Working class cinema - a video guide

After Hours directed by Martin Scorsese's guide to working class films, showing class struggles, revolutionary situations and everyday lives.

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Shari Springer Berman

  • American Splendor - Adaptation of Harvey Pekar's comic series, which he wrote whilst working as a file clerk in a hospital.

Herbert J. Biberman

  • Salt of the Earth - Film based on the 1951 miners' strike in New Mexico, and starring many of those involved, it shows how miners and their families all take part in the long hard struggle against the mining company. Made in 1953, it was originally banned as part of the 'Red Scare'.

James Bridges

  • The China Syndrome - A nuclear reactor almost goes into meltdown, whilst a team of reporters are on site covering a story.

Steve Buscemi

  • Trees Lounge - A mechanic, sacked for stealing out of the till, drinks his sorrows away over one summer in a Bukowski-esque anti-tale.

John Carpenter

  • Escape from New York and Escape from LA - Bakunin with an eyepatch is forced to save the world.
  • They Live - A special pair of sunglasses reveal billboards and adverts aren't what they seem.

Coen brothers

  • The Big Lebowski - The Dude is a loafer that would have made Paul Lafargue blush. When a case of mistaken identity ruins his rug, he is dragged into something far bigger.

Bill Duke

  • Deep Cover - Focusing on the role of the police in the war on drugs, an undercover cop begins to enjoy the rewards.

Ryan Fleck

  • Half Nelson - A radical inner city school teacher battles his demons with crack cocaine whilst trying to inspire his class.
  • Sugar - Miguel has dreamt all his life of leaving the Dominican Republican to play baseball professionally but he soon discovers it isn't all it's cracked up to be.

John Flynn

  • Rolling Thunder - A tortured Vietnam veteran returns home to suburban America but nothing will be the same again.

John Frankenheimer

  • Seconds - When an middle aged man trades his identity and his face, he only realises what he's given up when it's too late.

William Friedkin

  • Sorcerer - Remake of Wages for Fear.

Brian Goodman

  • What Doesn't Kill You - A small time criminal struggles to pay the bills and support his family.

Albert Hughes

  • Dead Presidents - A black Vietnam vet joins a political organisation funding itself with armed robbery, based on the story of Haywood T. Kirkland.

John Huston

Mike Judge

  • Office Space - When Peter sees an hypnotherapist, he inadvertently begins a refusal of work while his friends at the company are going to be made redundant and want revenge.

Barbara Kopple

  • Harlan County USA - Documentary of the 1976 Brookside strike and the subsequent agreement.

Stanley Kubrick

  • The Killing - The robbery on a racetrack has been meticulously planned, but a scheming wife could end up getting someone killed, if they can pull it off.

Spike Lee

  • Do the Right Thing - Film set in a New York neighbourhood, where class and racial tensions collide on the hottest day of the summer.
  • Malcolm X - Biopic on the life of black power leader, Malcolm X, from his childhood through to his conversion to Islam in prison and his eventual split with the Nation of Islam.
  • Summer of Sam - Broad look at the white community in the South Bronx of 1977, with punk, disco and the serial killer Son of Sam raging over a summer.

Sidney Lumet

  • Network - When a news reporter is thrown off the air for voicing subversive opinions, the network see in him an opportunity to increase ratings.

Adrian Lyne

  • Jacob's Ladder - A Vietnam veteran suffers delusions from the alleged drug trials administered during the war.

Michael Mann

  • Heat - Work is the obsession for criminals and police alike, in this melancholy noir.
  • Collateral - One night with a taxi driver, whose fare is a hitman directing him to his jobs around the city.

Andrew Niccol

  • In Time - Time has replaced capital, and life runs out for those with nothing left on their clock.

Jeff Nichols

  • Take Shelter - A construction contractor struggles with the recession and his worsening grip on reality.

Mike Nichols

  • Silkwood - Based on the true story of Karen Silkwood, who raised concerns about radiation from the nuclear plant she worked at and was found dead in suspicious circumstances.

Martin Ritt

  • Norma Rae - Inspired by a speech, a factory worker begins to organise at her workplace, based on the story of Crystal Lee Sutton.

George Romero

  • Dawn of the Dead - 4 people hold up in a shopping centre as the zombies have taken over, and try to return to normality
  • Land of the Dead - The zombies begin organising against the last remaining human city in the US.

