Bowling for Columbine
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Bowling for Columbine

2002, Society  -   43 Comments
Ratings: 8.00/10 from 21 users.

Bowling for ColumbineFilmmaker, author, and political activist Michael Moore trains his satirical eye on America's obsession with guns and violence in his third feature-length documentary, which gets its title from a pair of loosely related incidents.

On April 20, 1999, shortly before they began their infamous killing spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold attended their favorite class, a no-credit bowling course held at a bowling alley near the school, the same bowling alley which would become the scene of a robbery and triple homicide two years later.

Michael Moore's superb documentary (following in the footsteps of Roger and Me and The Big One) tackles a meaty subject: gun control.

Moore skillfully lays out arguments surrounding the issue and short-circuits them all, leaving one impossible question: why do Americans kill each other more often than people in any other democratic nation?

Moore focuses his quest around the shootings at Columbine High School and the shooting of one 6-year-old by another near his own hometown of Flint, Michigan.

Directed by: Michael Moore

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43 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Megan Kubli

    Can someone help me understand this documentary because i am a student and we are watching this for government class and it makes no sense to me

    1. Achems_Razor

      Have an adult teacher or parent to watch it with you and help you, TDF is not a classroom, sorry Megan.

    2. Jonathan Guerrero

      really megan really -.-

  2. jennifer

    I strongly believe it's the freedom in the U.S. that is responsible as to why our country has the most deaths due to firearms.

  3. Pearl Anyetei

    I agree that you can't naively accept this documentary as fact. I'm British and even I can recognise it as a lot of shameless America-bashing- however I do think this entire coverage should cause people to take note of their own attitudes. Especially to those comments attempting to compare murder rates to those in South America and Africa, why should you? Killings over there take place under actual threat of imminent death, not because a black boy was wearing a hood or because they've been socially excluded from cliques at school. It's not just 'will I survive until tomorrow', the questions raised are much more perplexing- why do Americans always need a villain, so much so they'll make one up in the absence of a real threat? Are they so afraid of being overthrown as world leaders? Why would you reject change and hardheadedly impose your will on the rest of the world, and react to perceived threats like a petulant child- except with military force and billions of dollars?

    America might not have the most violent history but as a self-made nation everything they got was through taking violently. Clearly they rose to the top in a series of illegal and immoral endeavours and if they could be bought to account for their past actions there'd definitely be trouble. In that case it stands to reason they'd live in a culture of fear, as if somewhere deep in their subconscious, they know they're living on stolen land reaping the rewards of stolen labour. Sooner or later you'd feel that there should be repercussions... how can you ever truly stop being afraid?

    Finally to actually comment on the premise of the documentary (though for me this was lost as Moore pursued his own ends using life and death issues to garner more sympathy) guns and ammo are much too easy to get in the states. How can a 17 year old sell me bullets when in the UK they're not even allowed to serve me beer? And the fat kid who makes bombs... I don't understand how things like this are allowed- they put him on a list? Why not take the bloody book away from him? If that boy goes on to blow something up like Oklahoma bombings are the people going to the satisfied to know he was No.2 on the bomb threat list? Take the stupid book off the market and make it more difficult to get guns- not impossible because I understand Americans need them for all the perceived threats out there- just a tiny bit more difficult.

  4. James Jones

    in Europe they just beat people up when they get angry... It is just as rewarding as shooting people lol and then you don't go to jail for that long

  5. alienanthropologist

    It seems the documentary doesn't necessarily suggest that more gun control is the answer. While Moore does spend a lot of time hassling Kmart, his examination/comparison of the US versus Canada suggests that the prevalence of gun ownership is not the cause of gun violence. Doesn't he suggest that Canadians also love their guns, but do not see anywhere near the same level of gun violence?
    There's something more here at work. Just because I own a gun (which by the way, I don't) this doesn't mean I'm going to commit a crime.

