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McLibel (film)

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Title: McLibel (film)  
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Subject: Ken Loach, McDonald's, Keir Starmer, Forks Over Knives, Mark Stephens (solicitor)
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McLibel (film)

Directed by Franny Armstrong
Ken Loach
Produced by Franny Armstrong
Starring Helen Steel
David Morris
Eric Schlosser
Morgan Spurlock
Oliver Ford Davies
Edited by David G. Hill
Gregers Sall
Release dates
Television version:
Extended version:
Running time
50 minutes (Television version)
85 minutes (Extended version)
Language English

McLibel is a documentary film directed by Franny Armstrong and Ken Loach for Spanner Films about the McLibel case. The film was first completed, as a 52-minute television version, in 1997, after the conclusion of the original McLibel trial. It was then extended with new footage to 85-minute feature length in 2005, after the McLibel defendants took their case to the European Court of Human Rights.


The 1997/52 minute version was shown at film festivals worldwide, and bought for TV in about ten countries. The 2005/85 minute version was released theatrically in the UK, USA, Australia and other countries and sold to TV round the world, notably to BBC2 (as part of their prestigious "Storyville Classics" season, where it achieved one million viewers at 10pm on a Sunday night) and CBC in Canada.

The film features courtroom reconstructions of the trial directed by notable UK film director Keir Starmer (who provided free legal support to the McLibel defendants for many years, first as a barrister, then as a QC; later in 2008 he became the Director of Public Prosecutions for England and Wales), and Howard Lyman of Oprah/Mad Cow infamy.


McLibel was broadcast on BBC2 in 2005, to an estimated 1 million viewers.[1] It was then also broadcast on TV in 15 countries – including Australia, Canada and the USA – and released on DVD worldwide. McLibel was released in cinemas and DVD stores in the USA in summer 2005 and this was followed in the UK in 2006.


As of August 2004, the producers estimate that more than 25 million people have seen the film.[2]

An anti-McDonald’s leaflet campaign in front of the McDonald’s restaurant in Leicester Square, London, during the European Social Forum season, 2004-10-16.

The film has a 100% positive rating on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 11 reviews.[3] Metacritic gave the film a rating of 81% based on 4 reviews.[4]

Dennis Harvey of Variety magazine describes it as "an alarming if ultimately inspiring David-and-Goliath parable for today".[5]

Wendy Ide in The Times described McLibel as “a very watchable little film about a big battle”.[6] The Seattle Times said “An irresistible David and Goliath tale… you can’t help but cheer along”, and The Sydney Morning Herald called it “An extraordinary example of independent filmmaking”.[7][8] A Time Out London reviewer said “a radical screen full that will satisfy both head and heart” [9]

McLibel was nominated for numerous awards, including the Grierson Documentary Award (Grierson Awards) and the British Independent Film Awards. It was picked for the British Film Institute's prestigious series, "Ten Documentaries which Changed the World".[10]

Home media

The DVD version was released in 2005 and features more than six hours of extras, including a spoof McDonald's commentary track from comedian Rob Newman.


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External links

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