Director: John Sayles Cast: Chris Cooper, Will Oldham, Mary McDonnell

Blu-ray (Color / Wide Screen)

$37.13 $39.99 Save 7% Current price is $37.13, Original price is $39.99. You Save 7%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, December 11


Independent filmmaker John Sayles creates one of his more artistic works with this period feature about a volatile 1920s labor dispute in the town of Matewan, West Virginia. Matewan is a coal town where the local miners' lives are controlled by the powerful Stone Mountain Coal Company. The company practically owns the town, reducing workers' wages while raising prices at the company-owned supply and grocery. The citizens' land and homes are not their own, and the future seems dim. When the coal company brings immigrants and minorities to Matewan as cheaper labor, union organizer Joe Kenehan (Chris Cooper) scours the town to unite all miners in a strike. As the crisis grows, strikers and their families are removed from their homes by two coal company mercenaries (Kevin Tighe and Gordon Clapp, both also featured in Sayles' Eight Men Out (1988)), and the situation heads toward a final shootout on Matewan's main street . Sayles' simple but telling screenplay brings to light the treatment of immigrants and minorities in the early 20th century South, and it draws sharp parallels between the Matewan labor battle and the Civil War some 50 years earlier. The visual feel of the film is real West Virginia backwoods, with much of the credit going to legendary cinematographer Haskell Wexler, whose warm, rustic lighting belies the anxiety and terror felt by the oppressed townspeople.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/29/2019
UPC: 0715515236010
Original Release: 1987
Rating: PG-13
Source: Criterion
Region Code: A
Presentation: [Wide Screen, Color]
Sound: [Dolby Digital Mono]
Time: 2:13:00
Sales rank: 746

Special Features

English SDH Subtitles; New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director John Sayles, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack; Audio commentary from 2013 featuring Sayles and cinematographer Haskell Wexler; Two new documentaries on the making of the film featuring Sayles, producer Maggie Renzi, production designer Nora Chavooshian, and actors Chris Cooper, James Earl Jones, Mary McDonnell, Will Oldham, and David Strathairn; New interview with composer mason Daring; Short documentary on the impact that Matewan's production had on West Virginia; New program on the film's production design featuring Chavooshian; Trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Chris Cooper Joe Kenehan
Will Oldham Danny Radnor
Mary McDonnell Elma Radnor
Bob Gunton C.E. Lively
James Earl Jones Few Clothes Johnson
Kevin Tighe Hickey
Gordon Clapp Griggs
Josh Mostel Mayor Cabell Testerman
Ken Jenkins Sephus Purcell
Jace Alexander Hilliard Elkins
Gary McCleery Ludie
David Strathairn Police Chief Sid Hatfield
Joe Grifasi Fausto
James Kizer Tolbert
Thomas A. Carlin Turley
Fred Cecker James
Neale Clark Issac
Jenni Cline Luann
Mason K. Daring Picker
Hazel Dickens MT Singer
Davide Ferrario Gianni
Michael Frasher Lee Felts
Percy Fruit Black Miner
Stephen C. Hall Redneck Miner
Charles Haywood Sheb
Delmas Lawhorn Conductor
Michael Mantell Doolin
Bill Morris Bass
Michael Munsey Broker
Frank Payne Old MIner
Hazel Pearl Missus
Hal Philips Boxcar Guard
Thomas Poore Injured Black Man
Michael Preston Ellix
Mithc Scott Mister
Ronnie Stapleton Stennis
Ida Williams Mrs. Knightes
Tara Williams Woman
Gerald Milnes Fiddler
William Dean Broker
Jo Henderson Mrs. Elkins
Nancy Mette Bridey Mae
Maggie Renzi Rosaria
John Sayles Hardshell Preacher
Frank Hoyt Taylor Al Felts
Tom Wright Tom

Technical Credits
John Sayles Director,Screenwriter
Mark Balsam Executive Producer
Dan Bishop Art Director
Nora Chavoosian Production Designer
Mason K. Daring Score Composer
Ira Deutchman Associate Producer
James Dudelson Associate Producer
Cynthia Flynt Costumes/Costume Designer
Amir J. Malin Executive Producer
Anamarie Michnevich Set Decoration/Design
Sonya Polonsky Editor
Leslie Pope Set Decoration/Design
Peggy Rajski Producer
Maggie Renzi Producer
James Sarzotti Makeup
Barbara Hewson Shapiro Casting
Jerry Silva Executive Producer
Haskell Wexler Cinematographer

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Matewan 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous 27 days ago
Since this is beyond some people leaving reviews here, please note that the film is presented with its *original* 1.85:1 aspect ratio and mono soundtrack intact, as it always has been. If you're going to complain about something, make sure you have it right. Movie is fantastic, the uncompressed audio sounds great. Get the disc or don't, but don't make your decision based on what you assume the film should look and sound like.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie shows working conditions that many today could hardly relate to. It shows why the labor movement was so important toward providing fair treatment and dignity for American workers. It shows how the minors were, for all practical purposes, enslaved to the company. What the movie does not show was that this type of treatment had existed else where, such as in Ludlow, Colorado where the same machine gun used to hold minors in line in Matwan, was fired on striking workers, ultimately resulting in the deaths of 11 children, 2 women, and 20 some miners. It does not show that following the big shoot out at Matwan, the miners formed an army, estimated as large as 8000 armed men to fight their enslavement by mine owners. It took until the mid-1930's before these conditions were rectified with new labor law forcing management and company owners to recognize unions and bargain with them in good faith. The lessons are still relevant as America continues to move toward the return of the sweat shops here in America, not just over seas.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I concur with previous poster. this is a great film that deserves a great presentation. I would not have bought it had I realized it was in full screen and not letterbox format...the box lists "full screen" and "mono audio" as special features...huh? I am torn however, when it comes to saying don't buy it, if you've never seen it. but once you see it you may want to write the distributor and demand a better experience for an important work.
shibumi2 3 months ago
John Sayles is a master filmmaker, storyteller and historian. Barnes & Nobel neglects to include the original film's year of release -- ?! This BnN editorial practice needs to be corrected -- it's akin to omitting DOB, a rather important identification of context for any person, place and things.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an outstanding film about the plight of industrial revolution-age coal miners in West Virginia. This is the first movie that made me really take notice of Chris Cooper (so great in Adaptation). Also, this is a major role for Folk singer Will Oldham, who practically steals the show with his sermon near the end. My complaint with this title is that it is not available in widescreen format. If you have an appreciation for the "cinematic experience" as opposed to full-screen, don't watch this version... wait for the widescreen.
Guest More than 1 year ago
...who mined in the late '20s, early '30's in Eastern Kentucky, within 30-40 miles from ''Bloody Mingo'' county, described in the movie. I heard him tell stories about the mines and strikes and the ''wobblies'' during that era...seeing Matewan made that absolutely come alive--John Sayles has created a masterpiece which explicitly captures the language and texture of the appalachian miner culture at that time in a way that feels as much documentary as narrative fiction. Additionally, his character as a southern preacher is so accurate to some of the characters that I've seen from that area that it's pretty spooky. 'Really amazing filmmaking, and on my All Time Greatest Motion Picture list. This is one of the few movies that makes me genuinely proud to work in the entertainment industry.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sayles has masterfully crafted the story of ordinary working people, used mercilessly by the mine owners and their minions. Each character is genuine and touches the heart. The settings and the cinematography almost outshine the superb actors. This remains one of the ''Great'' films, on my list. A Pan & Scan DVD is an entirely unsatisfactory offering. I will wait for the MGM release of a widescreen version, reportedly coming in 2003.