Richard Sarafin

  • Vanishing Point - A car courier races across the country to make an impossible delivery, with an ending that symbolised the death of the hippie movement.

Tom Savini

  • Night of the Living Dead 1990 - Improved remake of the civil rights film with zombies, which places the damsel in distress of the original, Barbra, as a strong leader.

John Sayles

  • Matewan - The story of the Battle in Matewan, 1920, where miners fought private police.

Paul Schrader

  • Light Sleeper - An ageing drug dealer is faced with finding legitimate employment.
  • Blue Collar - 3 workers strapped for cash decide to rob their ineffectual union.
  • American Gigolo - A gigolo for the wealthy becomes embroiled in scandal when he falls for a senator's wife.

Martin Scorsese

  • Taxi Driver - Damaged Vietnam vet cum taxi driver battles with New York, and himself.
  • After Hours - A chance date for an office worker turns into a nightmare trying to get back home in time for tomorrow's shift.
  • Bringing Out the Dead - An overworked and conscientious ambulance driver begins to slip into insanity.

Tarsem Singh

  • The Fall - A stuntman lies in the hospital bed, paralysed from his first film, where he befriends a small girl and loses himself in fantastical storytelling.

Mario Van Peebles


Santiago Grasso

  • Empleo - A man makes his way to work, finding people being used as objects.

Héctor Olivera

  • La Patagonia Rebelde - Based on anarchist Osvaldo Bayer's book, this is the true story of the massacre of FORA organised labourers in the 1920s.


Andrew Dominik

  • Killing Them Softly - The Boston mob sends a hitman to kill those responsible for a card game robbery during the 2012 presidential election.

John Hillcoat

  • Ghosts of the Civil Dead - Both prison guards and prisoners are manipulated into a riot to secure funding for a new maximum security complex.

George Miller

  • Mad Max and Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior - The defining films of what the apocalypse will look like, petrol has become the only commodity in a world of fast cars and dangerous roads.

Michael Rymer

  • Angel Baby - A man released from a mental institution struggles to stay healthy with a baby on the way and his first job in years.

Stephen Wallace

  • Stir - Written by an inmate involved, Stir shows what provoked the 1974 Bathurst Jail riots.


Alan Clarke

  • Scum - Nihilistic drama set in a young offenders institute.
  • Elephant - Experimental short about the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Paddy Considine

  • Tyrannosaur - A bitter alcoholic finds salvation in a woman who seems to be perfect on the outside, but harbours an unhappy secret.

Duncan Jones

  • Moon - The moon has been colonised, and is manned for 3 years. Sam Bell is coming to the end of his contract when he begins to experience hallucinations.

Mike Leigh

  • Naked - A drifter meets similarly lost souls whilst living on the streets of London.

Ken Loach

  • Land and Freedom - Loose adaptation of George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia, following the POUM fighting in the Spanish Revolution.
  • The Navigators - Film following five railway workers affected by the 1995 privatisation of British Rail and how this changes their lives.

Shane Meadows

  • This is England, This is England '86 and This is England '88 - Documenting a group of skinheads as they grow up in a northern town.
  • Dead Man's Shoes - A Gulf War veteran returns his home town to dish out revenge to local gangsters responsible for an unknown crime.

Gary Oldman

  • Nil by Mouth - Life for an extended family on a South London council estate.

Tony Richardson

Ridley Scott

  • Alien - Space workers are hunted down by an unnatural force.
  • Blade Runner - Four androids look to extend their lifespan whilst being hunted by a policeman, in a dystopic Los Angeles.


Gary Burns

  • Waydowntown - Office workers bet their salaries who can last the longest without stepping outside, using Calgary's skywalks to get around.


Pablo Larrain

  • Fuga - The manuscript of a composer is rediscovered by students. They learn how he came to wrote it, and how it was sent him to an asylum.
  • Tony Manero - A man obsessed with the character from Saturday Night Fever is due to enter a television contest to crown the best Manero impersonator, whilst Pinochet's disappearances carry on in the background.


Tsai Ming-liang

  • Rebels of a Neon God - A pair of friends make their living robbing arcade machine chips.

Li Yang

  • Blind Shaft - Two men killing miners for compensation find a conscience.