  6. DeathbyInflation

    the 2nd amendment shall not be disgraced moore...Capitalism a love story is better watch that one

  7. John Fulton

    Compare the amount of people killed in US by handguns to the amount of people killed in genocides because unarmed people had no means of self defense. Germany killed 6,000,000 unarmed Jews. M. Moore is a idiot

    1. stonecold90

      yes thats right. the holocaust happened because not ENOUGH people in Europe had guns. imbecile.

    2. Zebram Zee

      Umm, gun control doesnt affect the government, who were the ones who carried out the holocaust. Imbecile yourself.

    3. aggienutr

      The people, not the government, did not have guns to protect themselves against the government who was deporting them away to concentration camps. One of the first things the nazis did was take away any weapons from Jewish people. Why? because then they can't protect themselves and they are that much easier to exterminate. That is why it is so important to have the right to bear arms.

    4. GwendolenMeiMeiWilliams

      So if the guns were so useful, why didn't the Jews just say no when they were asked to hand them over?

  8. Leslie El Salvador

    From my point of view the USA has many beautiful places and lovely people but I also feel like there IS segregation and it is INTENSE. I believe the media is over the top and they do use fear as a tactic its all business in the end. Wake up people stop being ignorant get your facts before committing action. I dont believe we have the capacity to handle a gun in an intense situation this is why cops are trained for years not to say that even they havent made many mistakes BUT the point is we are not trained to be handling and firing guns and we shouldn't have access to them at all in my OPINION.

  9. christalp

    Having to write about this in my sociology class. I read a lot of comments in this blog and most blame guns..guns don't kill people ..people kill people! I personally don't own a gun but when I was in the military I shot expert at the range. I feel we should have the right to bear arms because the criminals will find a way to get guns when they want them so we need better control on the guns. I did not like the cartoon much in the film it wasn't all factual and to be fair to all you can find crazies in all parts of the country and other countries too! I personally feel if our judicial system was tougher on known criminals then we may lessen crime! As far as the kids who committed the crime at Columbine they were wrong and terribly misguided! I do blame bullying on some of this and parents not being involved in their lives and the parents of kids who bully !!! I teach my children to never make fun of others and to have compassion towards everyone because you never know what their situation may be!!! One thing is for sure I know my son is not in his room playing loud hateful music (not that I blame the music) and planning a massacre and building explosives . And I know for sure there are no guns in my house! (not that I am against them) Hell he can't even hide his cell phone from me nor his facebook! When he is raised and out of my house then he can have his privacy but as long as I feed him , clothe him and he is under my roof I say what he can and can't do what he says and sometimes thinks! We don't always agree but we talk about things and he 17 yrs old ! ANd raised without a father or father figure around! I say who he hangs around what he wears and when he will be where! I rule my house and what goes on in it! Some parents think there kids need privacy and respect well I say earn it and prove to me you deserve it and you will get it! Nothing is off limit with him! I have a daughter 21 in the Army in Iraq right now and I still parent her when I feel it is needed never give up parenting it is your responsibility to make them upstanding respectful citizens and human beings! My son has played and watched violent movies we can't hide them from what is in the world but we can teach them by example how to act and what their responsibility is! We all can agree and disagree with things Michael Moore did and pointed out! Power of suggestion as well! But really doesn't this all start in our homes? Not the government...not the! If my son goes out and shoots someone I can tell you it is not because of a movie or song! PLEASE! I realize there are children who also become to be adults in our society that didn't have love, understanding GUIDANCE but I also know some of those people and they are not criminals! And it is all of our responsibility to reach out to those youth out there and show them there is people who care! I have boys come to my home that respect me and love me like their mom who have no restrictions at home and I have a lot of restrictions and rules and they like it here! Our kids want guidance and restrictions they wont ask for it but it shows you care for them and they feel it! STOP blaming this movie ...Bush , OBAMA, the pope, santa clause and other peers for what's wrong maybe we should look in the mirror! It is like pay it forward do something nice for someone and ask nothing back except for them to do something nice for someone else! We can't single handily take all the guns and stop all the criminals and killings but you never know if there may be something good you do today for someone that may change their life or stop them from committing a murder that day!!!! Imagine if those kids from Columbine were at the bowling alley and their parent went searching in their rooms and found a clue to this....don't worry about making your kid mad at you! They will get over it! Or imagine if instead of kids picking on them or ignoring them bc they were different reached out to them that day and showed compassion?? Maybe he would of backed out! We will never know but we can raise our children and teach others by example to do these things! Christal

