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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A seriously interesting DVD!
For those of you who like documentary style DVDs' then this is one to watch. Two people Helen Steel and Dave Morris were distributing leaflets outside a McDonalds in the 1980's, which critiscised company working practises and environmental degredation. Suddenly they found themselves sued for libel by the instantly world recognisable McDonalds Corporation...
Published on 26 Feb. 2006 by A reviewer called

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A must watch, that leaves you half full.
This is a story that should but studied by both political activists and corporations alike.

What most surprised me wasn't that a couple of stubborn Brits stood up to the Mighty Clown, after all that's what we like to do most as a nation. No, what was surprising was just how utterly stupid McDonald's were in pursuing the case and refusing to drop it as it soon...
Published 15 months ago by Prof TBun


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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A seriously interesting DVD!, 26 Feb. 2006
This review is from: McLibel [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
For those of you who like documentary style DVDs' then this is one to watch. Two people Helen Steel and Dave Morris were distributing leaflets outside a McDonalds in the 1980's, which critiscised company working practises and environmental degredation. Suddenly they found themselves sued for libel by the instantly world recognisable McDonalds Corporation itself.
Consider the David and Goliath scenario! Two ordinary members of the public, not allowed legal aid, and with no legal experience, thereby forced to defend themselves. Against them was set the full might of the McDonalds corporation able to afford whole teams of lawyers to put the opposing side of the argument.
The trial originally estimated to last not more than 3 to 4 weeks, soon rolled into years and become the longest in English legal history.
I took great heart in viewing this DVD because it shows how individuals really can make a difference when they refuse to back down against seemingly insurmountable odds and believe that what they are doing is right.
There are two DVDs in this issue with considerable overlapping of the material. However the second one is updated with the ruling from the European Court of Human Rights in 2005. On the first DVD covering the court case in 1997, there is generous additional material including press conferences and interviews with key individuals (well worth watching) who are part of the story as well as a clever re-enactment of many of the court scenes using original transcripts. The DVDs follow the highs and lows of the McLibel Two in such a way it makes you feel you are there with them. That is what I liked most about this DVD - and the way it was made on a shoestring. However it only gets 4 stars because there was slightly too much overlapping material - like watching the same program twice.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The biggest self-inflicted PR disaster in corporate history, 20 Oct. 2007
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This review is from: McLibel [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
This a great documentary about the saga of two skint London-based activists up against the McDonalds multinational.It shows the lengths that multinationals will go to to terrorise their critics into silence,but also shows that popular resistance can be tapped and can defeat even the biggest of Goliaths.
It presents a less than rosy description of McDonalds and it's sins(selling non-nutritious food,exploiting children and it's own workers,misleading advertising etc).People who detest multinationals and all their works will feel vindicated,even those of a more right-wing bent will find it hard to defend McDonalds after watching this.
In this DVD set,you get the original 1997 documentary and an updated one from 2006,where the two activists take the case to Strasbourg and the European Court of Human Rights.I thought the first one was better,but they're both good.
I suppose I can expect an email from McDonalds' lawyers after posting this!!!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Power of Persistance!, 6 Sept. 2007
By 
Mr B (Welsh Borders) - See all my reviews
This review is from: McLibel [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
Having followed this battle from affar for many years, I found this docu-film a fantastic decade crosser!

McDonalds in recent years have quite visually made changes to their image and menu. In my opinion much of this has been due to the actions of London Greenpeace. Whilst it is easy to overlook the dated stats and data of the film, it is without a doubt a story of Goliath and David proportions. David of course is victourious!!!

