Bowling for Columbine

Bowling for Columbine is a 2002 American documentary film written, produced, directed, and narrated by Michael Moore . The film explores what Moore suggests are the primary causes for the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999, and other acts of violence with guns. Moore focuses on the massacre took place and some common public opinions and assumptions about related issues. The film also looks into the nature of violence in the United States.

A significant international success, the film brought to the international film festival, The Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature , the Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary Feature , a special 55th Anniversary Prize at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival , [2] and the César Award for Best Foreign Film . [3] The film is considered one of the greatest documentary films of all time . [4] [5] [6] [7]

Movie content

In Moore’s discussions with various people-including South Park co-creator Matt Stone , the National Rifle Association’s then-president Charlton Heston , and heavy metal musicianMarilyn Manson -he seeks to explain why the Columbine massacre occurred and why the United States’ violent crime rate (especially concerning crimes committed with firearms) is substantially higher than those of other nations.


The movie’s title Refers to the Story That Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold -the two students responsible for the Columbine High School Massacre -attended a school bowling class at 6:00 AM on the day They committed the attacks at school, qui started at 11: 17 AM. Later investigations have been reported to be mistaken, and Glenn Moore of the Golden Police Department concluded that they were absent from school on the day of the attack. [8]

Moore incorporates the concept of bowling into the film in other ways as well. For example, the Michigan Militia uses bowling pins for their target practice. When interviewing form classmates of the two boys, Moore notes that the students took a bowling class in place of physical education . He suggests that this may be very important to the public, and that it is a question of how to approach the game and how to behave. Moore questions whether the school system is responding to the real needs of students or they are reinforcing fear. Moore also interviews two young residents of Oscoda , Michigan . Moore suggestsCulture of fear created by the government and the media leads Americans to arm Themselves, to the advantage of gun-making companies. Moore suggests that bowling could have been just responsible for the attacks on Marilyn Manson, or even President Bill Clinton , who launched bombings on Serbia at the time. [9]

Free gun for opening a bank account

An early scene depicts a bank in Michigan that gives customers a free hunting rifle when they make a deposit of a certain size into a time deposit account. [10] The film follows Moore’s he goes to the bank, makes his deposit, fills out the forms, and awaits the result of a new weatherby hunting rifle. Just before leaving the bank, Moore asks: “Do you think it’s a dangerous game?” [11]

In Michael Wilson’s documentary Michael Moore Hates AmericaMoore is a free rifle asserting that they were misled during filming of the segment. They say that the bank’s policy is to conduct a criminal investigation against the rifles, but Moore’s agents, under the pretext of “doing a story on one of the businesses in America”, presented to him on the camera after filming his account opening. Further, they counter to the film’s assumption that the film has been handed over to Michael Moore in the film 300 miles away. Moore denied that this sequence was staged for the purpose of being compressed for production reasons.ATF license number, he produced out-takes where bank employee Jan Jacobson confirms on camera that rifles are secured locally on bank premises. [12] [13]

“Happiness Is a Warm Gun” edit

About 20 minutes into the film, the Beatles song ” Happiness Is a Warm Gun ” plays During a mount in qui footage Of the following is shown:

  • People buying guns
  • Residents of Virgin , Utah , a town That Passed a law Requiring all residents to own guns
  • People firing rifles at carnivals and shooting ranges
  • Denise Ames operating a rifle
  • Carey McWilliams , a blind gun enthusiast from Fargo , North Dakota
  • Gary Plauche killing Jeff Doucet, who had been kidnapped and molested Plauche’s son
  • The suicide of R. Budd Dwyer
  • A 1993 murder where Emilio Nuñez shot and killed his ex-wife Maritza Martin during an interview on the Telemundo program Ocurrió Así
  • The suicide of Daniel V. Jones , an AIDS / cancer patient who was protesting HMOs
  • A man who takes his hat off and is shot during a riot

Weapons of mass destruction

Early in the movie, Moore links the violent behavior of the Columbine shooters to the presence of a large defense manufacturing industry rocket technology in Littleton . It is implied that the presence of this facility within the community, and the acceptance of institutionalized violence to a solution to conflict, contributed to the mindset that led to the massacre.

