Raising Awareness and Arousing Feelings in Bowling for Columbine

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Real Archival Footage
  • Music Choice
  • Conclusion


Bowling For Columbine is a documentary directed by Michael Moore that depicts Americans and their attitudes towards guns, gun laws, and how they think they have a better chance at safety with guns very easily accessible to them at all times. Civilians feel that the only way to deal with the intimidation that the media spreads into society is by increasing their ownership of guns. This film's main purpose is educating people and raising awareness about the increasing gun violence in America. The film poses as an answer to the shootings that happened at Columbine High School. Moore strongly weighs down on the importance of gun control. The film targets all the Americans that are concerned about their safety or use guns and violence to protect themselves from guns and violence, using a humorous, mostly ironic, tone to help lighten the film. Through questionable music choice and brutal archival videos, Michael Moore is delivering his message and urging all audiences to respond emotionally.

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Real Archival Footage

The accuracy and credibility of a documentary greatly influences the impact it makes on the audience. Moore's message is supported by the repetitive usage of archival clips. Columbine, a term usually associated with inhumanity and catastrophe, remains a horrific and unfortunate event in the history of Colorado. The video recordings of teenage school shooters ' revive feelings of sympathy from the audience as they are able to hear 911 calls from real Columbine shooting students. Listening to the distressed voices of their country's youth, the audience is compelled to recognize that gun violence isn't a light matter. Americans exercise their right to possess a gun too frequently; a right written for the safety and security of the citizens now takes responsibility for hundreds of lives lost every year.

Only as few s five words from Charles Heston are enough to leave the audience unnerved. A steady hand holding a gun right above his face, he says, "From my cold dead hands". Moore's message is clearly evident to the audience at this point in the film, and the legitimacy of each source leaves little space for uncertainty. Using real archival footage, Moore brings to the audience's attention that horrendous crimes, such as the Columbine Massacre, have been engraved in history for the next generations to know and learn. According to Moore, the threat is almost at our doorstep. The documentary explains the need for gun control as a difficult task that needs to be accomplished - a necessity for the betterment of the american society.

Music Choice

Promoting it for its "freedom", Americans take a little too much pride in their country. However, the society's false impression of America is mocked due to the use of such patriarchal music in the background. A bitter taste is left behind when scenes of children in distress are shown alongside nationalistic patriotic music. To support his arguments, countries such as Canada and their gun policies are constantly referred back to by Moore to try to increase gun regulation. Along with Armstrong's voice in the background, viewers are notified of the brutal inclinations of the States. The seriousness of the circumstances currently is illustrated clearly and taken into account even more seriously as the need for action escalates.

The song symbolises the indifference of society in this scene. The tragedies that are littering history are being subconsciously ignored by individuals in attempts of upholding the image of America. Highlighting the public need for guns, resurfaces the resentful but empathetic voice, and the audience recognises the real difference along with playful music through the entire film. The degree of risk has exceeded such that the only way it can be overcome is by enforcing gun control.


One of the many intentions of this documentary was to arouse feelings of injustice, bitterness, loss, and regret among the audience. America seems to be trying to defeat violence with violence. Seeing society blindly blame and justify weapon use with their right to own them can be very upsetting. In addition to that, nearly every individual would be at a loss for words if faced with crimes associated with guns like the Columbine Massacre, for example. Heston walks away from Moore when he explains that a gun is responsible for the death of a 6 year old. This type of disregard is justified with silence, as the Heston campaign visits the town of the mourning family. Numerous individuals have chosen to hold parents and media responsible for violent aggressive behaviours of teenagers. Motivating and attempting to awaken a sense of patriarchy among its viewers, Bowling for Columbine is a life changing documentary.

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