (1996)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

When the skeleton of his murdered predecessor is found, Sheriff Sam Deeds unearths many other long-buried secrets in his Texas border town.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: Chris Cooper, Elizabeth Peña, Stephen Mendillo
Passion Fish (1992)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

After an accident leaves her a paraplegic, a former soap opera star struggles to recover both emotionally and mentally, until she meets her newest nurse, who has struggles of her own.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: Mary McDonnell, Alfre Woodard, Angela Bassett
Men with Guns II (1997)
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Humberto Fuentes is a wealthy doctor whose wife has recently died. In spite of the advice of his children, he takes a trip to visit his former students who now work in impoverished villages... See full summary »

Director: John Sayles
Stars: Federico Luppi, Damián Delgado, Dan Rivera González
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Seven former college friends, along with a few new friends, gather for a weekend reunion at a summer house in New Hampshire to reminisce about the good old days, when they got arrested on the way to a protest in Washington, DC.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: Bruce MacDonald, Maggie Renzi, Adam LeFevre
Comedy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A mute alien with the appearance of a black human is chased by outer-space bounty hunters through the streets of Harlem.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: Joe Morton, Daryl Edwards, Rosanna Carter
City of Hope (1991)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An intersecting tale with a multitude of characters living lives which, in one way or another, revolve around an old apartment block scheduled to be demolished.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: Vincent Spano, Tony Lo Bianco, Stephen Mendillo
Eight Men Out (1988)
Drama | History | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A dramatization of the Black Sox scandal when the underpaid Chicago White Sox accepted bribes to deliberately lose the 1919 World Series.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: John Cusack, Clifton James, Jace Alexander
Silver City (2004)
Comedy | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

The discovery of a corpse threatens to unravel a bumbling local politician's campaign for governor of Colorado.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: Chris Cooper, Thora Birch, Maria Bello
Lianna (1983)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A happily married woman comes to realize herself of being a repressed lesbian after she has an affair with a female college professor, and then tries to come to terms with her newfound lifestyle.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: Linda Griffiths, Jane Hallaren, Jon DeVries
Baby It's You (1983)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

In a 1966 New Jersey high school, Jill and new student Sheik from the other side of the tracks make their way in a first love romance.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: Rosanna Arquette, Vincent Spano, Joanna Merlin
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Chris Cooper ... Joe Kenehan
Mary McDonnell ... Elma Radnor
Will Oldham ... Danny Radnor
David Strathairn ... Sid Hatfield
Ken Jenkins ... Sephus Purcell
Kevin Tighe ... Hickey
Gordon Clapp ... Tom Griggs
Bob Gunton ... C.E. Lively
Jace Alexander ... Hillard Elkins
Joe Grifasi ... Fausto
Nancy Mette ... Bridey Mae
Jo Henderson Jo Henderson ... Mrs. Elkins
Josh Mostel ... Cabell Testerman
Gary McCleery Gary McCleery ... Ludie
Maggie Renzi Maggie Renzi ... Rosaria
Edit

Storyline

Mingo County, West Virginia, 1920. Coal miners, struggling to form a union, are up against company operators and the gun thugs of the notorious Baldwin-Felts detective agency. Black and Italian miners, brought in by the company to break the strike, are caught between the two forces. UMWA organizer and dual-card Wobbly Joe Kenehan determines to bring the local, Black, and Italian groups together. While Kenehan and his story are fictional, the setting and the dramatic climax are historical; Sid Hatfield, Cabell C. Testerman, C. E. Lively and the Felts brothers were real-life participants, and 'Few Clothes' is based on a character active several years previously. Written by Susan C. Mitchell <susanm@indirect.com>, expanded by Silverwhistle

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

At the coal company they use you until you wear out See more »

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

30 June 1988 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Azok a véres napok See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$23,850, 30 August 1987

Gross USA:

$1,680,358

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,680,358
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

David Strathairn (Sid Hatfield) & Mary McDonnell (Elma Radnor) also worked together on Sneakers (1992) as Whistler & Liza respectively, and Passion Fish (1992) as Rennie & May-Alice Culhane respectively. See more »

Goofs

The steam locomotive used in "Matewan" was ex-New York, Chicago, and St. Louis Railway ("Nickel Plate Road") #765. It was a modern steam locomotive built in the 1940's and thus would not have existed at the time of the events depicted in "Matewan." See more »

Quotes

Hardshell Preacher: The Prince of Darkness is upon the land. Now in the Bible his name is Beezlebub, Lord of the Flies. Right now on Earth today his name is Bolshevist! Socialist! Communist! Union man! Lord of untruth, sower of evil seed, enemy of all that is good and pure and this creature walks among us. What are we going to do about it?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Game On: Martin's Baby (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

HILLS OF GALILEE
Sung by Hazel Dickens
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A great history lesson!
7 July 2009 | by GethinVanHSee all my reviews

You might say we have it pretty good today, we don't have to pick up a rifle to form a union. This movie is based on the Battle of Matewan that took place in Matewan, West Virginia in 1920.

The conditions these workers faced were brutal. Miners had to pay for all their own equipment, their housing was owned by the mining company and they also paid for it, workers were also paid in credits which they could only use at the mining company store. Workers who went strike were subsequently evicted from their homes.

This movie is great. It's a page from history which should be told much more often. James Earl Jones is terrific as a black miner who is signed up as a scab but he's actually a union sympathizer who encourages the black scabs to strike with the West Virginia workers.

Chris Cooper is also great as a union organizer. I think he's a highly underrated actor. He was very good in American Beauty as the hick next door neighbor and he's great in Matewan as well. Proof, I believe that he can really take on any role.

Bob Gunton is also a great actor. This movie was made long before he was playing every two bit villain of the week. I think that was due to his role as the warden in The Shawshank Redemption where he just let it all out.

I liked one scene in particular early in the film where the union men on strike try to weed out Cooper by finding out how much he knows about union history. Where was Joe Hill buried? In which eye was Big Bill Haywood blind in? Cooper also quips, "I was a Wobbly, back when that meant something" But he does support the notion of One Big Union. The IWW will rise again!


4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 56 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed