Battle in Seattle

This article is about the film. For the college basketball event, see Gonzaga Bulldogs men's basketball § Battle in Seattle.
Battle in Seattle

Theatrical poster
Directed by Stuart Townsend
Produced by Mary Aloe
Starring André Benjamin
Jennifer Carpenter
Woody Harrelson
Martin Henderson
Ray Liotta
Connie Nielsen
Michelle Rodriguez
Channing Tatum
Charlize Theron
Ivana Miličević
Music by Massive Attack
Cinematography Barry Ackroyd
Distributed by Redwood Palms Pictures
Release dates
Running time
111 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget US$8 million
Box office $886,461[2]

Battle in Seattle is a 2007 political action film and the directorial debut of actor Stuart Townsend. It is based on the protest activity at the WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999. The film premiered on May 22, 2008 at the Seattle International Film Festival.


The film depicts the protest in 1999, as thousands of activists arrive in Seattle, Washington in masses to protest the WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999. The World Trade Organization is considered by protesters to contribute to widening the socioeconomic gap between the rich and the poor while it claims to be fixing it and decreasing world hunger, disease and death.

The movie takes an in-depth look at several fictional characters during those five days in 1999 as demonstrators protested the meeting of the WTO in Seattle's streets. The movie portrays conflicts between the peaceful protesters and a minority committing property destruction whose actions were widely covered by the media. Although the protest began peacefully with a goal of stopping the WTO talks, police began teargassing the crowd after it refused to clear the streets and the situation escalated into a full-scale riot and a State of Emergency that pitted protesters against the Seattle Police Department and the National Guard.


Though the film is based on actual events, the characters are fictional.

Filming locations


The film received mixed reviews from critics, earning a 54% positive rating from numerous reviews on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, as of January 2016. The critical consensus was that the film, though "Well intentioned and passionate, this docu-drama about the 1999 WTO protests is heavier on politics than character development".[3] New York Magazine called the film "a triumph",[4] while Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert gave the film 3 out of 4 stars and described it as "not quite a documentary and not quite a drama, but interesting all the same" and compared it to past political films like Medium Cool.[5] According to, the film "sounds like a bad TV movie: a drama based on the protests that halted the 1999 World Trade Organization summit in Seattle. Yet Stuart Townsend re-creates it all with stunning passion and skill".[6]

The film also received positive reviews from The Hollywood Reporter and Variety.[7][8]

Despite director Stuart Townsend's stated intention of portraying the events of protest accurately, the film was criticized by anarchist collective CrimethInc. for what they saw as its sensationalistic portrayal of events.[9] In a pamphlet titled "And What About Tomorrow?", the collective allege that the protests were characterized in the film as an isolated spontaneous uprising in which a "small fringe group" of black bloc anarchists "stole the show", whereas CrimethInc. contend that "anarchists were involved in all different aspects of the protests" including nonviolent organization and Food Not Bombs, and credit the adoption of anarchist direct action tactics with the success of the uprising.[9] A review published by Anarkismo praised the film as "clearly well-researched", citing the pacing and general narrative as quite accurate, but criticized the presentation of anarchist politics as one-dimensional and a caricature.[10]

See also


  1. "Battle in Seattle Canadian Release". Retrieved 2008-08-27.
  3. "Battle in Seattle (2008)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  4. "Battle in Seattle Review by NYMag". Retrieved 2008-08-27.
  5. "Battle in Seattle Review by Roger Ebert". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 26 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
  6. "Battle in Seattle Review by EW". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 27 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
  7. "Battle in Seattle Review by THR". Archived from the original on August 27, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
  8. Harvey, Dennis (2007-09-11). "Battle in Seattle Review by Variety". Retrieved 2008-08-27.,
  9. 1 2 CrimethInc. Screenwreckers Guild. "And What About Tomorrow?" (.pdf).
  10. Rogue, Jen; Hedden, Andrew. "Lights! Cameras! Direct Action!". Anarkismo.

Further reading

External links

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