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Movie Info

In rural North Dakota during World War I, struggling farmer Ray Sorenson (Robert Behling) decides to become an activist for the burgeoning Nonpartisan League, a labor union attempting to organize the region's farmers against the railroads and banks which are consistently undercutting their livelihood with unfair payments. But many of the farmers don't trust the union either, fearing that it's too socialistic, and afraid that the banks and railroads will retaliate harshly.

Cast & Crew

Robert Behling
Ray Sorensen
Susan Lynch
Inga Olsness
Joe Spano
John Sorensen

Critic Reviews for Northern Lights

All Critics (4) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (4)

  • The filmmakers, John Hanson and Rob Nilsson, use the documentary springboard of Martinson's memories to move into a film that also looks like a documentary.

    November 6, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • John Ford's The Grapes of Wrath seems like the obvious inspiration here, in both its proletarian sentiment and its primal arrangement of characters against the harsh landscape.

    November 14, 2013 | Full Review…
  • The pseudo-documentary tone is maddeningly naive, but the stubborn, passionate images survive

    January 26, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Quote not available.

    June 30, 2005 | Rating: 3/5
  • The filmmakers, John Hanson and Rob Nilsson, use the documentary springboard of Martinson's memories to move into a film that also looks like a documentary.

    November 6, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • John Ford's The Grapes of Wrath seems like the obvious inspiration here, in both its proletarian sentiment and its primal arrangement of characters against the harsh landscape.

    November 14, 2013 | Full Review…
  • The pseudo-documentary tone is maddeningly naive, but the stubborn, passionate images survive

    January 26, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Quote not available.

    June 30, 2005 | Rating: 3/5

Audience Reviews for Northern Lights

  • Sep 25, 2013
    In the winter of 1915 in North Dakota, Ray Sorensen(Robert Behling) gets engaged to Inga(Susan Lynch). But as John(Joe Spano) puts it, there are more important things to worry about like the low prices and high shipping costs of their grain, along with the banks always threatening to foreclose on their family farms. That's why the Nonpartisan League has been formed, to give the power to the farmers to let them govern themselves. Even after all that, Ray has reservations about hitting the trail for them which are eventually overcome. "Northern Lights" is an endearing and inspiring forgotten piece of American history; one that also goes to show that there is nothing fundamentally un-American about socialism. The black and white cinematography covers the sparse landscape well which matches the minimal dialogue. So, while we are informed as to what happens historically, the same could not be said for the chracters which is not an insignificant fault. In any case, there is Henry Martinson who appears in the prologue and epilogue and was there when these events were going down and at the time of filming, 94 years old and still kicking and doing push-ups.
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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