Michael Francis Moore (born April 23, 1954) is an American filmmaker, author and liberal political commentator. He is the director and producer of Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11, Sicko, and Capitalism: A Love Story, four of the top eight highest-grossing documentariesof all time. In September 2008, he released his first free movie on the Internet, Slacker Uprising, documenting his personal crusade to encourage more Americans to vote in presidential elections. He has also written and starred in the TV shows TV Nation and The Awful Truth.
Moore is a self-described liberal who has criticized globalization, large corporations, assault weapon ownership, the Iraq War, U.S. PresidentGeorge W. Bush and the American health care system in his written and cinematic works.
Moore was born in Flint, Michigan and raised in Davison, a suburb of Flint, by parents Veronica, a secretary, and Frank Moore, an automotive assembly-line worker. At that time, the city of Flint was home to many General Motors factories, where his parents and grandfather worked. His uncle was one of the founders of the United Automobile Workers labor union and participated in the Flint Sit-Down Strike. Moore has described his parents as “Irish Catholic Democrats, basic liberal good people.”
Moore was brought up Irish Catholic, attended parochial St. John’s Elementary School for primary school and originally intended to join the seminary. He then attended Davison High School, where he was active in both drama and debate, graduating in 1972. At the age of 18, he was elected to the Davison school board.
After dropping out of the University of Michigan-Flint (where he wrote for the student newspaper The Michigan Times) and working for a day at the General Motors plant, at 22 he founded the alternative weekly magazine The Flint Voice, which soon changed its name to The Michigan Voice as it expanded to cover the entire state. In 1986, when Moore became the editor ofMother Jones, a liberal political magazine, he moved to California and The Michigan Voice was shut down.
After four months at Mother Jones, Moore was fired. Matt Labash of The Weekly Standard reported this was for refusing to print an article by Paul Berman that was critical of the Sandinistahuman rights record in Nicaragua. Moore refused to run the article, believing it to be inaccurate. “The article was flatly wrong and the worst kind of patronizing bullshit. You would scarcely know from it that the United States had been at war with Nicaragua for the last five years.” Berman described Moore as a “very ideological guy and not a very well-educated guy” when asked about the incident. Moore believes that Mother Jones fired him because of the publisher’s refusal to allow him to cover a story on the GM plant closings in his hometown of Flint, Michigan. He responded by putting laid-off GM worker Ben Hamper (who was also writing for the same magazine at the time) on the magazine’s cover, leading to his termination. Moore sued for wrongful dismissal, and settled out of court for $58,000, providing him with seed money for his first film, Roger & Me
- Roger & Me
- Moore first became famous for his 1989 film, Roger & Me, a documentary about what happened to Flint, Michigan after General Motors closed its factories and opened new ones in Mexico, where the workers were paid much less. Since then Moore has been known as a critic of the neoliberalview of globalization. “Roger” is Roger B. Smith, former CEO and president of General Motors.
- Pets or Meat: The Return to Flint
- (1992) is a short (23-minute) documentary film that was aired on PBS. It is based on the feature-length film Roger & Me (1989) by Michael Moore. The film’s title refers to Rhonda Britton, a Flint, Michigan, resident featured in both the 1989 and 1992 films who sells rabbits as either pets or meat.
- Canadian Bacon
- In 1995, Moore released a satirical film, Canadian Bacon, which features a fictional US president (played by Alan Alda) engineering a fake war with Canada in order to boost his popularity. It is noted for containing a number of Canadian and American stereotypes, and for being Moore’s only non-documentary film. The film is also one of the last featuring Canadian-born actor John Candy, and also features a number of cameos by other Canadian actors. In the film, several potential enemies for America’s next great campaign are discussed by the president and his cabinet. (The scene was strongly influenced by the Stanley Kubrick film Dr. Strangelove.) The President comments that declaring war on Canada was as ridiculous as declaring war on international terrorism. His military adviser, played by Rip Torn, quickly rebuffs this idea, saying that no one would care about “… a bunch of guys driving around blowing up rent-a-cars.”
- The Big One
- In 1997, Moore directed The Big One, which documents the tour publicizing his book Downsize This! Random Threats from an Unarmed American, in which he criticizes mass layoffs despite record corporate profits. Among others, he targets Nike for outsourcing shoe production to Indonesia.
- Bowling for Columbine
- Moore’s 2002 film, Bowling for Columbine, probes the culture of guns and violence in the United States, taking as a starting point the Columbine High School massacre of 1999.Bowling for Columbine won the Anniversary Prize at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival and France’s Cesar Award as the Best Foreign Film. In the United States, it won the 2002Academy Award for Documentary Feature. It also enjoyed great commercial and critical success for a film of its type and became, at the time, the highest-grossing mainstream-released documentary (a record now held by Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11). It was praised by some for illuminating a subject slighted by the mainstream media, but it was attacked by others who considered it inaccurate and misleading in its presentations and suggested interpretations of events.
- Fahrenheit 9/11
- Fahrenheit 9/11 examines America in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, particularly the record of the Bush administration and alleged links between the families ofGeorge W. Bush and Osama bin Laden. Fahrenheit was awarded the Palme d’Or, the top honor at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival; it was the first documentary film to win the prize since 1956. Moore later announced that Fahrenheit 9/11 would not be in consideration for the 2005 Academy Award for Documentary Feature, but instead for the Academy Award for Best Picture. He stated he wanted the movie to be seen by a few million more people, preferably on television, by election day. Since November 2 was less than nine months after the film’s release, it would be disqualified for the Documentary Oscar.[clarification needed] Moore also said he wanted to be supportive of his “teammates in non-fiction film.” However, Fahrenheit received no Oscar nomination for Best Picture. The title of the film alludes to the classic book Fahrenheit 451 about a future totalitarian state in which books are banned; according to the book, paper begins to burn at 451 degrees Fahrenheit. The pre-release subtitle of the film confirms the allusion: “The temperature at which freedom burns.” At the box office, Fahrenheit 9/11 is the second highest-grossing documentary of all time, taking in over US$200 million worldwide, including United States box office revenue of almost US$120 million.
- Moore directed this film about the American health care system, focusing particularly on the managed-care and pharmaceutical industries. At least four major pharmaceutical companies—Pfizer, Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, and GlaxoSmithKline—ordered their employees not to grant any interviews to Moore. According to Moore on a letter at his website, “roads that often surprise us and lead us to new ideas – and challenge us to reconsider the ones we began with have caused some minor delays.” The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on 19 May 2007, receiving a lengthy standing ovation, and was released in the U.S. and Canada on 29 June 2007. The film was the subject of some controversy when it became known that Moore went to Cuba with chronically ill September 11th rescue workers to shoot parts of the film. The United States is looking into whether this violates the trade embargo. The film is currently ranked the third highest grossing documentary of all time and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature.
- Captain Mike Across America
-  Moore takes a look at the politics of college students in what he calls “Bush Administration America” with this film shot during Moore’s 60-city college campus tour in the months leading up to the 2004 election. The film was later re-edited by Moore into Slacker Uprising.
- Capitalism: A Love Story
- On September 23, 2009, Moore released a new movie titled Capitalism: A Love Story, which looks at the financial crisis of 2007–2010 and the U.S. economy during the transition between the incoming Obama Administration and the outgoing Bush Administration. Addressing a press conference at its release, Moore said, “Democracy is not a spectator sport, it’s a participatory event. If we don’t participate in it, it ceases to be a democracy. So Obama will rise or fall based not so much on what he does but on what we do to support him