- Number of Discs: 3
- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 4 hours, 16 minutes
- Video: Color
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Released: December 19, 2006
- Originally Released: 2006
- Label: HBO Home Video
- 3-Disc Set
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33
- Aspect Ratio: Widescreen - 1.78
- 5.1 Dolby Surround - English
- Dolby Digital 2.0 - English, Spanish
- Additional Release Material:
- Featurette: "Next Movement"
- Audio Commentary: Spike Lee
- Text/Photo Galleries:
- Photo Galleries: David Lee
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Rolling Stone - 11/30/2006
"The film is fueled by rage over inadequate federal response, but what you'll remember is the valor and humor of the people of New Orleans, determined to rebuild..."
Entertainment Weekly - 12/22/2006
"WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE may be the most evocative, deftly told, and important four hours to his credit." -- Grade: A
Total Film - 02/01/2007
5 stars out of 5 -- "[N]othing cuts to the core sharper than regular people trying to tell their stories, but getting stopped in their tracks as they choke back their tears."
Empire - 09/01/2007
5 stars out of 5 -- "In making such a universal tragedy out of such a local scandal, Lee may have just made the greatest film of his brilliant career."
Sight and Sound - 10/01/2007
"The seething sense of righteous indignation is powerfully conveyed..."
Uncut - 11/01/2007
4 stars out of 5 -- "[M]oving, illuminating....A massive gallery of talking heads bears witness to the murderous injustice..."
With a runtime of over four hours, this HBO-produced Spike Lee documentary is the definitive word on Hurricane Katrina. Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, causing the levees that had previously kept the city from flooding to burst, which led to death, destruction, and homelessness on an alarming scale. Lee carefully plots the buildup to the hurricane, using many of the key figures in the city--such as mayor Ray Nagin and local radio show hosts--to outline the warnings given to residents. The film then covers the hurricane itself, showing gut-wrenching pictures of dead bodies and people pleading to be saved, before it settles into a lengthy discourse on the government response to the tragedy. Celebrities such as CNN's Soledad O'Brien, Sean Penn, and Harry Belafonte all appear, but Lee mainly focuses on the words of those who somehow made it through Katrina and lived to tell the tale. The majority of those people are highly critical of the Bush administration for its poor response, attributing this to the fact that the bulk of the residents affected were African-American. A powerful and important piece of filmmaking, WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE is an eye-opening account of a catastrophe that could so easily have been avoided.