Who Stole the American Dream?
Investigates the roots of the current economic crisis, and the ongoing assault on working people in the United States.
Directed by Frances Causey, Donald Goldmacher
Produced by Connecting the Dots Productions
Written by: Frances Causey, Hollis Rich
Director of Photography: Rogelio Garcia
Editor: Rogelio Garcia, Maureen Gosling
Executive Producers: Earl Katz, Sally Holst
Associate Producer: Jennifer Schmidt
Consulting Producer: Jed Riffe
Associate Producers: Tara Marchant, Wilder Knight, II
Composer: David Raiklen
Narrated by Thom Hartmann
HEIST is a groundbreaking documentary about the roots of the American economic crisis, and the continuing assault on working and middle class people in the United States. HEIST unflinchingly reveals the crumbling structure of the U.S. economy--the result of four decades of deregulation, massive job outsourcing, and tax policies favoring mega-corporations and wealthy elites, implemented by both the Republican and Democratic parties.
"Heist...comes out swinging... [It] has the virtue of taking the long view of a crisis that recent films like Inside Job and Too Big to Fail have only sketchily explored." New York Times
After detailing how the economy has been derailed, HEIST offers a robust Take Action section with real world solutions and up-to-the-minute footage from the current Occupy Wall Street movement--an essential primer for everyday Americans to participate in the restoration of economic fairness and our democracy.
Amongst those featured are Gar Alperovitz, Alan Stuart Blinder, David Brock, Bob Crandall, Rep. Donna Edwards, Leo Gerard, Jakada Imani, David Green, David Cay Johnston, Van Jones, Robert Kuttner, Kimber Lanning, Michael Lind, Lou Mattis, Lawrence Mitchell, Nomi Prins, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Drew Westen. The film is narrated by Thom Hartmann.
Grade Level: 10-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2012
Copyright Date: 2011
DVD ISBN: 1-93777-215-2
"Compelling...This hard-hitting documentary ties together the seemingly separate factors of deregulation, union-busting, eroding pensions, campaign finance, growing inequality, right-wing think tanks, big corporations, and compliant, wrong-headed politicians of both parties to provide an explanation of the recent financial crisis and much more. Finally, the Occupy movement has a platform for addressing the problems that have brought so many people into the streets demanding action."
John R. Boatright, Professor of Business Ethics, Professor of Management, Loyola University Chicago, Author, Ethics and the Conduct of Business and Ethics in Finance
"Heist pinpoints and explains those key aspects of our recent history that led to the current deep and lasting economic crisis. It shows dramatically and effectively why we must end the structure of inequality in the US today if we are to avoid repeating the economic crisis in the near future."
Richard Wolff, Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Author, Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism (forthcoming)
"A timely, entertaining and provocative film. Its message is that class warfare began decades ago. It has been prosecuted by political elites from both parties and by all three branches of government. It has resulted in reduced taxation of the rich, fewer checks on the excesses of capitalism, a weaker social safety net, fewer worker rights, and a dearth of good American jobs. Students in college-level classes in sociology, political science or economics would benefit from watching and discussing this film."
David Cingranelli, Professor of Political Science, Binghamton University, SUNY
"Heist gets to the core of the problems with America: the sell-off of democracy and the hijacking of the American Dream of shared prosperity and the pursuit of happiness. We need to reclaim that dream and create a new vision of a country and a world that have sustainable human well-being as the highest goal, not unsustainable growth of the 1%."
Dr. Robert Costanza, Professor of Sustainability, Portland State University, Editor-in-Chief, Solutions
"It's punchy and provocative, and that it speaks with an authentic voice. I think it's important to get it into every multiplex in the land because the issues it raises are basic, controversial, and need to get discussed in every home, luncheonette, drug store, firehouse, and community college in the nation...Heist is a film that gets you going."
Morris Berman, CounterPunch
"Politically charged...Live footage of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and a call to get involved politically to change disastrous public policies distinguishes this sharp wake-up call to Americans everywhere, especially those who are struggling the hardest to survive."
The Midwest Book Review
"A valuable resource in high school history, economics, or government classes."
"Timely and well-organized...Provides an understandable description of the current crisis...This versatile program would be effective in a variety of settings."
Dwain Thomas, School Library Journal
"The film provides a crisp, succinct answer to a question that nags most Americans: What the hell happened?"