Jia Zhangke

  • Unknown Pleasures - Two unemployed friends chain smoke and wander about.


Nicolas Winding Refn

  • Pusher trilogy - Interconnected stories of drug dealers falling from grace in Copenhagen.
  • Drive - A single mother falls for a moonlighter who'll do anything to protect her.


Paul Verhoeven

  • Starship Troopers - Argentinian Ayans fight bugs in space.


Aki Kaurismäki

  • Shadows in Paradise - A binman falls in love with a supermarket checkout girl he sees on his rounds.


Jacques Becker

  • Le Trou - Four tight knit prisoners have been preparing their breakout for months when a new cellmate is added. Can they trust him?

Jean-Louis Comolli

  • La Cecilia - Based on Giovanni Rossi's memoirs of the little known Colonia Cecilia, the Brazilian emperor offers land to anarchists to create a commune. But tensions grow as they try to shake off the beliefs of the old world.

Henri-Georges Clouzot

  • Wages of Fear - A group of destitute men in South America agree to drive explosives across the country in a bid to escape.


Slatan Dudow

  • To Whom Does the World Belong - The trials and tribulations of an unemployable Berlin family.

Phil Jutzi

  • Mother Krause's Journey to Happiness - A family struggle in poverty in Weimar Germany, finding salvation too late.

Fritz Lang

  • Metropolis - An industrialist's son swaps places with a worker and agitates for insurrection, having fallen for a schoolteacher.

Volker Schlöndorff

  • Coup de grace - The Russian Revolution is on the doorstep of a Prussian army camp in Latvia, as sexual tensions grow.

Henner Winckler

  • Lucy - A teenage mother has to decide whether she wants the responsibility of bringing up a child.

Hong Kong

Fruit Chan

  • The Longest Summer - British soldiers made redundant after the handover of Hong Kong decide to rob a bank.

Johnnie To

  • Life Without Principle - Austerity noir, following different people's lives affected by the economic crisis.

Wong Kar-wai

  • In the Mood for Love - A couple, whose respective spouses are cheating with one another, deny themselves from doing the same, in a seductive account of conservative 1960s Hong Kong.


Miklós Jancsó

  • The Red and the White - Scenic look at the reprisals by both communists and White Guards during the Russian Revolution.


Dagur Kári

  • Noi the Albino - A truant teenager falls in love with a girl in a diner and dreams of escaping his seaside home.


Guido Chiesa

  • Working Slowly - Film set amongst the youth movement in 1970s Bologna, with the refusal of work, sexual freedom and cultural provocations it entailed. Made with the collaboration of the Wu Ming Foundation, it covers the radical pirate radio station Radia Alice and the 1977 rebellion.
  • Johnny the Partisan - Story of an English literature student who escapes into the mountains to join the Italian resistance of fascism.

Sergio Corbucci

  • The Great Silence - Bleak Western set in a snowy blizzard. A mute gunslinger tries to defend a town from outlaws.

Marco Tullio Giordana

  • One Hundred Steps - The true story of Giuseppe Impastato, a communist anti-mafia campaigner in Sicily, set against the backdrop of Italian politics in the 1970s.

Daniele Luchetti

  • My Brother is an Only Child - Story of two brothers in a working class Italian family, one who becomes a Communist while the other decides to become a fascist.

Giuliano Montaldo

Ermanno Olmi

  • Il Posto - A school leaver enters into the world of work whilst falling in love for the first time.

Elio Petri

  • The Working Class Goes to Heaven - Operaismo inspired film of a Stakhanovite factory worker turning radical. The star, Gian Maria Volonte, was a real member of the Italian Communist Party.
  • Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion - Dramatic, psychological crime film in which Gian Maria Volonte plays a top police officer who murders his girlfriend and plants obvious clues to test whether other officers would charge him for his crime.

Roberto Rossellini

  • Rome, Open City - Classic film about a working class Italian partisan, fighting fascism during the last days of the Nazi's occupation of Rome.
  • Paisan - Film split into six different episodes covering all of Italy towards the end of the Second World War, from the Americans landing in Sicily to the Venetian resistance to fascism in the north.


Marjane Satrapi

  • Persepolis - Adaptation of the comic, a girl growing up begins to question the Iranian revolution.


