Release Date: March 30th, 2007 (Quad Cinema) by First Run Features.
Directed by Peter Miller.
BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, two Italian immigrants who, in 1927, were unjustly tried in court and sentenced to death for murder and robbery.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Sacco & Vanzetti presents a convincing, provocative case that Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti did not deserve to be executed because of their unfair trial. Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were charged of robbing a factory in Massachusetts and murdering two employees at the factory. Throughout the trial, they maintained their innocence. Members of the government, especially, were prejudice against Italians back in the early 20th Century, so any evidence showing that Sacco and Vanzetti weren’t responsible for their crimes was unjustly ignored. Fortunately, director Peter Miller doesn’t ignore the evidence as he combines old and new footage along with letters written by Sacco and Vanzetti read by Tony Shalhoub and John Turturro, respectively. There’s also some footage from the 1971 narrative film Sacco & Vanzetti, which tempts you to check it out if you haven’t already— although, sadly, it’s only available on VHS. Miller also includes interviews with Sacco’s niece and historians such as Howard Zinn, Studs Terkel, as well as musician Arlo Guthrie, whose father wrote a song about the trial. These engaging, fascinating interviews continue to stress the injustice surround the trial, although it would have also been interesting to interview current or ex-judges or even lawyers who give their own perceptive on trial. After all, a gang member had confessed to the crimes that Sacco and Vanzetti were charged of, but, alarmingly, that it didn’t stop the judge from sentencing them to death.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: The trial of Sacco and Vanzetti clearly highlights one of the lowest points in the history of the justice system. Back then, many people saw them not who they really were as human beings, especially as innocent ones, but rather stereotyped into being criminals because they were anarchists, immigrants and Italians. This should be an important lesson that stereotype, prejudice and hatred doesn’t belong anywhere, especially in a court of law.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: Fascinating, provocative and alarming.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater.
The "S" Menu