Films about nonviolence

About this table

Title year director(s) country portrayed topic mins. type language
Voices of the Protest (Голоси протесту) 2014 Vitalii Atanasov Ukraine a left-wing perspective on the Maidan protests and their violent aftermath 35 doc Ukrainian and Russian, with English subtitles
1971 2014 Johanna Hamilton USA the Citizens' Committee to Investigate the FBI revealing government surveillance 79 doc English
Babylon '13 2013- various Ukraine nonviolent protest and violent conflict in Ukraine since 2013 clips doc Ukrainian and Russian, with English subtitles
The Term (Срок) 2014 Pavel Kostomarov/Alexander Rastorguev/Alexei Pivovarov Russia the 2011-13 protest movement and state repression 83 (rough edits of many scenes put online in 2012-13) doc Russian
Where Are You Bucharest? (Bucureşti unde eşti?) 2014 Vlad Petri Romania the Romanian protests of 2012 80 doc Romanian, with English subtitles
The Square (الميدان) 2013 Jehane Noujaim Egypt the 2011 revolution and its aftermath 108 doc Arabic and English with English subtitles
99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film 2013 100 filmmakers USA the Occupy Wall Street movement 97 doc English
Before the Spring After the Fall 2013 Jed Rothstein Egypt the Cairo heavy metal scene before and during the 2011 revolution 72 doc Arabic and English with English subtitles
Egypt Project 2013 Steve York/Miriam Zimmerman Egypt the decade of democratic activism leading up to the 2011 revolution ? doc
The Targeted Village (標的の村) 2012 Mikami Chie Japan residents of an Okinawan village against the construction of a U.S. military helipad 91 doc Japanese, English
A Whisper to a Roar 2012 Ben Moses Egypt, Malaysia, Ukraine, Venezuela, Zimbabwe democracy movements across the world 106 doc various languages, with subtitles in various languages
No 2012 Pablo Larraín Chile the 1988 plebiscite on Pinochet's presidency 118 feature Spanish
The Protest-Makers (Die Protestmacher) 2012 Dieter Rucht Germany anti-nuclear and other social activists 80 doc German
Winter, Go Away! (Зима, уходи!) 2012 Elena Khoreva/Denis Klebeev/Askold Kurov/Dmitry Kubasov/Nadezhda Leonteva/Anna Moiseenko/Madina Mustafina/Sofia Rodkevich/Anton Seregin/Alexey Zhiriakov Russia the protest movement against Putin and for fair elections 79 doc Russian (there is also a version with English subtitles)
Come to Me: Experiences of Nonviolent Activism in Lebanon 2012 Manuel Sakmani/Daisy Mohr Lebanon nonviolent activism since 1975 50 doc Arabic with English subtitles
My Neighbourhood 2012 Julia Bacha/Rebekah Wingert-Jabi Palestine/Israel peaceful protests against evictions 25 doc
One Punch Homicide 2012 Steve Kokette United States, Canada, Australia one-punch homicides and their prevention 87 doc English
5 Broken Cameras (خمس كاميرات محطمة‎, חמש מצלמות שבורות) 2011 Emad Burnat/Guy Davidi Palestine/Israel protests in Bil'in 90 doc Arabic/Hebrew
Everyone to the Larzac (Tous au Larzac) 2011 Christian Rouaud France the successful 1971-81 rural movement against extending the military base on the Larzac plateau 118 doc. French with subtitles in 11 languages
The Interrupters 2011 Steve James United States CeaseFire, an initiative for violence prevention 125 doc English
How to Start a Revolution 2011 Ruaridh Arrow Gene Sharp 85 doc
Home Front: Portraits from Sheikh Jarrah 2011 Julia Bacha Palestine/Israel a neighborhood against Israeli settlements 31 doc
Budrus 2009 Julia Bacha Palestine/Israel the Israeli-Palestinian conflict 82 doc
Hunger 2008 Steve McQueen UK (Northern Ireland) Bobby Sands’s 1981 hunger strike in prison 96 feature
Burma VJ 2008 Anders Østergaard Burma the 2007 monks' protests: based on smuggled footage 85 doc
Janadesh 2007: For a Fistful of Land 2008 Sébastien Saugues India land rights struggles in 2007 54 doc Hindi with English or French subtitles
The March of the Despised: The Liberating Force of Non-Violence 2008 Louis Campana/François Verlet India land rights struggles in 2007 52 doc
Nonviolent Action 2008 Hans-Jürg Pfaff India land rights struggles in 2007 33 doc
Citizen Nawi (נאווי‎ האזרח) 2007 Nissim Mossek Israel portrait of a gay Israeli peace activist 80 doc
Strike 2007 Volker Schlöndorff Poland Anna Walentynowicz and the emergence of Solidarność 104 feature
Battle in Seattle 2007 Stuart Townsend USA anti-WTO protests in 1999 111 feature
The Singing Revolution 2007 James Tusty/Maureen Castle Tusty Estonia singing as a revolutionary tactic between 1986 and 1991 94 doc
A Little Bit of So Much Truth 2007 Jill Friedberg Mexico the 2006 appropriation of corporate media by grassroots activists in Oaxaca 93 doc
Orange Revolution 2007 Steve York Ukraine the 2004 presidential election 92 doc
Colour Me Free 2007 Areta Lloyd Ukraine/Belarus/Russia effects of Ukraine’s Orange Revolution on activists in Belarus 48 doc
Encounter Point 2006 Julia Bacha/Ronit Avni Palestine/Israel the Israeli/Palestinian conflict 85 doc
The Shape of Water 2006 Kum-Kum Bhavnani Brazil/India/Israel/Palestine/Senegal women’s activism on issues such as collaborative farming/rainforest preservation/female genital mutilation 70 doc
A Lesson of Belarusian (Lekcja białoruskiego) 2006 Miroslaw Dembinski Belarus the 2006 presidential election 53 doc Belarusian and Russian with English subtitles