Moore conducts an interview with Evan McCollum, Director of Communications at a Lockheed Martin plant near Columbine, and asks him:

So you do not think our kids say to themselves, ‘Dad goes off to the factory every day, builds missiles of mass destruction .’ What’s the difference between mass destruction and destruction at Columbine High School?

McCollum responds:

I guess I do not see that specific connection because the missiles that you’re talking about are designed and defended against us.

After the release of the movie, Lockheed Martin spokesman Evan McCollum clarified that the plant no longer produces missiles (the plant manufactured parts for intercontinental ballistic missiles with a nuclear warhead in the mid-1980s), but rockets used for launching satellites :

I provided specific information to NASA, NOAA, the Dept. of Defense and commercial customers, including DirecTV and EchoStar. [14]

Erik Möller argues that Moore’s question was not limited to the Littleton-area Lockheed Martin facility:

First, note the word “our” in Moore’s question. Moore is not from Colorado – his question is generic, not meant to refer specifically to the Lockheed Martin plant in question. … Of course, [David Hardy, et al.] Have conveniently ignored the fact that Lockheed Martin does supply weapons of mass destruction to the US military, and that the company is the largest military contractor. [14]

“What a Wonderful World” edit

The film cuts to a montage of American foreign policy decisions, with the intention to counter McCollum’s statement by citing the examples of how the United States has always been the aggressor nation. This montage is set to the song ” What a Wonderful World “, performed by Louis Armstrong .

The following is a transcript of the onscreen text in the Wonderful World segment:

  1. 1953: Prime Minister overthrows Mohammad Mosaddegh of Iran . US installs Shah Pahlavi as absolute monarch.
  2. 1954: US overthrows democratically elected President Jacobo Árbenz of Guatemala as part of a conflict that resulted in up to 200,000 civilians killed.
  3. 1963: US backs assassination of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem .
  4. 1963-75: American military kills 4 million people during the Vietnam War .
  5. September 11, 1973: US stages 1973 Chilean coup d’état in Chile. Democratically elected President Salvador Allende assassinated . Dictator Augusto Pinochet installed. 3,000 Chileans murdered .
  6. 1977: US military backs Junta of El Salvador . 70,000 Salvadorans and oven American nuns killed .
  7. 1980s: US trains Osama bin Laden [15] and fellow mujahideens to kill Soviets . CIA gives them $ 3 billion.
  8. 1981: Reagan administration trains and funds the Contras . 30,000 Nicaraguans die.
  9. 1982: US provides trillions of dollars in aid to Saddam Hussein for weapons to kill Iranians .
  10. 1983: The White House secretly gives Iran weapons to kill Iraqis .
  11. 1989: CIA agent Manuel Noriega (also serving as President of Panama ) disobeys orders from Washington, DC for him to invade Nicaragua US invades Panama and, thus, removes Noriega. 3,000 Panamanian civilian casualties.
  12. 1990: Iraq invades Kuwait with weapons from US
  13. 1991: US enters Iraq . George HW Bush reinstates absolute monarch of Kuwait.
  14. 1998: Clinton bombs possible weapons factory in Sudan . Factory turns out to be making aspirin.
  15. 1991 to present: American planes bomb Iraq on a weekly basis. UN estimates 500,000 Iraqi children die from bombing and sanctions.
  16. 2000-01: US gives Taliban-ruled Afghanistan $ 245 million in aid.
  17. September 11, 2001 : Osama bin Laden uses his expert CIA training to murder 2,977 people. [15]

The United States Flight 175 crashing into the South Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the audio proceedings of the speakers’ reactions, recorded by the camera’s microphone. This article provides additional information for this section. [16]

Climate of fear

Moore contrasts his portrayal of the US attitude towards guns and violence with the attitude of Canada in the United States of America , where he finds his face Doors unlocked and much less concern over crime and security. Farber states “Moore’s thesis, which he later elaborated in Fahrenheit 9/11, is that the fear-mongering that permeates American society contributes to our epidemic of gun violence.” We are also shown news stories being covered Canada and how they do not follow the “if it bleeds it leads” mentality. “This adds to Moore’s argument that the media is driving” The United States of America “[edit] Moore’s view of where the fear of America began and how it’s progressed and changed over the years. [17]

