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The Corporation (2004)

Milton Friedman , Noam Chomsky , Mark Achbar , Jennifer Abbott  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (292 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Milton Friedman, Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, Jane Akre, Ray Anderson
  • Directors: Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott
  • Writers: Mark Achbar, Joel Bakan, Harold Crooks
  • Producers: Bart Simpson, Cari Green
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Zeitgeist Films
  • DVD Release Date: April 5, 2005
  • Run Time: 145 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (292 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007DBJM8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,850 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?.

  • Learn more about "The Corporation" on IMDb

Special Features

  • DISC ONE
  • * Two feature audio commentaries: One with co-directors Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott, and one with writer Joel Bakan
  • * Janeane Garofolo interviews Joel Bakan on Air America's Majority Report
  • * "Q's and A's": A selection of television, radio and festival interview segments with the filmmakers, including segments from CNN Financial, WNYC, WBAI, and Air America
  • * Theatrical trailers for The Corporation and Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media
  • * Selection of deleted scenes, including additional clips from Michael Moore's The Awful Truth
  • * Grassroots marketing video segment
  • DISC TWO
  • * "Topical Paradise" and "Tell Me More": Over 5 hours of additional  footage of The Corporation's 40 interviewees, searchable by topic or  interview subject
  • * Plus: Additional trailers, web links, subject updates, and more!

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This DVD charts the specatcular rise of the corporation as a dramatic, pervasive presence in our everyday live. With a deft mix of humor, visual panache, and forthright seriousness, filmmakers Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott and writer Joel Bakan have fa

Amazon.com

An epic in length and breadth, this documentary aims at nothing less than a full-scale portrait of the most dominant institution on the planet Earth in our lifetime--a phenomenon all the more remarkable, if not downright frightening, when you consider that the corporation as we know it has been around for only about 150 years. It used to be that corporations were, by definition, short-lived and finite in agenda. If a town needed a bridge built, a corporation was set up to finance and complete the project; when the bridge was an accomplished fact, the corporation ceased to be. Then came the 19th-century robber barons, and the courts were prevailed upon to define corporations not as get-the-job-done mechanisms but as persons under the 14th Amendment with full civil rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (i.e., power and profit)--ad infinitum.

The Corporation defines this endlessly mutating life-form in exhaustive detail, measuring the many ways it has not only come to dominate but to deform our reality. The movie performs a running psychoanalysis of this entity with the characteristics of a prototypical psychopath: a callous unconcern for the feelings and safety of others, an incapacity to experience guilt, an ingrained habit of lying for profit, etc. We are swept away on a demented odyssey through an altered cosmos, in which artificial chemicals are created for profit and incidentally contribute to a cancer epidemic; in which the folks who brought us Agent Orange devise a milk-increasing drug for a world in which there is already a glut of milk; in which an American computer company leased its systems to the Nazis--and serviced them on a monthly basis--so that the Holocaust could go forward as an orderly process.

The movie goes on too long, circles too many points obsessively and redundantly, and risks preaching-to-the-choir reductiveness by calling on the usual talking-head suspects--Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Michael Moore. And except for an endlessly receding tracking shot in an infinite patents archive, there's scarcely an image worth recalling. Still, it maps the new reality. This is our world--welcome to it. --Richard T. Jameson


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
400 of 440 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Exposé of Legal Tyranny February 13, 2005
Format:DVD
This is an extraordinary film about the creation of the American corporation, its legal organizational model, its global economic dominance and its psychopathic tendencies, and its incredible ambition to influence every aspect of culture in its unrelenting pursuit of profit.

The Corporation was spawned from Joel Balkan's in depth book, "The Corporation: A Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power". (Due to be released in March this year) The film and book begins in the 18th century, in the establishment of the 14th Amendment. Initially the 14th Amendment was designed after the Civil War to give ex slaves' legal rights, like any other citizen of the United States, but through a maze of legal precedents, the business corporation organization model was now deemed a "legal person" with all the civil rights accorded to a citizen. This highly absurd precedent has paved the way for corporations to literarily get away with murder, because a "corporation" is not an individual that you can put in jail. In effect, a corporation has no moral or social obligations; their only obligation is the pursuit of profit. This film offers numerous examples of unethical practices resulting in death for many people, and because of their status under the 14th Amendment, and endless legal loopholes, have gotten away with terrible crimes against humanity and the environment with no more than a fine, a mere slap on the wrist.

As the law treats corporations as "persons", Balkan thought it appropriate to put the various behaviours of these companies under psychological examination. What this psychological study illustrated is that corporations, as "persons" behave and display the symptoms of the clinical psychopath.
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72 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The corporation as psychopath March 2, 2006
Format:DVD
This extraordinary documentary is based on the book The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power (2004) by law professor Joel Bakan (see my review at Amazon). Bakan's thesis is that the corporation is a psychopathic entity.

In his book he notes that the modern corporation is "singularly self-interested and unable to feel genuine concern for others in any context." (p. 56) He adds that the corporation's sole reason for being is to enhance the profits and power of the corporation. He shows by citing court cases that it is the duty of management to make money and that any compromise with that duty is dereliction of duty.

Directors Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott bring these points and a slew of others to cinematic life through interviews, archival footage, and a fine narrative written by Achbar and Harold Crooks. The interviews cover a wide spectrum of opinion, from Michael Moore and Norm Chomsky on the left, to Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman on the right. Friedman is heard to agree with Bakan that the corporation's duty is to its stockholders and that anything that deviates from that duty is irresponsible.

What emerges is a view of the corporation as an entity working both for and against human welfare. Designed to turn labor and raw materials efficiently into goods and services and to thereby raise our standard of living, it has been a very effective tool for humans to use. On the other hand, because it is blind to anything but its own welfare, the corporation uses humans and the resources of the planet in ways that can be and often are detrimental to people and the environment. Corporations, to put it bluntly, foul the environment with their wastes and will not clean up unless forced to.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Corporation Is A Sociopath April 3, 2006
Format:DVD
As a small business owner, I am attuned to the impositions of governmental intrusions. I decided to read the book - and then subsequently saw this documentary - in order to get a more balanced view. Although this author definitely has a bias (addressed at the end of this review), he does not come across as overtly fanatical, and has plenty of examples to document his position.

The corporation is compared to a sociopath. The sociopathic personality is irresponsible, manipulating, grandiose, lacking in empathy, has antisocial tendencies, refuses to accept responsibility for its actions, and cannot feel remorse....Many of the attitudes people adopt and the actions they execute when acting as corporate operatives can be characterized as sociopathic.

Moreover, by the legal way a corporation is set up, its only motive is profit. Every action taken, no matter how altruistic it looks, has to ultimately be a search for profits. Otherwise, the corporation is subject to litigation by the shareholders. The corporation is deliberately programmed and legally compelled to externalize (dump) costs (pollution, for example) without regard for the harm it may cause. Every cost it can unload onto the general public is a benefit to stockholders - a direct route to profit.

Many major corporations habitually engage in criminal behavior with records worse than even the most prolific human criminals. GE collected 42 heavy fines over 11 years - akin to a hardened repeat criminal receiving occasional hand slaps while on perpetual parole. Corporations don't mind chalking these fines up as a cost of doing business - then delegating a committee to figure out how to cover their tracks better in the future. Sounds a lot like a sociopath.
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