Chuck Bowen, Slant Magazine
"Has the virtue of taking the long view of a crisis that recent films like Inside Job and Too Big to Fail have only sketchily explored. It makes a strong case that government regulation of business is essential for democracy to flourish."
Stephen Holden, New York Times
"A persuasive case for the swift reinstatement of watchdog laws to prevent bailed-out Wall Street from turning the America Dream into a neverending nightmare for folks on Main Street."
Kam Williams, aalbc.com and Sly Fox Film Reviews
"Causey and Goldmacher's film cogently argues that the economic collapse is a direct result of decades of deregulation in various forms at the service of corporations..."
Basil Tsiokos, what (not) to doc
"Heist is well timed as a one-stop summary of reasons for ordinary Americans to be furious at our financial systems. Its last third turns from compiling past outrages to encouraging activism, making this snappy, solid docu an ideal candidate for savvy distribs to jump on immediately. With grassroots marketing, pic could ride the wave of burgeoning Occupy Wall Street-related protests as a ready-made primer."
Dennis Harvey, Variety
"Heist rails at death of American middle class"
David Wagner, San Francisco Chronicle
"Be sure and see the full film...you'll be surprised by who takes what position, and may end up rethinking some of your own notions."
James Huang, WhoWhatWhy
"At a time when many documentaries are done only to further some political agenda, Heist remains true to educating the public and offer solutions, resting the blame with the politicians on both sides of the aisle, large corporations and big banks that have contributed to the demise of the American economy; protecting the rich and leaving the poor to struggle, 'sink or swim.'"
Oscar Flores, The Word
DVD contains three versions of the film (76, 58, and 22 minutes), SDH captions for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, and scene selection.
The film's website
Awards and Festivals
New York Times Critics' Pick
Silver Chris Award, Columbus International Film + Video Festival
Mill Valley Film Festival
International Documentary Festival, Amsterdam
Santa Barbara International Film Festival
Cleveland International Film Festival
Santa Cruz Film Festival
Eau Claire Progressive Film Festival
Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival
Citizenship and Civics
Labor and Work Issues
Tells the story of the credit bubble that caused the financial crash of 2008, and clearly explains how excessive income inequality leads to economic instability.
Let's Make Money
Erwin Wagenhofer's incredible odyssey tracking our money through the worldwide finance system.
The Love of Money
What's the Economy for, Anyway?
Ecological economist Dave Batker questions whether GDP is an adequate measure of society's well-being and suggests workable alternatives.
Marilyn Waring demystifies global economics from a feminist perspective.
The New Rulers of the World
Award-winning journalist, John Pilger, investigates the realities of globalization by taking a close look at Indonesia.
Multinational companies seldom take the needs of people or the environment into account.
The Emperor's New Clothes
... more Reviews
"For the last 400 years, there has been an ideology on the American continent that life is, and should be, about hustling...about the unlimited acquisition of money and property. During the last 30 years in particular, this ideology entered a no-holds barred, virulent phase, in which constraints on that vision, and alternatives to it, were almost completely suppressed. Market fundamentalism, the dogma that economic growth is the solution to our problems and that the poor and middle class will not be left behind because of the prosperity that will 'trickle down' to them, became the unquestioned narrative, along with the endless media celebration of globalization. But virtually nothing trickled down, the rich became super-rich, globalization hollowed out American industry, and finally the system came crashing down in 2008. The narrative of the mainstream media proved to be nothing more than a myth. What we have in Heist is a much-needed corrective to this, a counter-narrative, if you will, of what reallyhappened during the last 30 years. The danger is that this brilliant movie, along with those texts that give the lie to the dominant narrative, will be suppressed and marginalized...as is anything courageous enough to challenge the power of the American elite. In the end, the hustling culture destroys everything human, which is what we see happening in America today. Heist is a very real attempt to restore our humanity, and thus needs to have the widest distribution possible."
Morris Berman, author, Why America Failed
"If you want to understand why the protesters want to 'Occupy Wall Street,' see this film!"
John Katovich: Former General Counsel: The Pacific Stock Exchange, The Boston Stock Exchange, EVP: NASDAQ, Professor Capital Markets: The Presidio Graduate School
"Heist: Who Stole the American Dream? paints the complete picture"