How to Plan a Revolution 2006 Ivan O'Mahoney Azerbaijan the democracy movement 49 doc
Iron-Jawed Angels 2004 Katja von Garnier United States women’s hunger strikes in the suffragist struggle in 1918 123 feature English
Revolution of Pigs (Sigade revolutsioon) 2004 René Reinumägi/Jaak Kilmi Estonia upheaval in a summer camp in 1986 98 feature
The Take 2004 Avi Lewis/Naomi Klein Argentina occupation of abandoned factories in the country’s 2001 economic collapse 87 doc English/Spanish
Thirst 2004 Alan Snitow/Deborah Kaufman United States/Bolivia/India struggles against the privatization of water rights 62 doc
February One: The Story of the Greensboro Four 2003 Tom Vickersand/Daniel Blake Smith United States the lunch counter sit-ins in 1960 North Carolina 61 doc English
Bringing Down a Dictator by Steve York 2002 Steve York Serbia Otpor and the fall of Milošević 56 doc
Bloody Sunday 2002 Paul Greengrass UK (Northern Ireland) the 1972 shootings in Derry 105 docudrama English
A Force More Powerful: A Century of Nonviolent Conflict 2000 Steve York India/South Africa/USA/Poland/Chile nonviolent struggle in the 20th century 174 doc
Thirty Frames a Second 2000 Rustin Thompson United States the WTO protests in Seattle 73 doc English
This Is What Democracy Looks Like 2000 Jill Friedberg/Rick Rowley United States using footage from 100 amateur camera operators during the 1999 Seattle protest 72 doc English
April Captains (Capitães de Abril) 1997 Maria de Medeiros Portugal the role of two army captains in Portugal’s democratic revolution 123 feature
Some Mother’s Son 1996 Terry George UK (Northern Ireland) Bobby Sands’s 1981 hunger strike in prison 112 feature
The Gate of Heavenly Peace 1995 Richard Gordon/Carma Hinton China the suppression of the Tiananmen protests in 1989 180 doc
The Fall of the Wall (Der Fall der Mauer) 1994 Stefan Aust/Katrin Klocke Germany (East) democratization in East Germany 65 doc
In the Name of the Father 1993 Jim Sheridan UK (Northern Ireland) the Guildford Four and the dynamics of violence and nonviolence 133 feature
In Women’s Hands 1992 Rachel Field/Juan Mandelbaum Chile women's political activism under Allende and Pinochet 59 doc
Berkeley in the Sixties 1990 Mark Kitchell United States nonviolent student protests at UC Berkeley 117 doc English
Eyes on the Prize 1987-90 Henry Hampton United States the civil rights movement, 1952-1965 360 doc English
The Mission 1986 Roland Joffé Paraguay 18th-century Spanish Jesuits trying to protect a remote South American Indian tribe in danger of falling under the rule of pro-slavery Portugal 125 feature
Chile: Hasta Cuando? 1986 David Bradbury Chile the democracy movement and its repression 74 doc
Gandhi 1982 Richard Attenborough India/South Africa Mahatma Gandhi biopic 191 feature
Man of Iron (Człowiek z żelaza) 1981 Andrzej Wajda Poland Solidarity 153 feature Polish with subtitles in numerous languages
Scenes from the Class Struggle in Portugal 1977 Robert Kramer and Philip Spinelli Portugal democratic transition in Portugal 85 doc
Setúbal ville rouge 1976 Daniel Edinger Portugal democratic transition in Portugal 93 doc Portuguese with English subtitles
Carnations of April (Cravos de Abril) 1976 Ricardo Costa Portugal the democratic transition in Portugal 30 feature Portuguese
Women on the Frontline 2013 Hossein Martin Fazeli Iran women's movement ? doc
The Yes Men Are Revolting 2013 Andy Bichlbaum/Mike Bonanno United States/global humorous anti-corporate activism ? doc English
Tomorrow (Zavtra) 2012 Andrei Gryazev Russia the Voina performance art collective 90 doc Russian with English subtitles
Resistance: Legacy of Nonviolent Movements in Iran 1978-1979 2011 Hossein Martin Fazeli Iran 1978-79 revolution and 2009 Green Movement 50 doc English and Persian with English subtitles
Irena Sendler: In the Name of Their Mothers 2011 Mary Skinner Poland rescue of Jewish children from Warsaw ghetto 60 doc
Freedom Riders 2011 Stanley Nelson United States desegregation 112 doc English
The Green Wave 2010 Ali Samadi Ahadi Iran 2009 Green Movement 80 doc
The Yes Men Fix the World 2009 Andy Bichlbaum/Mike Bonanno/Kurt Engfehr United States/global humorous anti-corporate activism 87 doc English with English or Arabic subtitles
Pray the Devil Back to Hell 2008 Abigail E. Disney/Gini Reticker Liberia women against the civil war 72 doc
Offside 2006 Jafar Panahi Iran women and the right to enter soccer (football) stadiums 93 doc Persian with English subtitles
Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (Sophie Scholl: Die letzten Tage) 2005 Marc Rothemund Germany White Rose resistance group 120 feature
The Yes Men 2003 Dan Ollman/Sarah Price/Chris Smith United States/global humorous anti-corporate activism 83 doc English
The Fight in the Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers' Struggle 1997 Rick Tejada-Flores/Ray Telles United States unionization of farm workers 120 doc
Beyond Rangoon 1995 John Boorman Burma democracy movement in Burma 100 feature English
The Long Walk Home 1990 Richard Pearce United States the Montgomery bus boycott 97 feature
Romero 1989 John Duigan El Slavador Archibishop Oscar Romero against dictatorship 102 feature
Weapons of the Spirit (Les armes de l'esprit) 1987 Pierre Sauvage France the rescue of Jews in Le Chambon 90 doc


