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Sacco and Vanzetti (2006)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 24 August 2017 (Germany)
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The story of two Italian immigrant radicals who were executed in 1927 offers insights into present-day issues of civil liberties and the rights of immigrants.

Director:

Peter Miller

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Cast

Credited cast:
Henry Fonda ... Prof. Tommy Turner (archive footage)
Arlo Guthrie ... Himself - Interview / Performance
David Kaiser David Kaiser ... Interview
Giuliano Montaldo ... Himself
Nunzio Pernicone Nunzio Pernicone ... Interview
Tony Shalhoub ... Sacco (voice)
Studs Terkel ... Interview
Mary Anne Trasciatti Mary Anne Trasciatti ... Interview
John Turturro ... Vanzetti (voice)
Howard Zinn ... Interview
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Storyline

The story of two Italian immigrant radicals who were executed in 1927 offers insights into present-day issues of civil liberties and the rights of immigrants.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Official Sites:

Willow Pond Films

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 August 2017 (Germany) See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,778, 28 January 2007

Gross USA:

$32,203

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$32,203
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Willow Pond Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

 
American Icons, Explained
4 April 2007 | by florafairySee all my reviews

Having studied art history, Ben Shahn's iconic portrait of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti was what first sparked my interest in Peter Miller's documentary on the notorious case that perverted American justice to enact xenophobic retribution on two anarchist Italian immigrants in a jingoistic, postwar culture of fear (sound familiar? Director Miller certainly seems to think so.) The short, "American Experience"-style presentation (talking heads, dramatic underscore, car trips to sites whose history has long been paved over) does not deflect from the riveting nature of the story as it happened, nor does it protect the audience from squirming at the implications of the awkward reality of American justice in general and the death penalty in particular. (As one of the commentators in the film states, the American legal system may be better designed than any other in the world, but as it is practiced, it is hardly immune to human error.) And, as demonstrated by hundreds of thousands of protesters around the world during the 1920s, the Sacco and Vanzetti case (if it can even be called that, so flimsy was the evidence and how biased the judge and jury) was among the great injustices inflicted by an American courts. By framing the story as he does, first by depicting Sacco and Vanzetti as hard-working idealists (gun-toting anarchists to be sure, but NICE gun-toting anarchists) and sketching out the wary American mood at the time (it wasn't all Jazz Age bootleg hooch and the Charleston, apparently), Miller keeps the audience interested in the outcome of the the ensuing "trial" (the details of which, with the mysteriously-scratched bullet and perjuring witnesses, are the most riveting part of the film, but unfortunately only a tangent from the main message). Disappointingly little attention is paid to the global outcry (tantalizing film clips of protests around the world are shown), and the conventional "where are they now?" epilogue is not included as a part of the movie. And we never do find out more about those Ben Shahn portraits. The inclusion of excerpts from Sacco and Vanzetti's eloquent correspondence, as read in thick accents by Tony Shalhoub and John Turturro, is a nice touch. Overall, the documentary is insightful--and inciteful, and should be mandatory viewing for all high-school U.S. history classes, or for anyone who has an interest in where America has been and where we are going. I'm not convinced, however, that its format makes for riveting cinema-- it would be a much better fit for television.


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