Street Fight movie poster
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Street Fight movie poster

Street Fight - Movie Synopsis & Plot

"Street Fight" chronicles the bare-knuckles race for Mayor of Newark, N.J. between Cory Booker, a 32-year-old Rhodes Scholar/Yale Law School grad, and Sharpe James, the four-term incumbent and undisputed champion of New Jersey politics.

Fought in Newark's neighborhoods and housing projects, the battle pits Booker against an old style political machine that uses any means necessary to crush its opponents: city workers who do not support the mayor are demoted; "disloyal" businesses are targeted by code enforcement; a campaigner is detained and accused of terrorism; and disks of voter data are burglarized in the night.

Even the filmmaker is dragged into the slugfest, and by election day, the climate becomes so heated that the Federal government is forced to send in observers to watch for cheating and violence.

The battle sheds light on important American questions about democracy, power and -- in a surprising twist -- race. Both Booker and James are African-American Democrats, but when the mayor accuses the Ivy League educated Booker of not being "really black" it forces voters to examine both how we define race in this country. "We tell our children to get educated," one Newarker says, "and when they do, we call them white. What kind of a message does that send?"

"Street Fight" tells a gripping story of the underbelly of democracy where elections are not about spin-doctors, media consultants, or photo ops. In Newark, we discover, elections are won and lost in the streets.

MOVIE REVIEW

Street Fight, a 2006 Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature, is an engaging and startling look at modern politics. The movie revolves around two Democratic mayoral candidates, newcomer Cory Booker and incumbent mayor Sharpe James, in the 2002 Newark, New Jersey elections. While the movie clearly favors young and vocal Booker, you can hardly blame director Marshall Curry for being biased - after all, every time he tries to film Sharpe, the mayor sends police after him to confiscate his camera.
Read our Street Fight movie review »
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