Any down in the mouth "antagonists of the state" should watch this as part of a relaxing evening. Then, when re-inspired get out there and kick the systems arse, through whatever medium is your choice :)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm lovin' it!, 3 Oct. 2010
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This review is from: McLibel [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
Franny Armstrong's David and Goliath tale is a wonderful piece of thinking cinema. In brief, it tells the story of how two north London activists took on the McDonald's empire and won-if not an outright victory (not initially, at least)- but at the very least caused a major upset to the corporation; caused it some seriously bad publicity, a drop in sales and made people think about its entire business model. All this began with a leaflet campaign originating with a tiny environmental group with very meagre resources. McDonald's preferred tactic at this time was to use UK libel laws to quash any criticism of its practices. McDonald's had cowed some pretty big names through this approach (including the Guardian and the BBC) Dave and Helen however were made of stronger stuff. They took on not only McDonalds but also their formidable legal team which was (needless to say) the best that money could buy. Helen and Dave weren't just taking on McDonald's but the entire legal system as well (it later transpires that the Police also took sides. Guess whose?)

All of this could have been presented in a way that was completely dry as dust but the film is engaging throughout and Dave and Helen come across as thoroughly decent human beings. I enjoyed watching them and cheered them every step of the way. They were also genuine innovators. In 1996 (when the internet was still in its infancy) they founded the McSpotlight campaign as a way of side stepping the corporate owned media.

I found this film to be encouraging, inspiring and a call to arms. We need more grass roots activism on a variety of issues and hopefully Helen and Dave's success will encourage other people to stand up for what they believe in.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars inspiring stuff, 15 Dec. 2007
This review is from: McLibel [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
enter here all who have given up and see that there is still hope, two weedy, lovable and very kindly folk take on the big CORPORATION and win.
top stuff, educational, funny, witty, inspiring,and, most important of all 100% true , no artificial additives, whiter than white bleach or super size Mc spin.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth watching!, 2 Nov. 2008
By 
This review is from: McLibel [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
What an interesting documentary, two people with relatively little financial assistance and zero legal training taken to court by McDonalds over leaflets they handed out. The proceedings have taken the best part of 15 years out of their lives and brought their case to the masses in a way their leaflets never could. Recommended viewing!
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3.0 out of 5 stars A must watch, that leaves you half full., 21 Feb. 2014
By 
Prof TBun (Birmingham UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: McLibel [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
This is a story that should but studied by both political activists and corporations alike.

What most surprised me wasn't that a couple of stubborn Brits stood up to the Mighty Clown, after all that's what we like to do most as a nation. No, what was surprising was just how utterly stupid McDonald's were in pursuing the case and refusing to drop it as it soon became obvious early on that it could only ever end in tears for them. Not even the most naive judge was ever going to be convinced by ridiculous claims that McFood was a healthy diet and that McAdvertising was not aimed at exploiting children. The company also lost on cruelty to animals and on appeal to cruelty to their own workers as well.

As individuals the two protesters are not endearing, nor is all the language and tone of their leaflets to be applauded. Both of these factors seriously upset the egos of McDonald's executives, so that like mad dictators they would stop at nothing to try and silence them.

In the two documentaries the defendants try to come across as calm and rational, but since they were also the producers of this DVD there is a lack of independent objective viewpoints that I would have liked to have seen. To be fair this is not entirely their fault, as included in the extras is documentary evidence that they made repeated attempts to interest the BBC and C4 in making a production, and were rejected. They argue that these rejections were because the TV execs were scared of McDonalds, but any fair minded person should also consider the obvious difficulties of dealing with such awkward political extremists as well.

The second documentary includes most of the footage of the first. In my opinion you lose almost nothing by watching just the second documentary and some of the extras. The extras are important because they give you a somewhat better idea of what kind of people the defendants are. There are are key questions that they do not answer in their story. For example, no evidence is provided of them attempting to involve the relevant British authorities when challenging McDonald's dishonest literature. Given that I think it is right to ask whether these two, in common with most Green Peace activists, always had some desire to flirt with martyrdom. They claim not, but I tend not to believe them. In the extras there is an interview with US authorities, who did challenge McDonald's misleading advertising, so there would have been a successful precedence for them to follow in the U.K.

