Matewan (1987)

It takes more than guns to kill a man.

  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Date: 1987-08-28
  • User Rating: 7.3/10 from 49 ratings
  • Runtime: 2h 12min
  • Language: English
  • Production Country: United States of America
  • Director:
star 7.3/10
From 49 Ratings


Filmed in the coal country of West Virginia, "Matewan" celebrates labor organizing in the context of a 1920s work stoppage. Union organizer, Joe Kenehan, a scab named "Few Clothes" Johnson and a sympathetic mayor and police chief heroically fight the power represented by a coal company and Matewan's vested interests so that justice and workers' rights need not take a back seat to squalid working conditions, exploitation and the bottom line.

Matewan Trailer

Matewan Photos

  • Chris Cooper

    as Joe Kenehan
  • James Earl Jones

    as 'Few Clothes' Johnson
  • Mary McDonnell

    as Elma Radnor
  • Will Oldham

    as Danny Radnor
  • David Strathairn

    as Police Chief Sid Hatfield
  • Ken Jenkins

    as Sephus Purcell
  • Gordon Clapp

    as Griggs
  • Kevin Tighe

    as Hickey
  • John Sayles

    as Hardshell Preacher
  • Bob Gunton

    as C.E. Lively
  • Josh Mostel

    as Mayor Cabell Testerman
  • Tom Wright

    as Tom
  • Maggie Renzi

    as Rosaria
Camera Haskell Wexler Director of Photography
Sound Skip Lievsay Supervising Sound Editor
Production Maggie Renzi Producer
Sound Mason Daring Original Music Composer
Production Peggy Rajski Producer
Writing John Sayles Screenplay
Directing John Sayles Director
Costume & Make-Up Cynthia Flynt Costume Designer
Art Dan Bishop Art Direction
Art Nora Chavooshian Production Design
Editing Sonya Polonsky Editor