Let the Fire Burn

Let the Fire Burn Information

Let the Fire Burn is a 2013 documentary film about the events leading up to and surrounding a stand-off between the black liberation group MOVE and the Philadelphia Police Department. The film is directed and produced by Jason Osder and is being distributed by Zeitgeist Films. It will be released in October, 2013.


Though the MOVE organization was constructed as a black liberation movement that practiced peace and "green" methods. When their methods became more radical, featuring profane bullhorn speeches, unsanitary conditions, and questionable child raising, the group began to draw the attention of the community and the police alike. The conviction of 9 members for the third degree murder of a policeman after a shoot-out in 1978 further cemented the group's belief that the police were corrupt and determined to bring the movement down. In 1985, after countless complaints from neighbors about obscene broadcasts and health hazards, the police department decided to take action to evict the group from their row house on Osage Avenue. When gun fire broke out and tear gas was not enough to pull the MOVE members out of the house, the police decided to drop explosives on the house. A fire soon began to blaze, endangering the several children now trapped inside the house. In an infamous decision, the police made the decision to "let the fire burn", resulting in the destruction of over 60 homes and the death of 5 children and 6 adults. The investigation commission that followed found that law enforcement had acted negligently, but no criminal charges were filed.


  • 2013: Tribeca Film Festival, Official Selection. Award for Best Editing in a Documentary, Best New Documentary Filmmaker - special jury mention.
  • 2013: Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Official Selection


"The doc's focus on period material confers an in-the-moment feel to the final product, bringing urgency to a story many in the audience will never have heard but which remains relevant after almost three decades." -John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

"Noteworthy for its "historical verite" approach " no talking head interviews, no narration, no B-roll footage or reenactments " Let the Fire Burn brings the tragic events of May 13, 1985, back to life, forcing audiences to ask how police, Fire Department and city officials could stand by and watch as a helicopter dropped an incendiary device on the MOVE compound in West Philadelphia, and then let the subsequent fire rage into the night, ultimately leveling three city blocks and destroying 61 homes." -Steven Rea, Philly.com

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Let_the_Fire_Burn_%28film%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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