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From Wharf Rats to the Lords of the Docks: The Life and Times of Harry Bridges

“From Wharf Rats to Lords of The Dock”, directed by Academy Award© winning director and cinematographer Haskell Wexler, is the film of a truly unique event – Ian Ruskin performing his one-man play to a packed house of 1000 longshore workers in San Pedro, California.

The result, with appearances by Elliott Gould, Edward Asner and members of ILWU Local 13, and with music by Jackson Browne, Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Tim Reynolds, Ciro Hurtado and others (including the world premiere of Woody Guthrie’s song about Harry, sung by his granddaughter Sarah Lee Guthrie), is an inspiring story. It is an intimate exploration of the life and times of this extraordinary man – “a hero or the devil incarnate, it all depends on your point of view” – full of the high drama and biting humor that ran through his life. And it is a springboard into understanding the parallel issues – globalization, global responsibilities, wars on terrorism, surveillance and privacy, and the widening gap between rich and poor, that we face today.

The DVD has 25 special feature segments that take you inside the making of the film, show the impact of Harry’s union around the world, and give you personal stories about the man. Included in the special features is the view of the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach from inside a hammerhead crane, Nelson Mandela paying tribute to the union’s stand against apartheid, Arlo Guthrie rehearsing “The Ballad of Harry Bridges” and “Waltzing Matilda,” and Bill Moyers interviewing Harry. The film runs 82 minutes.

Since its release the film has been aired across the country on PBS. An astonishing feat for a 90 minute film about a troublemaker like Harry Bridges. Durring its run on PBS this independently made film, achieved a 45% average market share meaning Harry's story was told to nearly 150 million Americans a year! We couldn't have done this without the support and consideration of our fans, friends and family. Your encouragement and especially your financial support made the film a rousing success. If you missed the film or any of its airings on your local PBS station, you can purchase the DVD in our store or visit our news page for upcoming airings.

With best wishes

Our Special Thanks To:

The California Teachers Association
US Representative Janice Hahn, 36th Congressional District
Councilman Bill Rosendahl, City of Los Angeles 11th District
The ILWU Credit Union
The Durfee Foundation
ILWU Locals 12, 34 and 32.
and everyone else who gave so generously to help us distribute “From Wharf Rats to Lords of the Docks” to PBS stations.