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Matewan (1987)



Average Rating: 7.5/10
Critic Reviews: 11
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 3,948

My Rating

Movie Info

This is the story of a 1920 coal-mine strike.



John Sayles

Nov 23, 1999

Cinecom Pictures

Watch It Now


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All Critics (29) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (27) | Rotten (2) | DVD (3)

In the rich umbers of Haskell Wexler's cinematography, Matewan does look great.

March 22, 2013 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If Sayles's bite were as lethal as his bark, he might have given this a harder edge and a stronger conclusion. But the performances are uniformly fine.

March 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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In its grave clarity, it's as pure and plaintive as a mountain ballad.

March 22, 2013
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Sayles must have meant his movie to stir and provoke, but the self-contained look of it yields something else -- a sense of quaintness, of harmless nostalgia.

March 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
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When this movie stumbles, it stumbles honestly and sympathetically, but, when it succeeds, it makes history sing.

March 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
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The movie works the way Westerns have always worked: In clear, simple terms and with straightforward dramatic devices.

March 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
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The film is beautifully shot (by veteran cinematographer Haskell Wexler) and works not just as a tense drama, but also as a fascinating recreation of the shifting politics of the the 1920s, where workers' rights blurred with socialism.

March 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Film4

This thoughtful film is real in every respect, right down to the plaintive sound of a country woman`s ballad.

March 22, 2013 Full Review Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

John Sayles' period piece is an ambitious drama of union making and union breaking in the 1920a

April 16, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Cinematographer Haskel Wexler contributes greatly to the look and feel of a truly special cinematic achievement.

May 15, 2009 Full Review Source:

For all of the binary simplicity of the film's moral structure, the question of violence, its utility or even necessity, is the great ambiguity at the film's center.

September 17, 2004 Full Review Source: Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

An old-fashioned movie that will make the hearts of all idealists truly sing.

August 27, 2004 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Superb drama by John Sayles; Chris Cooper is brilliant.

February 13, 2004
Atlantic City Weekly

With Oscar winner Haskell Wexler acting as cinematographer, Matewan is beautifully shot, and there is not a weak performance in the film.

July 30, 2003 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Fascinating masterpiece from Sayles

June 7, 2003
Lawrence Journal-World

The wry social commentary of [Sayles'] earlier films is gone; we're in mythmaking country here.

December 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

marks a turning point in the auteur's career, a transition between a teller of personal tales and a conveyor of universal ones.

July 2, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Audience Reviews for Matewan

An amazingly authentic film with great performances, photography and production design. Sayles work here is stellar, can't wait to read the book.
April 20, 2011

Super Reviewer

Caught this on late night cable. Fantastic film on all levels. It looks great and has some amazing performances. It is everything that I love about John Sayles. It seems like every movie he makes is a social studies project (not that it's always a good thing) and you always learn about something from his films. I didn't know anything about this event and it made it more riveting. Bob Gunton, Chris Cooper (in his film debut), and James Earl Jones are brilliant.
October 25, 2009

Super Reviewer

A modern classic.
March 28, 2008

Super Reviewer

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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