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->''"Is America a nation of gun nuts? Or just nuts?"''

''Bowling for Columbine'' is a 2002 award-winning {{documentary}} film by MichaelMoore, which examines the effects of [[UsefulNotes/AmericanGunPolitics gun violence]] in the United States, and attempts to give a reason for the motivation of the killers involved in the UsefulNotes/{{Columbine}} massacre.

The film explores what Moore suggests are the causes for the Columbine High School massacre and other acts of violence with guns. He focuses on the background and environment in which the massacre took place, and some common public opinions and assumptions about related issues. The film also looks into the nature of violence in the United States.

Moore talks to many people including ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' co-creator Matt Stone, the National Rifle Association's then-president Creator/CharltonHeston, and musician Music/MarilynManson as he seeks to explain why the Columbine massacre occurred, and why the United States has a high violent crime rate (especially crimes involving guns).

It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2003, where Moore infamously criticized president UsefulNotes/GeorgeWBush in his acceptance speech. It caused a lot of controversy, but also drew more international attention to Moore and the film.


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!!'''This film provides examples of:'''

* BankToaster: Moore opens a bank account and receives a free ''rifle''. [[ManipulativeEditing He cut out the part where he waited to clear a background check, though.]]
* CanadaEh: Subverted; Canada is portrayed in the film as a very sensible (and ''very'' laid-back) society, where all the kids go to movie theatres, Windsor is a great place to live, and no one locks his door. Some of the people interviewed do have slightly noticable accents, though.
* CouldThisHappenToYou: Spoken by several reporters during a montage of news broadcast clips. Lampshaded by Moore, who accuses the news media of using this trope to frighten its audience and help to create a culture of fear and xenophobia in America.
* DocumentaryOfLies: Moore was called out for [[QuoteMine editing the responses of some interviewees to say the opposite of what they meant]].
** In another scene, Moore goes to a bank which was giving away a free rifle to anyone who opened an account with them. The bank clerk is shown handing a rifle to Moore immediately after he opens an account, no questions asked. This was staged; what the bank actually handed out was a certificate for a free rifle at a gun store down the street, and the gun store performed the same background checks and waiting-period requirements as if a customer had walked in to buy a rifle with cash. Even without this knowledge, one bit should clue you in: Moore immediately cuts to the title sequence after asking the guy who gives him the gun "Don't you think it's a little dangerous handing out guns in a bank?" because the answer would dispell the illusion.
** The scene with Charlton Heston, in which Moore pleads for Heston not to go away. Heston in general gets a really bad misrepresentation, with Moore making it seem like he chased after tragedies to hold "big pro-gun rallies" (he never did, a fact that can be corroborated by many official accounts). Heston also had cancer and Alzheimer's by this point.
** The animated segment has a rather one-sided feel to it, implying that most of America's violence was the result of white Americans. While there is a lot to say about their atrocities [[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgment elsewhere]] the short implies that historically Native Americans or Afro-Americans were never violent towards innocent white men.
** Infamously, an interview with [[Creator/TreyParkerAndMattStone Matt Stone]] is featured right before an animated segment done in a style very reminiscent of ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark''. Not only did Stone (or South Park Studios) have no hand whatsoever in making the segment, but he thought the argument it presented was complete bullshit, leading to he and Trey Parker putting a major TakeThat at Moore in ''Film/TeamAmericaWorldPolice''. On the flip-side, Stone conceded that aside from the implications of the animated segment, Moore ''did'' truthfully represent his views and that he actually liked ''Film/RogerAndMe'' by Moore.
* DVDCommentary: By Moore's interns and secretary, no less.
* ExtendedDisarming: At one point a clip from a video made to sell school administrators on uniforms (and/or metal detectors) is shown with a teenager pulling about half a dozen pistols out of the pockets and waistband of his baggy jeans, what looks like a MAC-11 submachine gun and its separate mag, and finally a shotgun that was in his pants. It's not clear how the kid could walk without clanking, let alone nonchalantly with that much metal on him and the shotgun acting like a leg brace. In fact, he couldn't; the scene was staged for maximum scare value.
