A Letter from the Filmmaker

Sacco and Vanzetti Opens March 30 at New York's Quad Cinema


Dear Friends:

Over the last five years, I've devoted my life to making a film about an important event in the history of America – an event that a lot of people have heard of, but may not know much about. It's the story of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, two Italian immigrant radicals who were accused of a murder in Boston in 1920, and executed after a notoriously prejudiced trial.

When I see in the newspaper today how certain immigrants are treated in this country, it makes me realize that in many ways not much has changed since the days of Sacco and Vanzetti. If you're from "somewhere else" and have an accent, or a different skin color, you most likely have to endure discrimination, resentment, and even violence. And when I hear about government policies that cut back on civil liberties in the name of protecting our freedom, I’m reminded of the disastrous “red scare” that set the scene for the Sacco and Vanzetti trial.

As I worked on my documentary, I decided that it must not only reveal the truth of what happened to Sacco and Vanzetti, but it must also bring to light the treatment of immigrants today, and the ways in which our judicial system can be influenced by politics and fear. I think it does.

Who might be interested in my film? If you're interested in the history of America, or the plight of immigrants, or insight into famous trials and how the law is selectively applied, or if you're passionate about the death penalty, or concerned about the protection of our civil liberties, I think you'll not only enjoy my film but learn a lot from it. If you're fans of Tony Shalhoub (Monk) or John Turturro (Miller's Crossing), the actors who generously lent their talents to give voice to Sacco and Vanzetti, or if you appreciate historians and writers like Howard Zinn and Studs Terkel, or musicians like Arlo Guthrie, you'll enjoy the film. And if you've got any Italian in you, I think this is a must-see.

My friends at First Run Features are releasing Sacco and Vanzetti; the New York theatrical premiere is Friday, March 30, at the Quad Cinema. Our goal is to have as many people show up for the opening weekend shows as possible, so that theaters around the country will also be willing to program it. They can supply postcards, posters, or even this letter for you to use to get the word out. If we can make the first weekend in New York a success, they'll be able to book the film all over the country. This summer they'll release it on DVD, too (as they did my earlier film, “The Internationale,” about the famous radical song). Their information is below.

Thanks for reading about this, and for helping us get the word out about this film. Please pass this letter on to anyone you think might be interested.

I look forward to seeing you at the movies (yes, I'll be there opening weekend for all evening shows!).


Peter Miller

Website for the film: http://firstrunfeatures.com/sacco_synopsis.html
The Quad Cinema: www.quadcinema.com
The Internationale: http://firstrunfeatures.com/internationaledvd.html

More info and materials: Nicole Baer nicole@firstrunfeatures.com


A wonderful film, as timeless as the struggle for human justice, as relevant as today’s headlines. – KEN BURNS

A timely reminder of how things can go when politics obscure reasonable minds.– BOXOFFICE.COM

Absorbing, compelling … delivers a full sense of the racism and bigotry and jingoism that seized the country between the world wars.” – BOSTON GLOBE

Vividly illuminates one of the most famous court cases, and miscarriages of justice, in American history. It is a timely reminder of the fragility of our liberties in times of crisis.– ERIC FONER, PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

A superb and thorough documentary that gives light to the facts and feelings about this most important example of the miscarriage of old-fashioned American justice, especially relevant in the terror-driven atmosphere that surrounds all of us today.– FRED GARDAPHE, STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY

Carefully, calmly assembles its often provocative evidence and conveys the sense of outrage and doom that the two prisoners’ partisans felt. Their fate can still teach us something important about ourselves and our enemies.” – ARTVOICE, BUFFALO, NY