Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Bowling for Columbine (2002)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Bowling for Columbine (2002)

Activist documentarian Michael Moore's interview-laden film:

  • the humorous, animated, 3-minute "A Brief History of the United States of America" (created in the style of South Park) narrated by a talking bullet, with its ending image of a well-armed family: (Narrator: "And everyone lived happily ever after")
  • the scene about North Country (Michigan) Bank and Trust that offered new customers a firearm for opening up a Weatherby Certificate of Deposit, with the clerk bragging that they had a locked vault keeping a supply of at least 500 firearms - the bank was also "a licensed firearm dealer"; after being presented with his "straightshooter" - he brought up an ironic question: ("Do you think it's a little dangerous handing out guns in a bank?")
  • the bizarre sequence in which a Michigan State police officer described a freak accident when a hunter's dog (humorously dressed up like a hunter with a gun slung onto its back) shot and wounded its owner in the shin
  • interviews with pro-gun advocates, including a group of members in the Michigan Militia, who spoke about their belief in owning a gun ("It's an American responsibility to be armed. If you're not armed, you're not responsible. Who's gonna defend your kids? The cops? The federal government?..It's your job to defend you and yours. If you don't do it, you're in derilection of duty, as an American, period!"), their every-day blue-collar jobs and the guns they owned in their homes; and ending with a discussion of their fund-raising 2002 "Militia Babes" calendar
  • the unusual segment with James Nichols (brother of Terry) (the Michigan Militia counted Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh of the Oklahoma City Bombing as members), and Nichols' most surprising quotes: "When the government turns tyrannical, it's your duty to overthrow it," "The pen is mightier than the sword, but you always must keep a sword handy for when the pen fails," "I sleep with a .44 magnum under my pillow" (proved by a visit to his bedroom) and "There's wackos out there"
  • the subsequent montage about the proliferation of guns and the excitement of gun-owners, plus the depiction of a few real-life killings - accompanied by the Beatles' song: "Happiness is a Warm Gun"
  • the interview with rocker Marilyn Manson, calling himself "The Poster Boy for Fear" - and making the connection between fear and consumer consumption: ("...You're watching television, you're watching the news, you're being pumped full of fear. There's floods, there's AIDS, there's murder, cut to commercial, buy the Acura, buy the Colgate. If you have bad breath, they're not gonna talk to ya. If you got pimples, the girl's not gonna f--k you, and it's just this, it's a campaign of fear and consumption, and that's what I think that it's all based on - it's the whole idea that 'keep everyone afraid and they'll consume'")
Michael Moore's Interview Subjects
James Nichols
Marilyn Manson
Charlton Heston
  • also Manson's response to Michael Moore's question: "If you were to talk directly to the kids at Columbine, or the people in that community, what would you say to them if they were here right now?" -- ("I wouldn't say a single word to them. I would listen to what they have to say, and that's what no one did")
  • the concluding segment with actor/NRA chairman Charlton Heston at his "estate atop Beverly Hills," who expressed his pro-gun position (and refused any apologies) only a few weeks after the Columbine (Littleton, Colorado) HS shooting in April, 1999, and after the late February, 2000 shooting death of a 6 year-old girl at Buell Elementary School in Flint, MI (with Moore showing a picture of a victim) - but then refused further questions and walked away

"A Brief History of USA"

Free Gun for Opening Up a CD at a Bank

Dog Shoots Man

Moore With Michigan Militia

Moore with Picture of Gun Victim Shown to Charlton Heston


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