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on September 13, 2004
It's the 1920's and finding work is hard, but if you are a black man it's even worse. So if you happen to have a job as a Pullman on the trains, you work that job with pride, you don't complain, and you keep your mouth shut. It does not matter that you have your own name, it does not matter that you are seen as less then a man, it does not matter you have dirty shoes thrown at you to shine, you smile and you take it. But what happens when you finally realize enough is enough? What can you do, who do you turn to, how much are you willing to sacrifice to get what you truly deserve? Will you continue to stand for what you believe in, no matter how much others will dissuade you, or beat you down?

Those are the questions that will be asked while watching this film. I found this to be a poignant film. I don't have Showtime, and I had never heard of this film, and found a copy in the library. I enjoyed this film so much I plan to add this to my collection. The historical content alone is what kept me riveted to the screen, and you feel the pain of the men in this film. I mean to have your own name, but to be called "George" every day, and working for a meager $60 a month? The acting in this film is stellar. The only reason I'm not giving this film a 5 is because I felt it could have been a little longer. Andre Braugher is a great actor, and one who should receive more accolades. Mario Van Peebles does his best performance in this film especially. Mario is an excellent actor who needs to make better film choices. I have yet to see Charles Dutton in a bad film role. This is a movie you must see!!!
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on June 3, 2003
A simple movie in a college, something other than the usual lecture, a few hours to relax during an early morning Saturday class... That's how this movie started; yet it opened my eyes, taught me some history and made me wonder where the strength of the "Georges" came from. Captivating, enjoyable and action packed, this story also teaches the viewer an important history lesson, as well as a lesson of life and freedom and our fellow man. Maybe the directing wasn't perfect - I don't remember. Maybe the actors weren't the best - I don't remember that either. But for what I walked away with - I give the movie: Five Stars!!!
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on January 25, 2004
Excellent - should be a must see for all high school seniors and college freshmen. This movie showcases excellent African-American talent as they present the hardships and struggles of A. Phillip Randolph and the Pullman Porters in trying to establish a union. It is an almost forgotten part of our history that should be remembered.
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on October 17, 2006
This film covers the 12-year period from 1925-37, and all of the struggles that the African-American porters who worked for the George Pullman Railroad Company went through on their way to becoming successfully unionised. It seems so unthinkable and morally reprehensible that not so long ago in history, these hard-working men were allowed to be treated this way, like being beaten up, all called "George" instead of by their real names, ordered around, given tips for doing things like shining passengers' shoes or even barking like a dog, being at the white passengers' beck and call, being accused of stealing company property when it was the white passenger who had been attempting to steal the train's linens, and fired just because they'd dared to attend meetings about unionising. And because of the situation at the time, they couldn't protest, since making only $60 a month was still better than having no job.

When the movie starts, in 1925, American society is on the up-and-up, with unions, organised labor, and Socialism not exactly being very popular or approved-of causes, with a lot of hatred, mistrust, and fear directed towards them. Initially, Asa Philip Randolph meets with a lot of resistance when trying to even start a movement for organising the porters. However, he has the advantage of not being a porter and therefore being unable to be fired from that line of work, and he has such great organising skills and such persuasive and impassioned rhetoric that eventually even people who were initially against the idea come over to his side. Along the way the porters and their allies have to put up with things like spies, attempted intimidation by the white men running the Pullman corporation, firings, accusations of Bolshevism, criminal violence, and attempted bribery by the Pullman execs who want Randolph to step down and stop what he's doing. Even when things finally seem to be going their way when FDR is sworn in as president, with more sympathy for organised labor and the working-class, there are still obstacles put in their way by the white establishment, people who just can't grasp that this union is going to happen whether they like it or not, that there's much too much support for it for their old tactics of fear, intimidation, and random illegal unjustified firings to still succeed and go unprotested. They thought it would or could never happen, but it finally did.

