The Wobblies (DVD)
“Solidarity! All for One and One for All!”
Founded in Chicago in 1905, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) took to organizing unskilled workers into one big union and changed the course of American history. This compelling documentary of the IWW (or “The Wobblies” as they were known) tells the story of workers in factories, sawmills, wheat fields, forests, mines and on the docks as they organize and demand better wages, healthcare, overtime pay and safer working conditions. In some respects, men and women, Black and white, skilled and unskilled workers joining a union and speaking their minds seems so long ago, but in other ways, the film mirrors today’s headlines, depicting a nation torn by corporate greed.
Filmmakers Deborah Shaffer and Stewart Bird weave history, archival film footage, interviews with former workers (now in their 80s and 90s), cartoons, original art, and classic Wobbly songs (many written by Joe Hill) to pay tribute to the legacy of these rebels who paved the way and risked their lives for the many of the rights that we still have today.
Restored by the Museum of Modern Art and recently inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.
Interview with filmmakers Stewart Bird and Deborah Shaffer
Interview with historian and author Paul Buhle
Original Recordings of IWW songs
- Deborah Shaffer - Director
- Stewart Bird - Director
- Roger Baldwin - Himself
“The Wobblies is a history of the IWW, researched lovingly and corroborated by the reminiscences of some of the union’s former members. When the facts are presented as fully as they have been here, the feelings that accompanied them aren’t difficult to imagine."
“Conveys the conviction and strength of these union pioneers with straightforward grace.”
“Iconic. Innovative. Eerily echoing current times. Replete with gorgeous archival footage, the film pays tribute to American workers who took the ideals of equality and free speech seriously enough to put their lives on the line for them. A joyous chronicle.”
“A vivid look into America’s radical past. Its heroes and heroines are filled with vitality—a rare attribute these days.”
Official Selection – New York Film Festival
Official Selection – Rotterdam International Film Festival
Official Selection – Berlin International Film Festival