About this table

I initially compiled a list of films about nonviolent resistance in preparation for a workshop about the history, theory, and practice of nonviolence that I organized as part of the Berlin Colloquia on Contemporary History in February 2012. Later I incorporated suggestions collected by Beate Sissenich via the amsoc mailing list and by Stellan Vinthagen via the Nonviolent Research Network (hat tip to Howard Clark for sending me the list, which I have yet to work through) as well as a number of other films I have come across since. I have watched most but not all of the films mentioned. Inclusion in the list does not constitute endorsement (some of these films are outstanding, while others are terrible), nor is it based on very strict criteria of what constitutes nonviolent struggle. Corrections, additions and suggestions for improvement are welcome. For the Russian version of this list, click “Русский” in the top left corner of this page.

If the film was not originally released in English, the title in the original language is indicated in brackets.

For the time being I am only providing links to publicly available full versions (viewing some of them requires registration or payment of a small fee); links to trailers and descriptions will be added later.
Missing details on languages will be added soon. I am also working on the table width, and on fixing the glitch that makes it impossible to sort the table by length.

I know of five particularly relevant film festivals. The Non Violence International Film Festival specializes in films about nonviolence. The Tromsø International Film Festival awards an annual Norwegian Peace Film Award. The Peace on Earth Film Festival lists nonviolence as one of its major topics, whereas the Monaco International Film Festival assembles films that do not depict violence. In Mumbai, the 7 Islands International Film Festival for World Peace invites films on various aspects of violence and non-violence. The 40 or so festivals joined together in the Human Rights Film Network are also worth a look.
Laika Verlag, based in Hamburg, Germany, publishes an ongoing Library of Resistance that includes DVDs with (mostly documentary) films about various kinds of left-wing resistance movements. See this page for trailers, and the series catalog for descriptions of individual films. The annual lineups of documentaries shown at the Association for the Study of Nationalities convention in New York are also worth a look, even though only some of them specifically touch upon nonviolence: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. And here is a brief list of feature films related to nonviolence that I have yet to integrate with mine.


PS: Incidentally, while it is not specifically about nonviolence (though there are fascinating passages about resistance against the 1991 putsch), I still have a few DVDs of My Perestroika left to sell at the director’s request. Contact me at [mylastname]-at-gmail if you want to buy one.