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Battle in Seattle

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Director  Stuart Townsend
Writer  Stuart Townsend
Country  United States Canada Germany
6.7/10 IMDb

Genre  Action, Drama
Language  English
Battle in Seattle movie poster
Release date  Toronto Film Festival September 8, 2007 United States limited September 19, 2008 Canada October 17, 2008
Initial DVD release  October 7, 2008 (Netherlands)
Music director  Neil Davidge, Robert Del Naja
Cast  Martin Henderson (Jay), Michelle Rodriguez (Lou), Woody Harrelson (Dale), Charlize Theron (Ella), Jennifer Carpenter (Sam), André Benjamin (Django)
Similar movies  The Yes Men (2003)
Tagline  Six lives, six battles, one city.

Battle in seattle german trailer

Battle in Seattle is a 2007 political action film and the directorial debut of actor Stuart Townsend, who also wrote the screenplay. The story 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.


Battle in Seattle movie scenes

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Battle in Seattle movie scenes

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.

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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.

  • Martin Henderson as Jay
  • Michelle Rodriguez as Lou
  • Charlize Theron as Ella
  • Woody Harrelson as Dale
  • André Benjamin as Django
  • Connie Nielsen as Jean
  • Ray Liotta as Mayor Jim Tobin (loosely based on real-life Seattle Mayor Paul Schell)
  • Tzi Ma as Governor (loosely based on former Washington Governor Gary Locke)
  • Ivana Miličević as Carla
  • Channing Tatum as Johnson
  • Jennifer Carpenter as Sam
  • Joshua Jackson as Randall
  • Isaach De Bankolé as Abasi
  • Rade Serbedzija as Dr. Meric
  • Filming locations

  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • University of British Columbia, Point Grey Campus
  • Granville Square
  • Corner of Hastings and Hornby
  • Corner of Hastings and Howe Leone and L2
  • Foot of Vancouver Public Library
  • Fraser Street, between 41st and 49th Avenues
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Reception

    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". New York Magazine called the film "a triumph", 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. 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".

    The film also received positive reviews from The Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

    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. 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. 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.


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