Forks Over Knives

Forks Over Knives

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Lee Fulkerson
Produced by John Corry
Brian Wendel
Written by Lee Fulkerson
Starring T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D
Caldwell Esselstyn, M.D.
John A. McDougall, M.D.
Neal D. Barnard, M.D.
Rip Esselstyn
Music by Ramón Balcázar
Edited by John Orfanopoulos
Brian Crance
Michael Fahey
Monica Beach Media
Distributed by Virgil Films and Entertainment
Release dates
  • May 6, 2011 (2011-05-06)

(limited); DVD released August 30, 2011[1]

Running time
96 minutes
Country  United States
Language English

Forks Over Knives (2011) is an American advocacy film that advocates a low-fat, whole-food, plant-based diet as a way to avoid or reverse several chronic diseases. The film recommends a "whole foods plant-based" diet and stresses that processed foods and all oils should be avoided. This is sometimes confused with a vegan diet, which in practice can be very different.


Through an examination of the careers of American physician Caldwell Esselstyn and professor of nutritional biochemistry T. Colin Campbell, Forks Over Knives claims that many diseases, including obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer, can be prevented and treated by eating a whole food, plant-based diet, avoiding processed food and food from animals.[2][3][4][5]

The film also provides an overview of the 20-year China–Cornell–Oxford Project that led to Professor Campbell's findings, outlined in his book, The China Study (2005) in which he suggests that coronary artery disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer can be linked to the Western diet of processed and animal-based foods (including dairy products).[6]

Director Lee Fulkerson stated in an interview with Canada's National Post that the diet described in the film is called "whole foods plant-based," rather than vegan (a term he deliberately did not use). He said that this is because it avoids the use of highly processed foods, as with a whole foods plant based approach, you "want to use minimally processed things."[2]


As of 31 July 2015, on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, Forks Over Knives received a rating of 61% (23 Fresh, 15 Rotten), based upon 38 reviews.[7] On Metacritic, the film had an average score of 57 out of 100, based on 18 reviews, indicating "mixed or average" reviews.[8]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three out of four stars and wrote: "here is a film that could save your life." He also suggests that "Forks Over Knives is not subtle. It plays as if it had been made for doctors to see in medical school."[9] Loren King of The Boston Globe gave the film three out of four stars and suggests that "what An Inconvenient Truth did for global warming, Lee Fulkerson's persuasive documentary does for a vegan diet".[10] Carrie Rickey of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film three out of four stars and describes it as "an earnest and fact-filled work of food evangelism." [11]

Sean O'Connell of The Washington Post gave the film two out of four stars and argues that it is "an interesting and informative health lecture that's sandwiched into a dry, repetitive documentary" and said that "it's desperately in need of charisma, humor or personality to balance the steady stream of scientific facts we’re asked to absorb".[12] Rex Reed of The New York Observer gave the film 2/4 and argues that "I’m sure there is much to be learned from Forks Over Knives (the title means a healthy diet should be consumed with a fork rather than diverging from this path, which could lead to the knife or scalpel)."[13] Corey Hall of the Metro Times gave the film a "C" and states that "while it's impossible to dispute the basic premise that eating more vegetables is good for you, Forks adopts a staunch anti-meat and -dairy stance that leaves the door open for criticism."[14]

The film was awarded the Documentary/Special Interest Title of the Year in 2012 by the Entertainment Merchants Association.[15]

Nutrition blogger Denise Minger criticized the research presented in the Forks over Knives movie for using the lowest levels of scientific evidence for conclusions and decision making (i.e. animal studies, cohort studies and case control studies rather than randomized controlled trials or systematic reviews) and for picking and choosing only those data sets that support the views presented in the movie while disregarding others.[16]



  1. Times, Seattle (2011-08-30). "New DVDs: 'Madea's Big Happy Family,' 'Forks Over Knives'". Retrieved 2015-09-09.
  2. 1 2 Angela Hickman (2011-05-16). "The food revolution of Forks Over Knives will not be processed". National Post. Retrieved 2014-09-04.
  3. Loren King, "Documentary argues virtues of a vegan diet", The Boston Globe, 16 May 2011.
  4. Jeannette Catsoulis, "Soul Food, Vegan Style", The New York Times, 5 May 2011.
  5. Kasey, "Exclusive interview with Lee Fulkerson, writer and director of 'Forks Over Knives'", TDIV, 21 December 2011.
  6. "Forks Over Knives: The Official Movie Website (Synopsis)". Retrieved 2012-04-20.
  7. "Forks Over Knives – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2015-02-10.
  8. "Forks Over Knives: Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2015-02-10.
  9. Roger Ebert (11 May 2011). "'Forks over Knives' review". Chicago Sun-Times.
  10. Forks over Knives review. The Boston Globe. May 16, 2011.
  11. "'Forks Over Knives': A bad-diet horror story". The Philadelphia Inquirer. 2011-05-19.
  12. Forks over Knives review, The Washington Post. May 13, 2011.
  13. "New York Observer Review". Retrieved 2015-09-09.
  14. Hall, Corey. "Forks Over Knives Metro Times Review". Retrieved 2015-09-09.
  15. "EMA Recognizes Indie Films and TV Series," 2012 Entertainment Merchants Association’s Independent Home Entertainment Award, June 2012.
  16. ""Forks Over Knives": Is the Science Legit? (A Review and Critique) – Raw Food SOS". Raw Food SOS.
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