Bright Leaves (2003)

Film details

Synopsis

Documentary. Filmmaker Ross McElwee learns about a 1950 Gary Cooper film, 'Bright Leaf', about the early days of the tobacco industry. He suspects that Cooper's character is based on McElwee's own great-grandfather, a tobacco farmer who died poor, but whose rival, Duke, became one of America's richest men, and founder of Duke University. McElwee traces his family history in the tobacco-growing state of North Carolina, tries to establish the truth about the genesis of 'Bright Leaf', muses on the joys and perils of smoking, and watches one couple's attempts to give up cigarettes.

Cast & Credits

Latest from the BFI

  • Latest from the BFI

    Latest news, features and opinion.

More information

Films, TV and people

  • Films, TV and people

    Film lists and highlights from BFI Player.

More information

Sight & Sound magazine

  • Sight & Sound magazine

    Reviews, interviews and features from the international film magazine.

More information

Back to the top