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Bitter Harvest (1981)

4.5 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

An illuminating drama about a young dairy farmer's race to identify a deadly chemical that is killing his cattle and bringing a strange illness to his child.

When sold by Amazon.com, this product will be manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Ron Howard, Art Carney, Tarah Nutter
  • Directors: Roger Young
  • Writers: Frederic Halbert, Sandra Halbert
  • Producers: Charles W. Fries, Tony Ganz
  • Format: NTSC
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: MGM
  • DVD Release Date: June 28, 2012
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008BJU5E8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,406 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
I remember seeing this movie in my high school science class. No kidding. I can see you're thinking how a movie shown in science class can be interesting--I was thinking the same thing. But this movie is actually pretty good. Bitter Harvest tells the story of a family of farmers that have a bunch of cows that they milk, then bottle and sell the milk. But suddenly the cows start to die off from some mysterious disease. The farmers call the authorities to find out what's wrong with the cows. They don't know, because it's probably a new disease. Then, towards the middle of the movie, the people in the area find out that when humans drink the milk, you can lose hair and your memory. Most frightening to me was this scene where this farmer was on his tractor, sitting slumped over the wheel. The disease had made him--a veteran farmer, no less--forget how to operate his tractor! Finally, at the end of the movie, it turns out there is no other choice than to stop the disease from spreading--but I won't tell you how they do it. As you can see, this is a pretty interesting movie, but not very well known. But what is most scary about it is this: It's a True Story.
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Format: VHS Tape
The Bitter Harvest is an excellent drama, I would recommend it to anyone. Having been married to one of the Michigan dairy farmers who fed the contaminated feed and having two young children at the time, our family watches The Bitter Harvest every few years. We recognize many situations in the movie that we experienced and also there is some drama added to make it a real tear-jerker. This movie is not readily available so if you want a copy, you better get it now.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Every once in awhile a film comes along that you can't shake after watching it and this film falls into that category. Bitter Harvest is a true story based on the life of a Michigan dairy farmer who unknowingly was poisoning his cows with a flame retardant accidently mixed in with cattle feed which in turn was passed along to people along the meat and dairy food chain. However, once the problem's cause was determined, it was easier said than done to get state and company executives to back the quarantine of the cattle contaminated with the poisoned feed and their meat/dairy by products for fear of nothing more than their losing profits. Chilling to think that people walk around today with this chemical in their system with no way to extract it while awaiting one of it's ill effects.

It's hard to understand why this film has not yet been cleaned up and transferred to DVD. If you can find a copy on VHS, get it.

You will never forget the last 5 minutes of Bitter Harvest as it winds down to it's only possible, sad conclusion. As much as I recommend it to anyone with it's flawless acting and direction, and as much as I applaud the truth that it exposed, I hope I never have to see another motion picture like Bitter Harvest.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
If you are looking for entertainment, you will be disappointed in this film. If you are looking to expand your knowledge about people being used as guinea pigs while being lied to, dismissed, and blamed for their own problems, you will be glad you watched this film. This is a true story that took place in the 1970s and even today there are children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren that still carry the fat soluble toxin in their bodies. The film is about how easily a toxin can be introduced into the food chain and how quickly it can spread. Having raised cattle in another state in the 1980s, I empathized with the dairy farmers who could only watch in horror as their animals became sick,lame and often died. I do wish Ron Howard would do an update to this film about the people who are now living with the PBB heavy metal toxin in their bodies. The reality is that things have not changed much since the 1970s and fighting a manufacturer is not an easy job for one person.
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By A Customer on October 17, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
This movie is a true story from back in the '70s on a dairy farm in Michigan. The movie details how the cattle were dying, for unbeknownst reasons, and the hoops the farmer had to jump through to finally figure out what was causing it. To today, this has played a major area of interest in MI. People who lived in MI during the '70s or consumed milk from MI during this time, have higher levels of PBB's in the blood. Many studies have been conducted to see if this has had any after effects.
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Format: DVD
Although I grew up in a rural farming community, until recently, I was unaware of this movie and the historical account it related. Regardless of my late arrival however, the film is excellent. Frightening, but excellent. I will not revamp the details, as many reviewers have already adequately done so, but I will add that it is an OUTSTANDING PORTRAYAL of one man's stand for truth. A stand against overwhelming odds, and the sacrifices honest men are willing to make in order to make that truth known.

5-STARS - Highly Recommended!
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
This is the only movie I have ever watched about dairy farming. Since I used to milk cows for a living, I can relate to it in ways that most people probably could not. I hope in the future others will also film on a dairy farm because although it may not seem like a difficult job to do, nothing could be further from the truth. The modern milker has to be part milker, part veterinarian by treating cows for mastitis and other related ailments. The modern milker also has to be part administrator, dealing with books, part handyman and the list goes on. When cows are ill their milk has to be milked into a separate can so their milk does not go into the general milk supply. When this happens and is caught the milk can be poured out for as many as three or four different dairies. At least of the smaller dairies. Now things have probably changed from the days when I milked cows.
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