* FilmTheHand: Several times, most notably by Creator/DickClark and Creator/CharltonHeston, who leaves his interview with Moore and walks away, slamming a door behind him.
* HitlerAteSugar: The point of the title. Moore points out that media watchdogs and social commentary pundits were alarmingly quick to point towards all sorts of societal influences that supposedly caused Harris and Klebold's rampage, including video games, bullying, violent movies, and the like. He notes that all of the things listed are enormously popular in other countries that have violent crime rates far below that of the United States, then questions if they might as well blame the sport of bowling for what happened, as both killers were attending school classes in bowling and even played a game the morning before the shooting.
* HyperspaceArsenal: A student demonstrates how someone could walk into a school with a weapon unnoticed by removing ''more than a dozen'' guns and rifles from his pants. However, the amount of guns is incredibly unrealistic, as the student would only be able to walk very slowly at best, if he could even walk at all because of the field-length (and, we might add, NOT DESTOCKED) shotgun in one leg. If he hadn't blown his entire lower body apart from all the guns, a lot of which were in pretty [[GroinAttack unsafe places]], it was a miracle. This is shown to demonstrate the culture of fear that news channels were coming up with.
* LostAesop: This is something that a lot of gun enthusiasts and right wingers seem to glare over. Michael Moore does criticize the right to bear arms, yes, but he doesn't outright claim that all these violent murders and accidents in the USA are just the result of people owning guns or having easy access to them. He investigates this hypothesis, but honestly shows the audience that other countries, like Canada, also have a right to bear arms, yet have fewer gun-related incidents compared to the USA. In the second half of the documentary he links the scared triggerhappy behaviour of American gunowners to the American media who provides a lot of paranoid MediaScare making people think their society is actually far more dangerous than it actually is. He implies that the media mostly does this to gain higher ratings and to make people so scared that they buy more stuff to protect themselves. By the way this also more or less what Music/MarilynManson [OnlySaneMan according to TV Tropes] says.
** Probably the most accurate interpretation is that Moore didn't go into the film to try and convince you "guns are bad" at all, but with the intent of DISCOVERING what the source of America's gun violence problem is and chronicling the investigation.
* ManipulativeEditing: Hoo boy, this is Moore's signature tactic. As do most right-wing media who criticize Moore for this, too.
* {{Montage}}
* MoralGuardians
* TheNewRockAndRoll: Mocked heavily by Moore during the film. He also subverts this by actually interviewing two people who frightened MoralGuardians, Music/MarilynManson and Matt Stone (co-creator of WesternAnimation/SouthPark), and showing that they are actually normal, intelligent people of whom you shouldn't be afraid of at all.
* OnlySaneMan: Bizarrely, Music/MarilynManson comes across as this. This isn't even [[http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/columbine-whose-fault-is-it-19990624 the first time]] it has happened in relation to Columbine. Not so bizarre if you actually know enough about the man. Beyond his rock persona, he's a surprisingly thoughtful and well-spoken person.
* PillowPistol: Moore interviews James Nichols, the brother of Oklahoma City bombing perpetrator Terry Nichols, who keeps a gun tucked under his pillow every night.
* QuoteMine: The movie was accused of this with Charlton Heston; observant viewers noticed that his clothes changed during a ''single speech''.
** They also cut his post-Columbine speech at the line "we're already here," making his point (that NRA members were part of the emergency personnel of the tragedy) sound more like a smarmy mockery of his anti-gun opponents.
* ScaryBlackMan: {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d [[{{Anvilicious}} heavily]] during a segment on the American news media.
* SoundtrackDissonance: Music/LouisArmstrong's "What a Wonderful World" plays over footage of the atrocities by various US-backed regimes.
* TitleDrop: Moore's next-to-the-very-final line of narration.
* WalkingArmory: A clip from a metal detector manufacturer is shown arguing for the institution of a dress code in schools. To demonstrate how casual dress is dangerous, the sequence shows an adolescent boy pulling about half a dozen pistols out of his pockets and waistband, what looks like a MAC-11 submachine gun and its separate mag, and finally a shotgun that was in his pants. It's not clear how the kid could walk nonchalantly with a shotgun down the leg of his trousers. In fact, he couldn't; the scene was staged for maximum scare value.
* YouCanPanicNow: Seen in a montage during the film.
* YourDoorWasOpen: In Canada. ''All the time.''
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