  10. kobenhagen

    i would like the kid with all the guns "hidden" in his pants walk with that giant gun down his pants leg, seems impossible

  11. toy

    Hersh what an Amercian (=fool).. talking about constitution..
    Well the money in your pockets are against the constitution.. so why cant u do the same with guns, u making no sens dont u see how ignorant u are.. please.. give me a break.. a break from Americans..

  12. Hersh

    I think we need to have different gun and ammo laws after watching this but I never believe in going against our constitution. I enjoyed this documentary.

  13. duarte3delille

    This was a very good film, also this was my first michael moore experience Im am looking fowerd to other project. Fear is a tool used to keep humanity at bay this tool works in the favor of groups who eather want or are in power.

  14. Evelyna Kay

    Well, I enjoyed this film, but I have to say that I, as a Canadian, would certainly not leave my door unlocked at night, although I might consider doing so during the day if I am at home. Also, I do not know a single person--with the exception of a teacher at my school who happens to be a soldier--who owns a gun here. I think that the notion of Canadians having guns is more applicable to smaller towns and rural areas, but not here in the city. I do agree with Mr. Moore, however, that the lack of universal programs in the United States might be a contributing factor to the amount of fear and desperation in the country. I cannot currently credit or discredit the validity of the finer points of what was said about the USA, as I do not feel that I am informed enough to do so correctly.

  15. Petar Vitanovich

    And I really wish people understood what Timothy McVeigh stood for, the simple "baby killer" perception would never be acknowledged if his story would come out. There is an old doc on this website that shows what happened at Oklahoma and how the day care was not supposed to be running that day, and how the F.B.I. was tracking Tim and knew all his plans, and knew that Timothy knew of the bombs and weapons they weren't supposed to have, that they did in the building. Also the explosives that resembled a demo by a camera across the street. Trust me, I know how ammonium nitrate/diesel blows up, and it doesn't cut a building straight in half when the explosion happened off to the side and not inside the building. This guy fought for what he believed was our freedoms, and learned alot of stuff our government was lying about in Iraq 1, and the mistreatment of our soldiers after the long term exposer to depleted uranium and the lack of care when our boys came home. Not to mention the PSD that alot of them came home with.

  16. Petar Vitanovich

    This film is full of misinformation, and is quite disgusting how popular this movie has become and led to the fame of Micheal Moore, when nobody really knows that he used no facts in making this movie. The funniest part is the figures on how many people die in the US compared to other countries, has he ever heard of El Salvador, or maybe Brazil? These countries have a murder rate due to guns way higher that ours. Whats sad is how many young Americans buy into this shit. I am just proud I'm not one of them. I believe why our country is so great, is our constitution, and everything this country needs to run successfully is found in it. Thats what the American dream is, not liberal or even conservative bullshit these days. They seem to forget that it's the people who are meant to run this country, not politicians, or big business.

    1. toy

      haha brazil kill to eat and the guns comes from the freaking usa.. and also yall eating up the rest of the worlds slice of the pie.. its not fiction its fact..

      Also its not relevant to compere with those countrys cuz they are not of the same economical standard, thats why he chose Canada.. think first and then think again end then maybe you type..