Masaki Kobayashi

  • Harakiri - When his son-in-law is killed begging for charity, Tsugumo visits the lord responsible to commit suicide. But only after he's told his story.
  • Samurai Rebellion - A clan lord orders a marriage between his mistress and the son of one of his swordsmen. When the lord changes his mind, the couple would rather die than be apart and his men are on their way.

Eiichi Kudō

  • Castle of Owls - The Toyotomi clan has declared peace. To stimulate business, a weapons merchant hires a ninja to assassinate its leader. But he begins to question whether his code is more important than his happiness.

Masahiro Shinoda

  • Samurai Spy - With the new shogun, war has ended. But the clans still vie for power and spies wander amongst them in Shinoda's Cold War allegory.

Hiroyuki Tanaka

  • Kanikosen - Film adaptation of Takiji Kobayashi's The Cannery Ship. Crab fishermen attempt to take control of the ship out at sea.


Bent Hamer

  • O'Horten - As a train driver finishes his last day before retirement, he wonders what to do with the rest of his life.
  • Factotum - Faithful adaptation of Bukowski's novel, as well as some of his short stories.


Wojciech Has

  • Petla - An alcoholic tries to quit drinking over 24 hours.

Alek Wasilewski

  • Lucky Day Forever - Prole 514 hopes to win the lottery, never having to work again. But when he does, is he any happier?


Yakov Protazanov

  • Aelita - Communists travel into space to help Martians with their revolution.

South African

Neill Blomkamp

  • District 9 - Alluding to the District Six evictions in apartheid and the more recent Blikkiesdorp settlement, District 9 sees aliens come to Earth. But when they arrive, they are a minority group just like any other, and are hated by both black and white in South Africa.

Bronwen Hughes

  • Stander - The embellished story of Andre Stander, a cop who turned bank robber, set in and around the Soweto uprising.

South Korean

Lee Chang-dong

  • Peppermint Candy - As Yongho stands on a track waiting for a train, he has a series of flashbacks to explain what has driven him to suicide; heartbreak, compulsory military service, the police force and bankruptcy.

Park Chan-wook

  • Sympathy for Mr Vengeance - A deaf factory worker made redundant kidnaps his boss' daughter for a ransom.

Park Kwang-su

  • A Single Spark - The story of Jeon Tae-il, a textile worker who self immolated in protest of poor conditions.

Shin Dong-il

  • Bandhobi - A Bangladeshi worker trying to retrieve his stolen wages receives help from a schoolgirl.


Vicente Aranda

  • Libertarias - The Mujres Libres battle in the Spanish Revolution, with liberated sex workers and a nun in tow. Trigger warning, features a rape scene.

Fernando Arrabal

  • The Tree of Guernica - Irreverent take on the Spanish Civil War set in the Basque region of Guernica, where both communists and Francoists await the fighting.

Fernando León de Aranoa

  • Mondays in the Sun - A group of shipworkers made redundant try to come to terms with the death of the shipping industry, a lack of jobs and financial troubles.

Álex de la Iglesia

  • 800 Bullets - Former stuntmen operate a theme park on the sets they filmed their spaghetti westerns on. When a real estate mogul buys up the land and threatens to send in the riot police, they decide to wait for them.


Lukas Moodysson

  • Together - Comedy set in 1970s Stockholm, in which a woman leaves her violent husband and moves, with her children, to the Tillsammans ('Together' in Swedish) commune where her brother lives.

Thomas Vinterberg

  • Dear Wendy - In a mining town, a group of misfits create a pacifist gun club. They make a rule never to draw their guns, but when the police become involved, they find it difficult to keep to their promise.


Pen-Ek Ratanaruang

  • Headshot - A disgraced cop joins a secret organisation targeting politicians and businessmen.


Fatih Akin

  • Head On - Two people admitted for attempted suicide decide to have a sham marriage, to free Sibyl from her conservative Muslim family.


Apr 30 2013 17:47

Still have more to do on this, but has anyone female directed films to suggest?

Apr 30 2013 20:19

two classical German films

- Kuhle Wampe or Who Owns the World? (1932), script written by Bertolt Brecht

- Mother Krause's Journey to Happiness (1929)

Apr 30 2013 20:42

Here are a few suggestions.

Mikio Naruse
A wife though her daily routines, coupled with her husband’s attitudes recognises the boring futility of her existence and is forced to confront her own future.

