Bowling for Columbine is a 2002 American documentary film written, produced, directed, and narrated by Michael Moore. The film explores what Moore suggests are the main causes for the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999, and other acts of violence with guns. Moore focuses on the background and environment in which the massacre took place and some common public opinions and assumptions about related issues. The film also looks into the nature of violence in the United States.
The film's title refers to the story that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold—the two students responsible for the Columbine High School massacre—attended a school bowling class at 6:00 AM on the day they committed the attacks at school, which started at 11:17 AM. Later investigations showed that this was based on mistaken recollections, and Glenn Moore of the Golden Police Department concluded that they were absent from school on the day of the attack.
Moore incorporates the concept of bowling into the film in other ways as well. For example, the Michigan Militia use bowling pins for their target practice. When interviewing former classmates of the two boys, Moore notes that the students took a bowling class in place of physical education. He suggests that this might have very little educational value and the girls he interviews generally agree, noting how Harris and Klebold led introverted lifestyles and careless attitudes towards the game, and that nobody thought twice about it. Moore questions whether the school system is responding to the real needs of students or if they are reinforcing fear. Moore also interviews two young residents of Oscoda, Michigan. Moore suggests a culture of fear created by the government and the media leads Americans to arm themselves, to the advantage of gun-making companies. Moore suggests that bowling could have been just as responsible for the attacks on the school as Marilyn Manson, or even President Bill Clinton, who launched bombing attacks on Serbia at the time.