The People Speak (Extended Edition)
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THE PEOPLE SPEAK is a beautiful and moving film inspired by Howard Zinn s books A People s History of the United States first published in 1980 and one of the bestselling history books in the United States and Voices of a People s History of the United States, the primary-source companion to A People s History of the United States, edited with Anthony Arnove.
The film features the actual words (in letters, songs, poems, speeches, and manifestoes) of rebels, dissenters, and visionaries from our past and present including Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Bob Dylan, Langston Hughes, Chief Joseph, Muhammad Ali, and unknown veterans, union workers, abolitionists, and many others never featured in high school textbooks. These dramatic moments from our history are brought to life by a group of remarkable musicians and actors.
Like Howard Zinn s work as a whole, THE PEOPLE SPEAK celebrates the extraordinary possibilities for creating social change that ordinary people have realized throughout the course of our nation s rich but often ignored history of dissent and protest.
THE PEOPLE SPEAK is produced by Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Chris Moore, Anthony Arnove, and Howard Zinn, co-directed by Moore, Arnove and Zinn, and features dramatic and musical performances by Allison Moorer, Benjamin Bratt, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Chris Robinson, Christina Kirk, Danny Glover, Darryl DMC McDaniels, David Strathairn, Don Cheadle, Eddie Vedder, Harris Yulin, Jasmine Guy, John Legend, Josh Brolin, Kathleen Chalfant, Kerry Washington, Lupe Fiasco, Marisa Tomei, Martín Espada, Matt Damon, Michael Ealy, Mike O'Malley, Morgan Freeman, P!nk, Q'orianka Kilcher, Reg E. Cathey, Rich Robinson, Rosario Dawson, Sandra Oh, Sean Penn, Staceyann Chin, Van Dyke Parks, and Viggo Mortensen. Narrated by Howard Zinn.
- Behind the Scenes at the Cutler Majestic Theatre
- Celebrity Interviews
Producer Matt Damon, who grew up next door to the history professor, starts by reading from the Declaration of Independence, followed by other notables, among them Morgan Freeman (as Frederick Douglass), David Strathairn (John Brown), Marisa Tomei (Harriet Hanson Robinson), Sean Penn (Kevin Tillman, the brother of Pat Tillman), and coproducer Josh Brolin (Mark Twain). Others include Viggo Mortensen, Danny Glover, Kerry Washington, Benjamin Bratt, Rosario Dawson, and Don Cheadle, most of whom play several parts.
Some of the finest readers, however, aren't actors. Run-DMC's Darryl McDaniels, for instance, appears visibly shaken as he reads from "David Walker's Appeal." Except for Bob Dylan's croak on Woody Guthrie's "Do Re Mi" and the edit that splits John Legend's version of the traditional "No More Auction Block" in two, the songs all work well, particularly Eddie Vedder with Dylan's "Masters of War" and Bruce Springsteen with Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land," the only selection recorded sans audience (Zinn doesn't mention it, but "Auction Block" inspired Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind"). Supplements include cast interviews and a featurette in which Damon notes that he originally envisioned the production as a television miniseries. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Top Customer Reviews
This review is based on the program that aired on The History Channel.
It's sad to see accusations that Zinn loves to leave out information (even though his facts are true) when our school system teaches history without most of the mitigating facts.
We as a society can never grow if we cannot look upon our past actions in the context of truth.
Hearing the words of everyday people that helped change our society in this country makes me proud to be in America.
Name calling and accusations about such a fine work mystifies me, but so does slavery, why women were not able to vote, and treatment of Indians and so on.
I applaud the work of Howard Zinn and others who show the True beating of hearts in our democracy.
This is a fantastic approach to U.S. history -- the words of real people who struggled to make their lives (and ours) better; read by a fantastic line-up of actors. These are the voices that are too often left out of U.S. history.
If you like Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, you'll like this. If you don't know that book, check out this movie (watch it with others!) and then go read the book.
rebels of American history, like John Brown. Others read quotes showing
some of the darker side of our history, like Abraham Lincoln's early
determination NOT to free the slaves. And still others read words by
unknown 'regular people' commenting on their times.
Mixed with this are political folk songs old and new performed by
Eddie Vedder, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and others.
Moving and informative, this is not, 'fair and balanced', nor does it
pretend to be. The idea is to take a specific perspective on America,
from the time of the Declaration of Independence on, as a
nation forged, and constantly changed by rabble rousers and
revolutionaries, from Thomas Jefferson to Fredrick Douglas to Susan B.
I was fascinated and disturbed to read the vitriol that this project
has brought out from the right, and the mindless knee-jerk
counter reactions from the left - quickly degenerating into the old
'you're a commie who hates America!' 'Oh yeah? Well you're a fascist
who hates what America stands for!' childish spats.
Zinn and his approach is neither the first nor last word on American
History, but it surely raises important questions, and teaches ideas
that were certainly not part of my public school education. (e.g. the
fascinating distinction between the Declaration of Independence as a
more revolutionary, idealistic document ('All men are created equal') and
the Constitution, which was more conservative, and enshrined ideas such
as slavery, and voting as only for white males as part of the very basis
of the country).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Invaluable history lesson for americans; forget what you are told in school... (and in MSM)Published 5 months ago by P. F. Soto
Deeply respect Howard Zinn and his truthfulness as he sees it and enjoyed the film.Published 8 months ago by Marcia A. Ertola
Howard Zinn was an historical revisionist whose work is largely debunked by peers--even like-minded leftists such as in Martin Duberman's biography of Zinn--due to Zinn's... Read morePublished 9 months ago by athrillofhope
Good source for information that can be used to supplement student learning.Published 14 months ago by zman1011
He taught the TRUE History of America that is now not taught in schools.Published 14 months ago by VietVet
Good to remember that people worked so hard to get what freedom and rights we have. We should never forget that....Published 15 months ago by Tomoko Murphy