In this section, there is a montage of several social pundits stating possible causes for gun violence. Many claims links with violence in television, cinema, and computer games ; Towards the end of the assembly, however, the same people are changing their claims to Marilyn Manson’s responsibility. This is an interview between Moore and Marilyn Manson. Manson shares his views about the United States’ climate with Moore, stating that he believes US society is based on “fear and consumption”, citing Colgatecommercials that promise “if you have bad breath, [people] are not going to talk to you” and other commercials containing fear-based messages. Manson aussi references que la media, under heavy government influence HAD Asserted That His impact on the acts of Klebold and Harris Was Far Greater Than That of President Clinton, Who ordered more bombings were Kosovo on April 20, 1999 than Any Other Day During the Balkans campaign. When Moore asks Manson what he would say to the students at Columbine , Manson replies, “I would not say a single word to them, I would listen to what they say, and that’s what we did.” [18]

South Park co-creator Matt Stone -who grew up in Littleton-agreed to talk with Moore about his hometown and shooting in the movie. Although he did not feel that Moore mischaracterized him or her statements in the film, he wrote about the cartoon “A Brief History of the United States of America”. Both Stone and his fellow South Park creator Trey Parkerfelt that the cartoon was done in a style very similar to theirs. Also, its proximity to Stone’s interview may incorrectly, that they created the cartoon. “It’s a good lesson in what Michael Moore does in movies.” “Stone remarked in a later interview. [19] As a humorous retort to this, Stone and Parker portrayed Moore as “a gibbering, overweight, hot-dog-eating buffoon” who ultimately commits suicide bombing against the protagonists in their 2004 movie, Team America: World Police . [20]


Moore follows up on his climate of fear in the United States. He examines Marilyn Manson as a matter of fact, but states that he has more people than the United States, with less gun violence (Germany: 381 incidents per year). He examines violent movies, but notes that other countries have the same violent movies, showing The Matrixwith French subtitles (France: 255 incidents per year). He also examines video games, but observes that many violent video games come from Japan (Japan: 39 incidents per year). His concludes his comparisons by considering the suggestion that the United States is violent, but notes the similarly violent histories of Germany, Japan, France, and the United Kingdom (68 incidents per year). Moore ends this segment with gun-related-deaths-per-year of the following countries:

  • Japan: 39 (0.030 / 100,000)
  • Australia: 65 (0.292 / 100,000)
  • United Kingdom: 68 (0.109 / 100,000)
  • Canada: 165 (0.484 / 100,000)
  • France: 255 (0.389 / 100,000)
  • Germany: 381 (0.466 / 100,000)
  • United States: 11,127 (3.601 / 100,000)

The American Prospect published by Garance Franke-Ruta criticizing the film for ignoring the role of municipal governance in the United States, and ignoring African-American urban victims of violence while focusing on the unusual events of Columbine. A decline in murders in New York City alone-from 1,927 in 1993 to 643 in 2001-had, for example, has a significant impact on the declining national rate. militiamen Moore goes out of his way to interview and make fun of. ” [21]

Kmart refund

Moore takes two Columbine victims, Mark Taylor and Richard Castaldo (along with Brooks Brown, who remains unidentified during the segment), to the headquarters of the American superstore, Kmart in Troy, Michigan , ostensibly to reclaim the bullets still lodged in their bodies . After the issue, a Kmart spokesperson says that it will change its policy and phase out the situation of ammunition; This comes after Moore and the victims go to the nearest Kmart store in Sterling Heights, Michigan , and all of them. “We’ve won,” says Moore, in disbelief. “That was more than we asked for.” [22]

Charlton Heston interview

For the final scene of the film, Moore visits Charlton Heston in his home and asks him about American firearm violence. Heston’s response includes the suggestions that the United States has a “history of violence” and more “mixed ethnicity” than other countries. [23] [24] Moore then asks Heston if he would like to apologize for leading NRA rallies in Flint , Michigan (Moore’s hometown) after the shooting of a six-year-old girl at Buell Elementary School in Littleton after the Columbine Heston walks out of the interview. [25] Moore was later criticized by some for his perceived “ambush” of the actor. [26]

