Libcom.org's guide to working class films, showing class struggles, revolutionary situations and everyday lives.
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'.
- The China Syndrome - A nuclear reactor almost goes into meltdown, whilst a team of reporters are on site covering a story.
- Trees Lounge - A mechanic, sacked for stealing out of the till, drinks his sorrows away over one summer in a Bukowski-esque anti-tale.
- 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.
- 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.
- Deep Cover - Focusing on the role of the police in the war on drugs, an undercover cop begins to enjoy the rewards.
- 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.
- Rolling Thunder - A tortured Vietnam veteran returns home to suburban America but nothing will be the same again.
- 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.
- Sorcerer - Remake of Wages for Fear.
- What Doesn't Kill You - A small time criminal struggles to pay the bills and support his family.
- Dead Presidents - A black Vietnam vet joins a political organisation funding itself with armed robbery, based on the story of Haywood T. Kirkland.
- Treasure of Sierra Madre - Film adaptation of B.Traven's novel.
- 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.
- Harlan County USA - Documentary of the 1976 Brookside strike and the subsequent agreement.
- 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.
- 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.
- Network - When a news reporter is thrown off the air for voicing subversive opinions, the network see in him an opportunity to increase ratings.
- Jacob's Ladder - A Vietnam veteran suffers delusions from the alleged drug trials administered during the war.
- 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.
- In Time - Time has replaced capital, and life runs out for those with nothing left on their clock.
- Take Shelter - A construction contractor struggles with the recession and his worsening grip on reality.
- 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.
- Norma Rae - Inspired by a speech, a factory worker begins to organise at her workplace, based on the story of Crystal Lee Sutton.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Matewan - The story of the Battle in Matewan, 1920, where miners fought private police.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Panther - Film depicting the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, and the American government campaign against them.
- Empleo - A man makes his way to work, finding people being used as objects.
- 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.
- Killing Them Softly - The Boston mob sends a hitman to kill those responsible for a card game robbery during the 2012 presidential election.
- Ghosts of the Civil Dead - Both prison guards and prisoners are manipulated into a riot to secure funding for a new maximum security complex.
- 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.
- 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.
- Stir - Written by an inmate involved, Stir shows what provoked the 1974 Bathurst Jail riots.
- Scum - Nihilistic drama set in a young offenders institute.
- Elephant - Experimental short about the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
- Tyrannosaur - A bitter alcoholic finds salvation in a woman who seems to be perfect on the outside, but harbours an unhappy secret.
- 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.
- Naked - A drifter meets similarly lost souls whilst living on the streets of London.
- 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.
- 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.
- Nil by Mouth - Life for an extended family on a South London council estate.
- The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner - Film adaptation of Alan Sillitoe's novel.
- 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.
- Waydowntown - Office workers bet their salaries who can last the longest without stepping outside, using Calgary's skywalks to get around.
- 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.
- Rebels of a Neon God - A pair of friends make their living robbing arcade machine chips.
- Blind Shaft - Two men killing miners for compensation find a conscience.
- 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.
- Starship Troopers - Argentinian Ayans fight bugs in space.
- Shadows in Paradise - A binman falls in love with a supermarket checkout girl he sees on his rounds.
- Le Trou - Four tight knit prisoners have been preparing their breakout for months when a new cellmate is added. Can they trust him?
- 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.
- Wages of Fear - A group of destitute men in South America agree to drive explosives across the country in a bid to escape.
- To Whom Does the World Belong - The trials and tribulations of an unemployable Berlin family.
- Mother Krause's Journey to Happiness - A family struggle in poverty in Weimar Germany, finding salvation too late.
- Metropolis - An industrialist's son swaps places with a worker and agitates for insurrection, having fallen for a schoolteacher.
- Coup de grace - The Russian Revolution is on the doorstep of a Prussian army camp in Latvia, as sexual tensions grow.
- Lucy - A teenage mother has to decide whether she wants the responsibility of bringing up a child.
- The Longest Summer - British soldiers made redundant after the handover of Hong Kong decide to rob a bank.
- Life Without Principle - Austerity noir, following different people's lives affected by the economic crisis.
- 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.
- The Red and the White - Scenic look at the reprisals by both communists and White Guards during the Russian Revolution.
- Noi the Albino - A truant teenager falls in love with a girl in a diner and dreams of escaping his seaside home.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sacco and Vanzetti - Film about the famous trial and execution of Italian anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, framed for robbery and murder in America. Starring Gian Maria Volonte.
- Il Posto - A school leaver enters into the world of work whilst falling in love for the first time.
- 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.
- 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.
- Persepolis - Adaptation of the comic, a girl growing up begins to question the Iranian revolution.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Kanikosen - Film adaptation of Takiji Kobayashi's The Cannery Ship. Crab fishermen attempt to take control of the ship out at sea.
- 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.
- Petla - An alcoholic tries to quit drinking over 24 hours.
- Lucky Day Forever - Prole 514 hopes to win the lottery, never having to work again. But when he does, is he any happier?
- Aelita - Communists travel into space to help Martians with their revolution.
- 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.
- Stander - The embellished story of Andre Stander, a cop who turned bank robber, set in and around the Soweto uprising.
- 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.
- Sympathy for Mr Vengeance - A deaf factory worker made redundant kidnaps his boss' daughter for a ransom.
- A Single Spark - The story of Jeon Tae-il, a textile worker who self immolated in protest of poor conditions.
- Bandhobi - A Bangladeshi worker trying to retrieve his stolen wages receives help from a schoolgirl.
- Libertarias - The Mujres Libres battle in the Spanish Revolution, with liberated sex workers and a nun in tow. Trigger warning, features a rape scene.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Headshot - A disgraced cop joins a secret organisation targeting politicians and businessmen.
- Head On - Two people admitted for attempted suicide decide to have a sham marriage, to free Sibyl from her conservative Muslim family.