An Unreasonable Man

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An Unreasonable Man
Unreasonable man.jpg
Promotional movie poster for the film
Directed byHenriette Mantel
Steve Skrovan
Produced byKevin O'Donnell
StarringRalph Nader
Pat Buchanan
Phil Donahue
William Greider
Eric Alterman
James Ridgeway
CinematographyMark Raker
Edited byBeth Gallagher
Alexis Provost
Distributed byIFC Films
Release date
January 24, 2006 (2006-01-24) (Sundance)
January 31, 2007
Running time
122 minutes
CountryUnited States

An Unreasonable Man is a 2006 documentary film that traces the life and career of political activist Ralph Nader, the founder of modern consumer protection in America and perennial presidential candidate. The film was created to defend Nader and restore his reputation after his controversial role in the 2000 U.S. presidential election.

The film presents interviews with current and former members of Nader's Raiders, including Joan Claybrook and Robert Fellmeth, as well as politicians and political analysts such as Phil Donahue, Pat Buchanan, and Eric Alterman. The film takes its name from the George Bernard Shaw quotation, "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."


The first half of the film examines Nader's advocacy for auto safety features, such as federally mandated seat belts and air bags, as well as his rise to national prominence following an invasion of privacy lawsuit against General Motors. It also examines the formation of independent advocacy groups (termed "Nader's Raiders") during the 1970s; organizations which carried out independent research on various federal agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration. Over the next thirty years, the film argues, Nader "built a legislative record that would be the envy of any modern president."

The second half of the film traces Nader's shift to a grassroots form of organizing focused on citizen power, including his disillusionment with the two-party system following the rise of Reaganism. In assessing Nader's effect, as a third party candidate, the film examines Nader's role as a spoiler in the 2000 presidential election.


The documentary has an aggregate of 92% (54/59) on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 75% on Metacritic.[1][2]

Festival screenings[edit]

  • Meaford International Film Festival 2007[3]
  • Sundance Film Festival


  1. ^ Rotten Tomatoes page on An Unreasonable Man
  2. ^ Metacritic page on An Unreasonable Man
  3. ^ "MIFF 2007 Archives". Meaford International Film Festival. Retrieved 2019-02-07.

External links[edit]