When A Woman Ascends The Stairs
This is the moving story of a widow being slowly crushed in a patriarchal society.

Floating Clouds
The film is a story of two lovers trying to fit into to a society in which they are placed - an impossible situation – she with the need to survive and he to conform to the social norm.

Costa Gavras
Using events leading up to the Greek military coup, when it was first released this caused political waves – in one London cinema I saw the audience applaud at the end!

State Of Siege {Etat de Siege}
Using the Tupamaro guerrillas vs. the CIA as the story’s framework it is an interesting and exciting watch, though it is also sadly short of any political analysis.

New Zealand (1990)
Jane Campion
An Angel At My Table
The story of Janet Frame one of New Zealand’s best known authors who from humble beginnings and the insensitive treatment of the authorities finally manages to establish her sanity and gain recognition. It’s a masterpiece of passionate film making.

The Piano (1993)
A story of a strong willed woman who has to fight for what she wants in a hostile environment among uncultivated men.

Agnieszka Holland
Olivier, Olivier (1992)
Based on a true story, this is a brutal war story of a Jewish boy who survived the 1939 Soviet invasion of Poland, then the Nazi take over at the time of operation Barbarossa - he eventually joins the Hitler Youth (the images of him desperately trying to stretch his circumcised foreskin in a toilet cubical is excruciating).

Apr 30 2013 20:45
Apr 30 2013 21:52

Hey, thanks for doing this! But yeah some more stuff by a broader range of directors would be good.

I will have a think of a couple of things to add. I can think of a couple of Italian films and spaghetti westerns for example

Apr 30 2013 22:10

The problem is there's a lack of women film directors in general. In this country I only know of Andrea Arnold and Lynne Ramsey and someone like Kathryn Bigalow is a one off in terms of making blockbusters.

May 1 2013 09:34

Yeah, I know - I was thinking about black directors as well, and films from Eastern Europe and Africa.

I've seen a few potential Eastern European ones, but will have to do try and remember the names…

May 1 2013 09:40

Gillian Armstrong
My Brilliant Career (1979)
At the dawn of the 20th century a young woman in the Australian outback dreams of becoming a writer – beautifully composed and slow paced with no three second cuts.

Agnes Varda
Cleo From 5 To 7 {Cleo de 5 a 7} (1961?)
A young woman walks round Paris as she waits for the results of a medical examination – a finely observed study of anxiety and the search for hope.

Catherine Breillat
A Ma Soeur! {aka Fat Girl} (2001)
Controversial film centring on the relationship between two sisters, 15 and 12 years, and their attitudes to sex - it is a cruel though perhaps honest depiction – the result is dark and disturbing.

Margarethe von Trotta
Marianne and Julianne {aka The German Sisters} (1981)
Based on the real life sisters associated with the Baader-Meinhof group, von Trotta explores the complexity of the sister’s relationship and of women’s resistance and revolt.

Lina Wertmuller
Seven Beauties (1975)
A controversial film of a man’s ignoble survival in World War II - a mix of farce and satire, of some interest and very unpleasant (some critics loved it).

Paolo & Vittorio Taviani
Padre Padrone (1977)
A classic film based on fact, a boy aged six is taken from school into the mountains where he works alone for years as his father’s shepherd – until he breaks free.

Yasujiro Ozu
Late Spring (1949)
A very moving film of a young woman who gives up her independence to take care of her aging father – her story continues in ‘Early Summer’ (1951).

Kathryn Bigelow
Strange Days (1995)
An enjoyable if flawed sci-fi action movie, part of which seeks to investigate the nature of voyeurism via memory implants.

May 1 2013 13:42

Christine Edzard
Little Dorrit (1987) Part 1: Nobody’s Fault; Part 2: Little Dorrit’s Story
Terrific screen adaption of Dickens’ teeming novel of corruption, capitalism and greed – a super cast of over 200 and especially good is Max Wall as the gnarled Flintwinch.