In memory of

For the credits of the movie, three people are listed in memory of. The film was dedicated to these three people

  • John Alberts, a sound designer and mixer for much of Moore’s work. He had initially been hired to do the sound work on the film, but ended his life with a gun in January 2001.
  • Herbert Lasean “Sluggo” Cleaves, Jr., the oldest child of two of Moore’s closest friends from Flint. He was shot in the stomach in a drive-by shooting and died soon after at an area hospital on February 18, 2001.
  • Laura Ligon Wilcox, a victim of handgun violence who died during the 2001 Nevada County shoots on January 10, 2001. Her death led to the implementation of Laura’s Law . [27]


Reviews for the movie were overwhelmingly positive, with a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes , [28] and therefore a “certified fresh” award. Another score aggregator, Metacritic , which assigns a normalized rating in the 0-100 range, based on an average score of 72 based on 32 reviews, which is the most favorable reviews. Michael Wilmington of the Chicago Tribune wrote, “It’s unnerving, stimulating, likely to provoke anger and sorrow on both sides, and it’s extremely funny.” [29] AO Scott of The New York Times wrote, “The slippery logic, tendentious grandstanding, and outright demagogueryOn display in Bowling for Columbine should be enough to give pause to its most ardent supporters, while its disquieting insights into the culture of violence in America should be sober reflection of those who would prefer to stop their ears. ” [30]

Some reviews have not been unequivocally glowing. Desson Thomson of the Washington Post thought the film lacked a coherent message, asking “A lot of this is amusing and somehow telling.” But what does it all add up to? [31]

MPAA rating

The film is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America , which was not admitted to film theatrically unless under supervision. Movie critic Roger Ebert chastised the MPAA for this move as “banning teenagers from those movies they most need to see”. [32] Ebert had criticized the MPAA rating system at previous occasions. [33] The film was noted for “some violent images and language”. [34]

Awards and nominations

  • 2002 Winner, 55th Anniversary Prize, 2002 Cannes Film Festival [2]
  • 2003 Winner, César Award , Best Foreign Film
  • 2003 Winner, International Documentary Association (IDA) – Best Documentary of All Time
  • 2003 Winner, Academy Award , Best Documentary Feature

During the screening at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival the film received a 13-minute standing ovation. [35] It also won “Most Popular International Film” at the 2002 Vancouver International Film Festival .

Moore was both applauded and booed at the Academy Awards on March 23, 2003, when he used his acceptance speech as an opportunity to proclaim his opposition to the presidency of George W. Bush and the United States-led invasion of Iraq , which had begun just a few days earlier. [36]

The film was nominated for the prestigious Grand Prix of the Belgian Syndicate of Cinema Critics .

In 2005, Bowling for Columbine was voted the third most popular film in the British Channel 4 program The 50 Great Documentaries of all time.

Gross income

With a budget of $ 4 million, Bowling for Columbine grossed $ 58,008,423 worldwide, including $ 21,576,018 in the United States. [37] The documentary also broke box office records, becoming the highest-grossing documentary in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Austria. These records were later eclipsed by Moore’s next documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11 . [38]


