Who Needs Sleep?


Who Needs Sleep?

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 7


Audience Score

User Ratings: 82
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Movie Info

In 1997, Brent Hershman had spent 19 hours hard at work as a camera assistant on the set of the film Pleasantville one day before he was allowed to go home. The exhausted Hershman fell asleep at the wheel of his car shortly afterward, and died in an auto accident. The event sent shock waves through the entertainment industry, and led a number of union representatives in the film and television community to demand "twelve on, twelve off" regulations, in which crew members would not be allowed to work more than 12 hours at a stretch, with a 12-hour break following. However, many studios and producers have bristled at this suggestion, believing the long hours on a film set are an economic necessity. Haskell Wexler, a veteran filmmaker, cinematographer, union representative and political activist, is an active supporter of the "twelve on, twelve off" proposal, believing long hours are not only dangerous for the health and personal lives of workers, but they result in sloppy, poorly focused work that causes more problems than it solves. Who Needs Sleep? is an activist documentary produced and directed by Wexler which examines the dangers of sleep deprivation, the risks it can pose for workers, and the need for humane worker protection legislation in the entertainment industry (as well as other businesses). Who Needs Sleep? includes interviews with filmmakers Richard Donner, John Sayles, and Richard D. Zanuck, cameramen Vilmos Zsigmond, Conrad L. Hall, and Roger Deakins, and actors Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Annette Bening, and Tyne Daly.


Critic Reviews for Who Needs Sleep?

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (3)

  • The result is (no pun intended) a powerful wake-up call, not just for Hollywood but for a nation that once fought passionately for the eight-hour workday and now, ever more willingly, works itself to death.

    Aug 10, 2006 | Full Review…
  • A comprehensive, personal and surprisingly engaging look at how film crews routinely work hours far beyond anything that can be considered safe, healthy or conducive to a balanced life.

    Jan 27, 2006

    Todd McCarthy

    Top Critic
  • An informative though not particularly exciting documentary.

    Jan 26, 2006
  • Wexler makes it clear that the most victimized are in situations not unlike most Americans...

    Aug 10, 2006
  • We all claim to 'eat, sleep and breathe' our passion and, of course, we want to impress the higher-ups who sign our paychecks, but how much is enough?

    Feb 11, 2006 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Who Needs Sleep is a great sleeping aid, but a horribly dull and uninspiring documentary.

    Jan 26, 2006 | Rating: 1/5

Audience Reviews for Who Needs Sleep?

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