Matewan Movie Review 1987

Information and Film Reviews for Matewan the Movie

Staff rating

Visitor rating
4.0 from 0 reviews

An acclaimed dramatization of the famous Matewan massacre in the 1920s, in which coal miners in West Virginia, reluctantly influenced by union organizer Joe Kenehan (Cooper), rebelled against terrible working conditions. Complex and imbued with myth, the film is a gritty, moving, and powerful drama with typically superb Sayles dialogue and Haskell Wexler's beautiful and poetic cinematography. Jones delivers an economical yet intense portrayal of the black leader of the miners. Sayles makes his usual onscreen appearance, this time as an establishment-backed reactionary minister. Partially based on the Sayles novel "Union Dues."


Warner Home Video, Inc., 5775 Linder Canyon Rd., Westlake Village, CA 91362, URL:, Remarks: Does not handle retail queries from consumers; contact your local video distributor.

Available on VHS, DVD
Running time 130 minutes.

Cast and Crew

Director/Star Teams: Sayles & Strathairn, True Stories, Miners & Mining, Labor & Unions, Protests, Director/Star Teams: Sayles & Cooper, Director/Star Teams: Sayles & Clapp
John Sayles
John Sayles, Chris Cooper, James Earl Jones, Mary McDonnell, William Oldham, Kevin Tighe, David Strathairn, Jace Alexander, Gordon Clapp, Mason Daring, Joe Grifasi, Bob Gunton, Jo Henderson, Jason Jenkins, Ken Jenkins, Nancy Mette, Josh Mostel, Michael B. Preston, Maggie Renzi, Frank Hoyt Taylor
Haskell Wexler
John Sayles
Mason Daring
Peggy Rajski, Maggie Renzi


Ind. Spirit 1988: Cinematog.

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