May 1 2013 13:02
May 1 2013 14:07

a few more:

- Vai viegli būt jaunam? (1987, "Is It Easy to Be Young?") a brilliant Soviet-Latvian documentary

The movie speaks about young people who perished as a result of growing up in Soviet society - their conflicts with parents and society, the patronizing attitudes of their teachers and the authorities, the fear that there is no meaning to their lives. Among the young people portrayed are high-schoolers looking for their place in life, a young mother worried about the future of her daughter after the Chernobyl catastrophe, a young man follower of the Hare Krishna movement (an 'unusual' religion that was discouraged even more than 'usual' ones by the Soviet government), as well young adults returning from compulsory military service in the Soviet war in Afghanistan and having become ones of 'the lost generation'. The film's opening scene documents a concert by the banned Latvian rock band, Pērkons.

- Rocker (Germany, 1972), set in the semi-criminal biker milieu of Hamburg, the participants are not professional actors but bikers who play more or less themselves

two Italian neo-realist classics:

- Bitter Rice (1949)

Bitter Rice begins at the start of the rice-planting season in northern Italy. In an effort to escape the law two small-time thieves, Francesca (Doris Dowling) and Walter (Vittorio Gassman), hide amongst the crowds of female workers heading to the rice fields of the Po Valley. While attempting to board the train for the fields the pair runs into Silvana (Silvana Mangano), a peasant rice worker. Francesca boards the train with Silvana, who introduces her to the planter's way of life. Francesca does not have a work permit, and struggles with the other "illegals" (known as "scabs") to find a place on the rice fields. After initial resistance from documented workers and bosses, the scabs are allowed a place in the fields. At the fields Silvana and Francesca meet a soon-to-be-discharged soldier, Marco (Raf Vallone), who unsuccessfully tries to attract Silvana's interest. Soon after, Walter tracks Francesca down at the rice fields and plots to steal rice from the storehouses during the celebration at the end of the planting season. Silvana is attracted by what she sees as the glamour of Walter's wealth, and becomes his new partner in crime. Francesca, meanwhile, is disenchanted with her former criminal lifestyle.

- Bicycle Thieves (1948)

Story of a poor father searching post-World War II Rome for his stolen bicycle, without which he will lose the job which was to be the salvation of his young family.

someone told me that there are a number of good Bengali films, has anyone watched

May 1 2013 14:39
Lukas Moodysson

Together - Comedy set in 1970s Stockholm, in which a woman leaves her violent husband and moves, with her children, to the Tillsammans ('Together' in Swedish) commune where her brother lives.

with a member of the Stalinist KFML(r) living in the commune who only agrees to sleep with a fellow inhabitant after she agrees to discuss "value and surplus value" with him after having sex

May 1 2013 15:40

I have not seen ‘Do Bigha Zamin’ it sounds good.

The only Bengali films I remember seeing were Satyajit Ray’s Apu Trilogy (‘Panther Panchali’, ‘Aparajito’ and ‘The World of Apu’).

My memory is that they are deceptively simple films though each carries a deep emotional impact. Basically Apu’s family struggles to survive as he grows and gains an education. Luckily the last film is also the best – though all are realistic and carry the belief in the ultimate survival of the human spirit.

May 1 2013 16:06

Jafar Panahi
Offside (2006)
Shot in situ, the Iranian football team’s 2005 World Cup qualifying tie against Bahrain is the movies focus where the main character tries to slip into the fixture - the problem is she is not legally allowed to attend (being of the female kind). The sequences outside the ground with the corralled Tehrani women who have been discovered is memorable – most of the women are indomitable and the soldiers are largely bored or dejected.

May 1 2013 20:31

I would add Mike Leigh to British, as well as the 60s kitchen sink dramas such as saturday Night Sunday Morning; Alfie; This Sporting Life; Loneliness of A Long Distance Runner. And Kes under Ken Loach too