  1. Jump up^ Bowling for Columbine: About the Film: Credits ArchivedNovember 5, 2008 at theWayback Machine.
  2. ^ Jump up to:b “Cannes Film Festival: Bowling for Columbine” . . Archived from the original on 2011-07-10 . Retrieved 2009-10-24 .
  3. Jump up^ “Bowling for Columbine” – via
  4. Jump up^ “International Documentary Association Top Twenty Documentaries of All-Time” . Central Washington University – Brooks Library (at Archived from the original on 2008-02-13 . Retrieved 2009-09-18 .
  5. Jump up^ ” ” Bowling for Columbine “Named Best Documentary Film” . 2002-12-12 . Retrieved 2009-09-18 .
  6. Jump up^ Top 100 Documentary Movies
    Rotten Tomatoes
    Retrieved 2016-02-08
  7. Jump up^ The 25 Greatest Documentaries of All-Time
    Retrieved 2016-02-08
  8. Jump up^ Cullen, Dave (2005-04-16). “A little unfinished business on Bowling and Columbine” . Archived from the original on 2011-07-15. recorded by theBoulder Daily Camera
  9. Jump up^ Hastings, Michael (2004-01-21). “Wesley & Me” . Slate .
  10. ^ Jump up to:b Christmas, Michael. Banks use gifts to target depositors , Chicago Sun-Times . January 28, 2001.
  11. Jump up^ Bowling for Columbine: Media Clips – Michael At The BankArchivedJanuary 10, 2010 at theWayback Machine.
  12. Jump up^ Michael Moore (September 2003). “Michael Moore responds to the wacko attacks ..” Archived from the original on 2009-10-02 . Retrieved 2008-05-30 .
  13. Jump up^ Michael Moore (September 2003). ” ” Bowling for Columbine “outtakes” . Archived from the original on 2012-03-13 . Retrieved 2016-09-03 .
  14. ^ Jump up to:b Möller, Erik. A defense of Michael Moore and “Bowling for Columbine” August 13, 2003.
  15. ^ Jump up to:b See Allegations of CIA support to Osama bin Laden .
  16. Jump up^ “Bowling for Columbine: Library: What a Wonderful World” . Archived from the original on 2009-06-28.
  17. Jump up^ Farber, Stephen. “Michael Moore’s ‘Bowling for Columbine’ (2002)” . IDA . Retrieved 2016-05-01 .
  18. Jump up^ “Marilyn Manson Interview on Bowling for Columbine” . Bowling for Columbine Official Website. 2002-10-11. Archived from the original on 2011-06-15 . Retrieved 2010-11-15 .
  19. Jump up^ Anwar Brett (2005-01-13). “BBC – Movies – Interview – Matt Stone” . BBC . Retrieved 2016-03-11 .
  20. Jump up^ ‘America’s Team’ takes on moviegoers, October 15, 2004
  21. Jump up^ Garance Franke-Ruta,Moore’s the Pity, The American Prospect , November 22, 2002
  22. Jump up^ “I’m trying to connect the dots between the local violence and the global violence,” says director Michael Moore of his new movie, “Bowling for Columbine” ArchivedJuly 3, 2009, at theWayback Machine., The Sacramento Bee , October 25, 2002
  23. Jump up^ Jonathan Curiel (2002-10-18). “Moore catches US zeitgeist” . San Francisco Chronicle . Retrieved 2011-02-24 .
  24. Jump up^ Chris Coates (2002-10-21). “Moore puts gun culture in cross hairs” . The Columbia Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2012-07-29 . Retrieved 2011-02-24 .
  25. Jump up^ Alan A. Stone (Summer 2003). “Cheap Shots” . Boston Review . Retrieved 2011-02-24 .
  26. Jump up^ Ebert, Roger (2004-06-18), ” ‘ 9/11’: Just the facts?”, Chicago Sun-Times , p. 55.
  27. Jump up^ Sam Allen (2002). “This film was dedicated to the following individuals” . Indiana University . Retrieved 2017-01-22 .
  28. Jump up^ “Bowling for Columbine” .
  29. Jump up^ Bowling for Columbine: Reviews & Acclaim: Articles & PressArchivedDecember 6, 2002, at theWayback Machine.
  30. Jump up^ Scott, AO (2002-10-11). “Film Review: Bowling for Columbine” . The New York Times .
  31. Jump up^ Howe, Desson (2002-10-18). “Moore Shoots Himself In The Foot” . The Washington Post . Retrieved 2010-04-26 .
  32. Jump up^ Ebert, Roger (October 18, 2002). Bowling For Columbine.
  33. Jump up^ Ebert, Roger (2010-12-11). “Getting Real About Movie Ratings” . The Wall Street Journal . Retrieved 2013-04-05 .
  34. Jump up^ Turan, Kenneth (October 11, 2002). “‘Columbine’s’ Aim Slightly Off”. Los Angeles Times .
  35. Jump up^ “Bowling for Columbine (2002)” – via
  36. Jump up^ “Chicago scoops six Oscars” . The Guardian . 2003-03-24.
  37. Jump up^ In nominal dollars, from 1982 to the present.
  38. Jump up^ “Documentary Movies at the Box Office – Box Office Mojo” . .

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