Bowling for Columbine "Do you think it's a little dangerous handing out guns at a bank?"

A critical and commercial success, the film brought Moore international attention as a rising filmmaker and won numerous awards, including the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, the Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary Feature, a special 55th Anniversary Prize at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival, and the C├ęsar Award for Best Foreign Film. It is now considered one of the greatest documentaries of all time.

Michael Moore

Bowling for Columbine is a 2002 American documentary film written, produced, directed, and narrated by Michael Moore. The film follows what Moore suggests are the main causes for the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999, and other acts of violence with firearms. Moore pays attention to 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.

Early in the film, Moore links the violent behavior of the Columbine shooters to the presence of a large defense establishment manufacturing rocket technology in Littleton. It is implied that the presence of this facility within the community, and the acceptance of institutionalized violence as a solution to conflict, contributed to the mindset that led to the massacre.

An early scene depicts a bank in Michigan that gives customers a free hunting rifle when they make a deposit of a certain size into a time deposit account. The film follows Moore as he goes to the bank, makes his deposit, fills out the forms, and awaits the result of a background check before walking out of the bank carrying a brand new Weatherby hunting rifle. Just before leaving the bank, Moore asks: "Do you think it's a little dangerous handing out guns at a bank?"

Moore follows up his climate of fear thesis by exploring popular explanations as to why gun violence is so high in the United States. He examines Marilyn Manson as a cause, but states that more German citizens listen to Marilyn Manson (per capita) and that the country has a larger Goth population than the United States, with less gun violence (Germany: 381 incidents per year). He examines violent movies, but notes that other countries have the same violent movies, showing The Matrix with French subtitles (France: 255 incidents per year). He also examines video games, but observes that many violent video games come from Japan (Japan: 39 incidents per year). He concludes his comparisons by considering the suggestion that the United States' violent history is the cause, but notes the similarly violent histories of Germany, Japan, France, and the United Kingdom (68 incidents per year). Moore ends this segment with gun-related-deaths-per-year statistics of the following countries:

Marilyn Manson and Michael Moore

For the final scene of the film, Moore visits Charlton Heston in his home and asks him about American firearm violence. Heston's response includes the suggestions that the United States has a "history of violence" and more "mixed ethnicity" than other countries. Moore then asks Heston if he would like to apologize for leading NRA rallies in Flint, Michigan (Moore's hometown) after the shooting death of a six-year-old girl at Buell Elementary School and in Littleton after the Columbine shooting, upon which Heston walks out of the interview. Moore was later criticized for his perceived "ambush" of the actor.

Created By
Christopher Caggia
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