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Corporation, The

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A timely, critical inquiry, "The Corporation" is a 3 part documentary series that explores the history, inner workings, controversial impacts and potential future of big corporations.

150 years ago, the corporation was a relatively insignificant institution. Today, it is a pervasive presence in all our lives. Like the Church, the Monarchy and the Communist Party in other times and places, the corporation is today's dominant institution. But history has humbled dominant Institutions, eventually crushing, belittling or absorbing them into a new order. Will the corporation be the first to defy history? Where (or when) is the corporation going?

Six years in the making, "The Corporation" reveals behind-the-scenes tensions and influences in several corporate and anti-corporate dramas, through jaw-dropping case studies and true confessions. Like people, corporations have complex "personalities" and like a good psychoanalyst, the filmmakers gently guide the stories and characters to reveal their true selves. The prognosis is grim—for human beings, the environment, democracy, and the very survival of our planet. Providing a much-needed analysis of global commerce, "The Corporation" asks: Is there a cure for the pathological pursuit of profit at any cost, or can we only hope to apply restraints?

The series includes a multitude of views through interviews with CEOs and top-level executives from the world’s largest corporations: oil, pharmaceutical, tire, computer, manufacturing, public relations, branding, advertising and undercover marketing. Adding further depth to the documentary are a Nobel Prize winning economist, the first management guru, a corporate spy, and a range of academics, critics, historians, activists and renowned thinkers. Newsreel footage, early TV ads, B movies, and corporate propaganda films are peppered throughout.

In production from the time of the loudest protests against globalization to the high-profile bankruptcies of companies like Enron and Worldcom, the filmmakers have made a huge and complex topic easy to follow, often amusing and completely riveting. This is essential viewing for students and citizens worldwide.

Presented in this extensively researched work, are 42 interviews including: CEOs and top executives from Pfizer (pharmaceuticals), Goodyear Tire, Royal Dutch Shell, Burson Marsteller (global PR firm), Landor and Associates (branding) and computer giant IBM; Milton Friedman, Noam Chomsky, Peter Drucker, Vandana Shiva, Naomi Klein, and muckraking filmmaker Michael Moore.

Joel Bakan, a Rhodes scholar and Professor of Law at UBC, is author of the best-selling book on which the series is based: THE CORPORATION: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power.

See also:
          The Corporation Web Site:;
          Teacher's Guides from TVO:;
The Corporation theatrical trailer in QuickTime format

Want to see how many corporate logos we see everyday? Check out!
View a printer friendly version of this page...Awards:
  • People's Choice Award: Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto International Film Festivals
  • Documentary Audience Award: Sundance Film Festival
  • NFB Best Canadian Documentary Award: Calgary International Film Festival
  • Joris Ivens Special Jury Award: International Documentary Film Festival, Amsterdam
  • One of the Years' Top Ten Films: Toronto International Film Festival
  • Copyright Date: 2003 Closed Captioned Library Audience:
  • General Interest
  • Government and Business
  • School Audience:
  • Grades 9 - 12
  • Post-secondary education
  • Subjects:
  • Business
  • Ethics
  • Current Events
  • Formats Available:
  • VHS Tape
  • DVD
  • Title Availability
     Part 1: The Pathology of Commerce  Canada
     Part 2: Planet Inc.  Canada
     Part 3: The Reckoning  Canada