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The Real Dirt on Farmer John
The Real Dirt on Farmer John
Actors: John Peterson, Lesley Littlefield, Teri Lang
Director: Taggart Siegel
Genres: Indie & Art House, Special Interests, Educational, Documentary
NR     2008     1hr 22min

The award-winning true story of third-generation American farmer John Peterson's hero's journey of success, tribulation, failure and rebirth. Peterson is a true American original. His story parallels that of the family far...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: John Peterson, Lesley Littlefield, Teri Lang
Director: Taggart Siegel
Creator: Dirty Three
Genres: Indie & Art House, Special Interests, Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Art & Artists, Educational, History
Studio: Gaiam
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 01/08/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2005
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 22min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A real American. In the real heartland of this country.
JOHN GODFREY | Milwaukee ,WI USA | 02/13/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The BS factor seems to be relatively low. Very little pretense, from about as far as you can get from either coast. I'm not a farmer, but I lived close to this area & I can relate to the characters in this dying segment of the United States. John Peterson is an original, born & breed on a midwest farm. A farmer was all he ever wanted to be . It was his destiny & inheritance. Success, failure, success, failure, success. That is also an American story. But failure for the American farmer today is inevitable. The farm John grew up on was a success. It fact it was easier to be a farmer post World War II than the mid 1960's & even today. John felt the guilt as his family's farm slipped slowly out of his grasp. He attended Beloit College in Wisconsin, basically because it was the school closest to the farm. People were drawn to him because of his natural goodness, forthrightness & nonconfrmist attitudes. He drew the counter-culture crowd, they used to be called hippies, to his farm in sort of a loose commune-type atmosphere. The economy of the whole country was entering a recession & farmers started losing their land, including John. Because he was a controversial character, he was a easy target to blame for the bad econmomic times. This is one man's life but it also an important documentary on the disappearence in America of the family farm from degradation of the land through chemical pesticides, fertilizers, overuse & urbanization. John, in another trait that is so very American was able to reinvent himself & yet able to stay on the land. It is that oppotunity for second & even third chances that has drawn people fron all over the world for over two hundred years. I did not know about this movie until I saw a blurb on the cover of the dvd in a rental store that indicated the Al Gore has viewed it. Some excellent extras, including two music videos fron John's girlfriend, Lesley Littlefield, that I watched twice. Really, a worthwhile effort."
OMG, this is an awesome documentary and story....
David A. Marks | Paradise, CA United States | 01/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I can't imagine anyone watching this documentary, and then NOT wanting to either grow vegetables organically, or buy them only organically...

This film is life-affirming in so many different ways, and such a visual and emotional treat. It speaks to many cultural and ethical issues, including of course to the issue of corporate vesrsus local, organic farming, our flagrant use of pesticides and herbicides, and oil-based nitrogen, etc.

It also speaks to the value of human artistic endeavors, to the unfortunate conservatism and closed-mindedness of many traditional farming communities, to the value of human diversity, and much more.

Let's just say that, if you decide to see this documentary, your own life will be reaffirmed and made more meaningful."
Great black dirt and the farmers who appreciate it
Karen Van Drie | Prague, Czech Republic | 02/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"How often do we come across entertaining movies from a Midwestern America point-of-view, and more specifically a farmer's point-of-view? I can't say that I ever have before. This movie engages people on so many levels! Adults can relate to the wonderful family histories of people and property, the way one's occupation can break your heart, the need to pick yourself up and dust yourself off afterwards, and the powerful pain that made-up gossip can inflict. I especially appreciated the film maker's gifts for making the audience see and respect people who can seem invisible in our society. For example, an aging mom or the Mexican-American worker with a gazillion handy skills. My church paired this movie with Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" for a thought-provoking focus on the food we eat and how we obtain it."
An amazing film!
Candace Broughton | Cattaraugus, NY USA | 02/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I married into a farming family and teach in a rural area in Southwestern New York. This film resonated for both me and my husband on so many levels! We loved the opening where John takes a bite out of a clump of dirt...this is something my husband does! He tells everyone how much he loves dirt! I hope to add it to your school much here in this film about rural life,communities,families, what it means to be different,and the same...the filmmaker must have had tons of material to work with. As my husband said, "Thank goodness John's mother bought that movie camera." Good films about contemporary rural life, such as this one, are rare."