I think that it is fair to say that the outcome of this case was and continues to be seriously damaging to McDonalds. What I don't accept is their narrative that it has had much positive effect on the rest of the corporate world. McDonalds were the exception in trying to exploit Britain's unbalanced libel laws against anyone and everyone. Since McLibel corporations and wealthy individuals have flooded the courts with ever more libel suits, injunctions and super-injunctions, to try and suppress the truth and accusations being published.

In terms of libel law there were no new precedents set, except that the European Court ruled that the defendants had not received fair treatment by the British legal process. Since that seemed to be because of the decisions made by an individual judge on this specific case, it isn't clear quite what that means for future cases.

Despite the European court ruling I am not convinced that the defendants were as disadvantaged as they claim to have been. If they had evidence to back up their statements as being fair and true, then their defence would have been straightforward to win in front of either judge or jury, without the need of expensive counsel. I know this because during the same period I as an individual took on electronics giant VTech and won without much difficulty (Vtech abandoned UK PC sales shortly after). The problem for the defendants was that they were arguing for the right to publish anything that they believed to be true, not just what they had solid evidence for. They also rightly lost on their accusation that McDonalds should be blamed for the littering done by their customers, on the grounds of fairness (when perhaps they should have been complaining about excessive and environmentally harmful packaging).

Both parties claim to have won, but in truth I think both parties lost on their most important issue. Ironically they both wanted the same thing; the right to publish whatever they liked free of consequences. Under U.K. law there is no such right, nor I believe will there ever be. In practice the campaigners have been able ignore the libel judgement, because McDonald's fear turning them into genuine political martyrs, by having them imprisoned for non-payment. It is not all in their favour though, because the two campaigners have been exposed as not being entirely fair and credible in their claims, which is very important as it effects the future credibility of all their literature.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars David and Goliath, 23 Nov. 2009
By 
Jt Milroy "Peace" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: MCLIBEL (DVD)
The arrogance of the multinational corporation is illustrated beautifully by two friends refusing to bow down to them. McDonald's uses Britain's archane and archaic libel laws to try to bully Greenpeace activists to stop protesting McDonald's continued devastation of the rainforests, maltreatment of staff- among a litany of other crimes against humanity that corporations perpetrate every day. McDonald's fails in it's task, spending millions, whereas Dave and Helen only spend their bus fares. A beautiful modern tale of our times.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story about David versus Goliath and wins (morally), 23 April 2014
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This review is from: McLibel [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
This is an excellent story of two private individuals who took on the might of the giant McDonalds corporation, who would sue everyone in sight if they even hinted at negativity towards them. It cost the company £millions in lost revenue as the public boycotted their establishments due to the way they were trying to destroy the "McDonalds Two".

This DVD shows that it is possible to fight giant corporations who think they can just tramp you under foot. This is still going on today with giant companies like Lufthansa threatening people with libel actions for telling the world on the Internet about their appalling customer service experiences.

After this court action, the longest in British legal history, the only people who made money were the blood-sucking lawyers. Since then McDonalds have not sued anybody for libel. They were taught a good lesson. Other companies should watch this DVD and learn from the mistakes of McDonalds.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Imperfect, but enjoyable and inspiring documentary, 9 April 2011
By 
K. Gordon - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: McLibel [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
Inspiring on a story level, if less so on a film-making level.

Two working class British activists are sued by McDonald's for a pamphlet they put out accusing McDonalds of making unhealthy foods, exploiting its workers, etc. Under the archaic UK libel laws, all the burden of proof is on the defendants, and somehow these two plucky, broke (if occasionally annoyingly naïve) nobodies fight McDonalds to a stalemate in court, while costing McDonald's millions in legal fees, and causing them an absolute PR disaster.

While the story is terrific, the re-enactments, especially of the courtroom scenes are awkward, and the over simplistic idealism of some of the couples' political theory (`why can't McDonald's simply give half of it's profits to their workers?') can be a bit much to take.

Still, it's good to see something that makes you realize the little guy can win now and again. Worth it for
that bit of uplift and inspiration in a cynical time
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