May 1 2013 22:13

Also: Matewan, Harlan County War, Salt of the Earth, In Time, Total Recall

May 1 2013 23:19

I think that you should mention in the intro that many of these films are made by people with conservative or Stalinist leanings and as such their views are mirrored in their interpretations of working class life.
I disagree that the Living Dead remake was an improvement. I felt it was gratuitous as a remake and film critics and audiences generally didnt feel it was better either. While the original popularized the tripping and falling while being chased by a monster trope I disagree that it should be disparaged as engaging in damsel in distress tripe. All of the characters in the movie where in distress and Barbara was not the only female character in the film. She just saw her brother get killed by a dead person. Its a much more rational response. The strong leaders were a bunch of idiots who got everyone killed, with the state showing up to indiscriminately finish them off. The silly bickering about/between the upstairs and the downstairs reflects the conservative confusion/reaction against the prol violence of 68. In this respect Romeros '73 The Crazies- about a pair of anarchy firefighters caught in a middle of a virus epidemic that causes among the infected national liberation armed struggle and 'going postal' killings- is much better satire then his latter- like the remake- zombie films.
Stuff to include: The Taviani brothers made a bunch of movies about anarchists in the 70's and 80's. Not sure how many of them are appropriate for this list. Everything by Rienar Fassbinder; Nagisa Oshima, Derek Jarman. If you like really slow and boring realism dos Santos's Vidas Secas is the best movie ever.

May 2 2013 01:46

There's a lot of really good movies here, plus loads that I haven't seen and I'll have to check out. There seems to me to be a huge omission though, someone who knew about growing up in extreme poverty - Charlie Chaplin. The Immigrant, The Kid, The Gold Rush, Modern Times. Not exactly the cutting edge of modern cinema and a bit sentimental if you have a cynical head on, but probably some of the most popular films ever with working class characters at the heart of the stories and the rich, the bosses, the police as the villains and the butt of the jokes.

Chilli Sauce
May 2 2013 06:33

'They Live' (obviously)
Maybe 'Brazil'
'Of Mice and Men'

May 2 2013 10:05

Joe Comerford
Traveller (1981)
On a smuggling journey into Northern Ireland a young woman traveller tells her husband of her father’s violent sexual attacks.

Jim Sheridan
The Field (1990)
West Coast tenant farmer Bull McCabe (Richard Harris) asserts a moral right to a field he has created and worked for years, as he refuses to accept the idea that there can be a market in land - with good acting and an even handed telling of the story.

May 5 2013 07:36

Perry Henzell
The Harder They Come (1972)
A memorable story of poverty, drugs, corruption and an inevitable confrontation with authority - and possibly the best soundtrack ever!

Stuart Rosenberg
Cool Hand Luke (1967)
A petty criminal refuses to conform to a brutal prison system and inspires his fellow inmates – with great performances.

Chilli Sauce
May 3 2013 20:16


May 5 2013 23:31

Shane Meadows seems to make films in line with the intention of the thread. I've seen three. Dead Man's Shoes is about 'friends' abusing a disabled person, drug use/dealing and post traumatic stress disorder in squadies. This is England is about the racist take over of a working class subculture (in this case Skins) and how kids get involved in subcultures, for good and bad, in the first place. Somers Town is about a kid who runs away from his abusive father and tries to eke out an existence in London, doing so with the help of his new found friend, a Polish immigrant whose dad does not initially know what's going on.

May 6 2013 01:22

Mad Max is a glorification of police death squads.

Werner Harding
May 6 2013 14:29

Don't know if anyone mentioned this, but for female directed films I'd say Monster and maybe Vagabond (I personally don't like vagabond)

Also, On the Water Front is an antithesis of what this list is going for, but it is interesting to see why.

May 6 2013 15:38

Marco Leto
Black Holiday (aka La Villeggiatura) (1973)
A liberal professor of law is interned on a prison island at the time of Fascism, where he finally gets a political education from the working class prisoners.

May 7 2013 18:52
May 8 2013 18:16

Three films that lend themselves to a materialist feminist viewing and discussion:

-The 1975 French film "Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles" which follows a single-mother and sex worker as she monotonously goes through the tasks of housework and daily reproduction in real time.,_23_quai_du_Commerce,_1080_Bruxelles

-The 1966 Senegalese film "Black Girl" about a a girl from Senegal hired by a bourgeois French family to nanny, though mostly she just ends up doing housework. Her wages are withheld and she is essentially enslaved within the home, eventually driving her to commit suicide.

-The 1983 American film "Born In Flames" about a post-revolutionary social democratic NYC in which gender and race issues have not been solves. The film is mockumentary and follows to women's guerrilla groups, one majority white and one majority POC.

jef costello
May 9 2013 07:05

Thanks for the list and the other contributions, the ones on here that I've seen are really good.

Except I'd remove Escape from LA, I'm a massive Carpenter fan but it really didn't add much.

May 9 2013 08:24

movies by the Burkinabian film director Idrissa Ouedraogo are supposed to be good, especially the earlier ones