This movie is a powerful and moving history lesson and should be required viewing for everyone, whatever their race. Though there's still a lot of racism in America today, at least it's not as awful or as institutionalised as it was back in the Twenties and Thirties. Thanks to people like A. Philip Randolph, Milton Webster, and Ashley Totten, today African-American laborers have a right to be paid more than just $60 a month, the right to speak up when they're mistreated by racists, and most of all the right to be treated like human beings instead of sub-humans all branded with the name George.
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on February 14, 2014
This is a gem........if you want to know about Porters that worked for the Pullman Co. and if you are a passenger train buff this is a must see. This is an excellent excellent movie. Black History buffs this is a must. A Phillip Randolf is portrayed the way he should have instead of a Socialist. He fought hard for the Porters beyond what any human should have too. less but the depression took a bite out of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. This is a film I will keep forever.
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on August 26, 2008
This is a good movie that tells an important story of our nation's history. I do wish it was longer. I enjoyed the acting and Robert Townsend's direction. This made me want to do some research on Randolph myself. This is a wonderful that's a must see.
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on March 13, 2012
An incredibly well acted true to life historical event telling the struggles of the first predominantly black labor union granted in America. Led by A. Philip Randolph, who would later become a legendary figure for civil and labor rights, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters would endure hardship and opposition to become a recognized union in 1937.

This Showtime Presentation is a must see for today's dwindling labor force in the United States. It's a throwback to a time in our country when big business caused an economic depression and a new President with new ideas helped energize the country back to work. Sound sort of familiar?

The sleeping car porters began their struggle during a time of excessive corporate profits and greed. They managed to continue to organize and fight for fair employment after the historic stock market crash of 1929 and the great depression that followed. Remember, this was considered one of the better jobs available to young black men. Imagine some of the other jobs and the treatment blacks had to tolerate.

The 1930's saw many unions challenge big business, but this was the first black led organization that would eventually receive the backing of the American Federation of Labor union (AFL). The AFL at the time was the largest union grouping in the United States, and I assume it was predominantly white.

Who knew that this early stroke of success for labor and equal rights would someday lead to a great man in 1963 making a stunning speech about a dream he had, in front of millions in Washington D.C.? Not surprisingly, A Philip Randolph was one of the men who proposed that march on Washington in 1941 and was there to head the march in 1963 with Martin Luther King, jr.
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on September 4, 2011
The movie based on actual accounts of history.., The conditions of employment during that post WW1 era for those railroad porters were criminal at the least.., And a few of the porters considered their rail line employment in the early 1900's a social step up from their sharecropping/slavery jobs... At one point in the movie, the porters told the journalist some passengers rode the rail lines (JUST) to treat the porters badly... Which goes to show the dregs-of-society in that era felt it was their birthly-right, social privilage to subject the porters with disdain & contempt.., The cultures civil laws & rules permitted & encouraged the dregs to randomly choose a person of color and destroy thier existence out of spite, at a whim.., The peculiar thing about the porters struggle for the union and work conditions didn't change their cultural standing but it was the begining., As the railroad owner inquired " The 10,000 George Movement was instrumental in changing the American culture".., Rate this movie "A" (rushed at the end)
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on February 13, 2013
Showtime's shoestring budget necessitated too many compromises, the most glaring of which was exterior shots of British trains. There were plenty of U.S. museum locations and representative Pullman equipment survivors to more accurately portray the "in-service" scenes of the on-board staff. Andre Braugher's and Charles S. Dutton's performances were on-point, but the dramatizations and somewhat-stilted dialogue left a lot to be desired. We should be glad that someone decided this story was good enough to be put to film (it certainly is!), but, hopefully, someone of Spike Lee's caliber may see fit to revisit it at some future time and do it proper justice.
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on January 11, 2013
I had never heard of this film before. This stars Andre Braugher always great, The movie takes place on the trains and to make it easy for all the white cuastomers they called all the black men working George. This was a top tier job for a Black man at the time. The movie covers Andre Brughers character working and trying to start a union
and the struggle. Top notch acting and direction from Robert Townsend known more as a comedian but a great story teller, worth a watch.
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