Big screen classics

Matewan

This superb tale of a 1920s miners’ strike in West Virginia offers powerful political drama.

Image from Matewan

USA 1987
Dir John Sayles
With Chris Cooper, Mary McDonnell, David Strathairn, James Earl Jones
133min
Digital 4K
Certificate 15

In 1920s West Virginia, a union rep (Cooper) is sent to the mining community of Matewan, a company-owned town where the local workers, oppressed by strikebreakers, are in danger of turning on each other... Sayles’ marvellously gripping, superbly performed movie is an imaginative reworking of traditional western tropes and an astute analysis of the sociopolitical dynamics of labour relations and collective action.