Bowling For Columbine Paper

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Bowling for Columbine opens the viewers’ eyes to what is happening in the USA. This is a film reflection on the topic of violence in America, or rather its quantity, which is disproportionately large compared to other countries. The main theme is the purchase and use of weapons by children in schools and colleges. Surprisingly, in his film, the director does not draw any conclusions, does not impose his vision of the problem on the viewer, he simply asks questions competently. The genius of the film, thus, lies particularly in its openness and thought-provoking nature.

Summary, Analysis, and Implications

In the United States, 11,000 firearm crimes are committed per year. To compare that with another country, in Canada this number is about 150 (Moore). This number has even grown since 2002 as according to the data cited by the Pew Research Center for 2019, there were about 19,000 firearm crimes in the United States (Gramlich). The issue Michael Moore selected for his documentary is not only relevant, but it also only appears to grow with time. The relevance of the film today is, thus, undoubted.

The documentary tries to find out from the inhabitants of both the U.S. and Canada what is the reason for such a frightening number of murders. After all, Canadian teenagers also love action movies, weapons are also available to Canadians, and are available in almost every home, while many residents do not close their front doors at night, unlike Americans hung with locks. The reason appears to lie in media coverage. Moore implies that if one turns on the TV, one can immediately see a huge difference in the social life of these countries. There is no such negativity on Canadian TV, unlike American news, killer bees, the end of the world, a blade hidden in an apple. The listed “sensational” news is only part of what U.S. television constantly inspires viewers (Moore). Moore’s film, thus, is not only a social critique, it appears to be more of a mass media overview with some criticism and skepticism in mind.

Throughout the film, Michael Moore demonstrates his skills as an excellent interviewer, people on the streets seem to not be able to refuse to talk to him. From those interviews, ordinary residents of small towns in the United States largely appear to love weapons, though not everyone can answer why they need them. Between conversations and travels through the states and small towns of America and Canada, the film alternates cuts from old black-and-white American films with gunfights, shots from the first shotgun advertisement, and other seemingly innocent interludes (Moore). All of them are reminders that the passion for weapons in this country did not appear in recent decades at all, it is part of American history.

Despite the seriousness of the stated topic, the documentary, in a way, manages to cause smiles, and sometimes laughter. But comedy moments are immediately switched by hard shocking facts from life. The main story in the film is the story of the events at the Columbine School, where on April 20, 1999, two teenagers, having played a game of bowling, shot 10 students and one teacher, then shot themselves. This news excited the public, with the media wondering who is to blame. Many versions were named, attempting to accuse subcultures, films, cartoons, society, Satan, drugs, rockers, and even Marilyn Manson. Surprisingly, no one mentioned the government or the media. Indeed, on the same day, the American army dropped the largest number of bombs in the entire war on Kosovo. This event was not as sound in the mass media coverage as the Columbine shooting (Moore; Scott). The satirization of the American government that appears indifferent to a serious problem as well as the media that support such notions and even inspires more violence, thus, becomes a central idea of the film. As it is evident from statistical reports, the problem remains exactly the same today.


In Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore tries to find out why there is such a huge number of gun homicides in America compared to other countries and what causes violence towards others. For example, the film talks about why a six-year-old child took a gun, brought it to school, and shot a six-year-old girl and who is to blame. Although no particular conclusion is provided by Moore himself, it is apparent that America is a country mired in fear, which develops into paranoia, intimidated by the media and its own state.

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Works Cited

 Gramlich, John. "What The Data Says About Gun Deaths in The U.S.". Pew Research Center, 2022,

Moore, Michael. Bowling For Columbine. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., 2002.

Scott, A.O. "Seeking A Smoking Gun In U.S. Violence". The New York Times, 2002,

May 12, 2022



Movies Violence

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