    2. christalp

      WHile I am a veteran of the USN I agree with some of your points and am not a fan of Michael Moore I have to say Timothy Mcveigh was wrong period the bombing of innocent people whether the daycare was suppose to be open or not. Did you see the interview with Nichols brother he is certifiably nuts! lol But I too say some info in this movie is not true and I believe that we should be allowed to bear arms as US citizens however there should be better control and longer waiting times and some way of keeping better track of these weapons. One thing is for sure the criminals will find a way to get their hands illegally on a weapon. I am not a liberal and am far from it . I am a single mom who has served my country and my daughter is in Iraq as I write this message . He was pointing out the free countries not the war torn countries when he spoke about the murder rate . We do have a higher rate and there is a reason we just can't blame it on guns entirely! I do feel the media does play up the volent stories more so than the good heart felt stories more often making Americans feared and more cautious therefore when peopl eget scared they also can get wreckless and distusting of all mankind!

  17. Deborah

    Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine is an oscar winning documentary that depicts how hand gun vioilence in the U.S. is responsible for the terrible tragedy at cloumbine. I have a hard time believing this is even a documentary at alll since the Academy Awards states that a documentary has to be facual information; many parts of this film have been proven fictional and have no relevance to the columbine sootings whasoever. Moore uses rhetorical fallacies to make his points and he implies the columbine tragedy and the amout of deaths in the U.S. by hand guns should be blamed on several things: the media, the NRA, bigotry, war, and our own nation's history.

  18. pusspussbangbang0555

    What happened to the sound on the final segment?

  19. Ms. Self Destruct

    I know it is an old comment but i noticed pusspuss...are you swedish vlaktko:P I know this recommendation isn't a documentary but people should check out a film called bang bang you're dead.

  20. Jordan

    garbonzo. you realize that while michael moore might exaggerate the truth and perhaps be slightly misleading, alex jones hasn't sworn on no bible (not that that would make any difference) but the point is he is no more obliged than moore to tell the whole objective truth. the term documentary should always be taken with a grain of salt and they should be watched with an inquisitive and discerning mind. moral of the story, just because you like/agree with someone, doesn't mean they're telling you the truth.

    1. toy

      documentary should always be taken with a grain of salt and they should be watched with an inquisitive and discerning mind. moral of the story, just because you like/agree with someone, doesn't mean they're telling you the truth.

      Wish USA would have thought like that when politics where lieing about whats going on in the meddleeast.. but they just said - Im proud american, with a constitution.. lets go kill some arabic kids..
      Hell yeah we are the best country in the worl, on what exactly exept from killing? U aint got s*** in america thats why wepons and killing came to be your thing.. =)

  21. garbonzo

    Not a fan of Michael Moore whatsoever, although I have watched most of his 'documentaries'. Check him out in Alex Jones' 9/11 & Martial Law documentary, or watch Fahrenhype 9/11 to see this clown debunked.

  22. wallace

    This is actually a mockumentary as it has been easily torn apart for its embellishments, mischaracterizations and lies. What kind of fool would give it 4 stars?

  23. Charles B.

    CMcF: I see how that could be Mr. Michael Moore's point; good call. I had a nightmare about being shot in an argument the night after watching this documentary, so I've changed my mind -- some restrictions on firearms are ok, I suppose.

  24. CMcF

    Charles B. I think you have missed the whole point of this documentary. What I believe the theme of BFC is is "When governments use violence to to solve their problems this sets an example for the populace who then feel justified in using violence to solve their own problems."

  25. Charles B.

    On the documentary: Michael Moore didn't give even one solution just two hours of groans and moans about America. Shameful man.

    Was he anti "guns" or anti "fear on the news" as he said that Canada has almost as many guns as we do, but without the shooting rates and talked about this and that and this and that, and used Timothy McVey as an example (but he didn't use guns to kill people), so I was far from impressed with his logic. Mcvey blew people up! Bad example.

    I have a friend from Africa, one of my best friends even today, in fact. We met in China when the 2000 election between Bush and Gore took two months to settle. He told me, "I love America" but he's never been there. When I asked him "Why?" he said that because if that had happened in his country, they would be killing each other in the streets with machine guns! As far as I know, no one was killed in that whole election episode.

