50 Documentaries to See Before You Die

Harlan County, USA (1976)

Director: Barbara Kopple

Harlan County, USA is a documentary about the infamous 1970s coal mine strikers in Harlan County, Kentucky. The film bravelyexposes the dark sides of the miner strikes inside and outside of the workplace. The wives of the miners were also just as essential to the movement as the miners themselves. In fact, the director said that they had to pretend to keep filming even if they were out of film to prevent any strikers from being too violent. A lasting document of American labor, it should be essential viewing this fourth of July. —Vanessa Castro

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