The Real Dirt on Farmer John (2007)



Critic Consensus: Ostensibly a bio about an eccentric farmer, The Real Dirt on Farmer John also doubles as a stirring exploration of man's common struggle with loss and prejudice.

The Real Dirt on Farmer John Photos

Movie Info

The life of John Peterson, a farmer, artist and progressive thinker, as seen through family home movies, photographs, film and video. In the late 1960s, John turned his traditional family farm into an experiment of art and agriculture, making it a haven for hippies, radicals and artists. In the late 1980s, his local community ostracizes him as a devil worshipper/drug dealer, and the farm debt crisis of the time brings about the tragic collapse of his farm. Defying all odds, John eventually farms again and creates a revolutionary extended village where people and art thrive alongside agriculture.
Documentary , Musical & Performing Arts , Special Interest
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Critic Reviews for The Real Dirt on Farmer John

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (17)

... outstanding documentary ...

Full Review… | July 26, 2007
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

It's fascinating that this portrait of the rise, fall and rise of Midwestern organic farmer John Peterson can be read in so many different ways, only some of which appear intentionally in Taggart Siegel's sympathetic documentary.

July 26, 2007
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

Of interest even to those not particularly interested in the subject of farming.

July 24, 2007
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

A beguiling combination of agrarian ode and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, deepened by Peterson's square sincerity as he struggles to find himself in relation to his family's land.

Full Review… | July 6, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The Real Dirt on Farmer John turns into a portrait of how American family farming could blossom for a new century.

Full Review… | July 5, 2007
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic


Full Review… | June 22, 2007
Time Out
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Real Dirt on Farmer John

I think it is quite telling that a progressive farmer albeit one who is a bit eccentric is targeted instead of embraced. A lesson in how society deals with new ideas in a not so positive manner.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

What is old is new and if this planet is to recuperate from it's "sanity slumber" the younger generation must be taught that the easy, fast way is not always the best way! Mother nature is truly not to be messed with and once some people learn it will be too late. See this wonderful film about a great American family that comes equipped with all the crazy idiosyncrasies that all families have. In this case these quirks only make the real story and goal of this great documentary more fun to discover. See it please and let the little ones join in. They are the future. Ken K,

ken karlson
ken karlson

I believe this is a real American movie describing a good America. John's attachment to the land and firming somehow made me connected to him. Maybe his honesty and naiveness were transparently portraied along with all the surrounding typical American raping and ruining his life and reputation.

Kazutaka Takahashi
Kazutaka Takahashi

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