Films – Freedom of Association

Harlan County, USA
Director: Barbara Kopple, 1976
Academy Award-winning documentary of the struggle between striking unionized coal miners and their employer. Emphasizes the right of workers to organize labor unions and the violence resistance they encounter.
Time: 103 minutes
Grade Level: high school – adult
Subject Area: social studies


On the Waterfront
Director: Elia Kazan, 1954
Academy Award-winning film starring Marlon Brandon and Karl Maldon about organized crime’s penetration of a longshoreman’s union in New York during the 1950s. Several men break the community’s code of silence to stand up to the gangsters and expose the murder of a friend. Provides an introduction to the right to form trade unions, the problems of corruption in unions, and the need for courageous individuals to stand up to corrupt union bosses.
Time: 108 minutes
Grade Level: high school – adult
Subject Area: social studies