    The Killings of the 100,0000 Tutsi people by the Hutus was with mostly machetes and clubs, so is Mr. Moore going to start and anti Machete campaign in Africa now? Give me a break!

    I think the problem lies not in the guns, but the moral corruption of the nation. Hitler's Germany had gun control; they killed millions with gas. Where there is evil men, that is where there are evil acts such as killing and murder, with or without guns. Cure the moral failures of mankind, and you fix the misuse of guns as well.

    With that said, if we could disarm the truly bad guys without disarming the truly good guys, that would be nice! Might anyone know how to do that now?

    I must admit though, that I laughed a lot with the supermodel with the nice abs with the big gun they kept showing! :-)

  26. Charles B.

    Kerenep: Someday we may need guns to protect ourselves from the very government that is supposed to be protecting us! If your government suddenly decides that Y0U are the enemy one day (and me, and they will) as I am a Christian too, then the whole civilian populace will be gunless. Both my guns got "borrowed" by others permanently, but I like being able to get another one if I need it and I will if and when I move back to the U.S.A. permanently. My neighbor was a gun dealer. It was certainly interesting to visit his house.

    I got my 30-06 from a former Branch Dividian. I bought the gun about the time David Koresh died, and I commented that the government handled that one poorly and should not have done what they did they could have gotten more people out alive, and he said, "Yeah, I told David not to do something like that!" Turns out he was hiding out from the Dividians in my tiny hometown. He was David Koresh's former guns supplier. LOL! Nice guns, however. Who would think? I liked him; glad he knew when to hit the road. God bless the Red White and Blue. ;-)

    All said and done, I wouldn't take another human life unless I was absolutely sure it was necessary to save my own or my family. I'm really quite a gentle person.

    1. toy

      some day.. that train passt buddy..

  27. Karenep

    An excellent documentary with some humour too. In my country, guns are not owned by civilians but the arm forces. Here if a person points a gun at a police officer and shoots, even though officer was not wounded, the shooter would be given a mandatory sentence of death penalty. Drug mules also get death penalty for possessions of a few grams of drugs determined by the state. We have death penalty for murderers and all kindnapers. There is no gun problems here simply because there is no guns nor bullets assessible to civilians. I am only for hunting for survival. But can't one hunt with cross bows for example? If one needs to use a gun, allow rifles or those bigger types of guns which are huge and can't be concealed to be licenced for the purpose of hunting. One can even go a step further and have a holding place for such guns at one spot until it is actually used for hunting for example a police station. Or why not have a gun renting club house whereby guns can be rented or housed for the sake of hunting in every town. Thus, only specific licenced people possess guns which are under lock and key. All guns should be outlawed and that is the solution whether in the country or city. This would definitely solve the whole problem because in my country we don't have this problem at all because there is no guns assessible to cause the problem in the first place! Of course as a Christian, I cannot own nor shoot a gun because Jesus said that they that live by the sword will die by the sword. Either I get God's protection in a situation or I die for the glory of the Lord. Jesus clearly said that I cannot resist evil but return good for evil. Of course there are many false Christians who don't obey the Words of Jesus.

  28. Vitaloverdose

    Ive seen this video discredited. Its not real, he tricked the bank into giving him a rifle on the same day as he opened the account and then made out they do it for everyone.

    1. toy

      he "tricked" the bank? well could others be as smart as mr.moore?
      well maybe if they can get tricked its a bad ide for them to be selling guns.. =) Its not real.. do you say like that every night in america to sleep good..=)

  29. pusspuss

    why bother with Youkou streamed videos? They neveer play correctly

    1. Vlatko

      Well... I thought better something than nothing. Hit play, than pause, go and have a coffee break, return, and hit play again. That should solve the problem if you have a "decent" Internet connection, pusspuss.

  30. Der Oberst

    Probably Moore's best documentary. Mainly well balanced.