The Weather Underground

Director: Sam Green, Bill Siegel

Institute History

  • 2003 Sundance Film Festival


During the Vietnam War and the Nixon administration, a group of white-bread, upper-middle-class college students took up guns and explosives to plot the violent overthrow of the United States government. Sam Green and Bill Siegal's energetic and incendiary documentary, The Weather Underground, tracks the history of this radical political group, called the Weathermen, and examines the psychology and politics which led its members to commit countless acts of terrorist activism.

Through remarkable archival footage and interviews with members of the dissolved group, Green and Siegal follow the Weathermen from the group's origins as an offshoot of the Students for a Democratic Society to its planned activities, including the Kent State bombings, the exposure of COINTELPRO, and the liberation of Timothy Leary from prison. The film lays bare the mentality of the members to reveal how they rationalized killing Americans in domestic settings, what it was like to live in a parallel underground world, and how the isolation and invisibility of that life ultimately induced their surrender.

A cautionary tale for individuals and institutions in today's volatile times, The Weather Underground is a provocative examination of American white privilege, governmental reaction to political revolution, and the ethical dangers of taking up arms even from the vantage point of a moral high ground.

— Shari Frilot

Screening Details

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]