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How To Start A Revolution: An Insight into Nonviolent Uprisings

How To Start A Revolution offers a riveting exploration of nonviolent resistance and its potential to overthrow oppressive regimes.

Keywords: Gene Sharp, nonviolent resistance, revolutions, democracy, oppression, activism, BAFTA, documentary


"How To Start A Revolution," directed by Ruaridh Arrow and released in 2011, takes the audience into the heart of nonviolent revolutions around the world. The BAFTA Award-winning documentary provides an in-depth look into the ideas of Gene Sharp, a prominent scholar in the field of nonviolent struggle, and their influence on popular uprisings from Serbia and Ukraine to Egypt and Syria. In our world today, where civil unrest and the fight for democracy are more relevant than ever, this documentary has a significant resonance.


Gene Sharp, dubbed the 'Machiavelli of nonviolence', has authored a guide to overthrowing dictatorships safely. His 198 steps have inspired a wave of resistance across the globe. This documentary follows the journey of his ideas from his Boston study to the streets of Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria, while demonstrating the power of nonviolent resistance.

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The documentary adopts an investigative approach, tracing the journey of Sharp's ideas and their application in the world. The research is thorough, and the exploration of the subject matter is deep and thought-provoking. The presentation style is engaging, making complex political theories accessible to an average viewer.

Historical and Factual Context


Gene Sharp is a political scientist known for his extensive writings on nonviolent struggle. His work has been used by numerous political movements around the world, proving instrumental in the success of many nonviolent revolutions.

Key themes in the film

  • The power of nonviolent resistance
  • The struggle for democracy and freedom
  • The influence of ideas on societal change

Film Comparisons

Unlike other documentaries on iWonder that focus on specific revolutions, "How To Start A Revolution" offers a universal manual for nonviolent resistance, applicable to any oppressive regime.

Noteworthy Moments

The documentary's highlights include firsthand accounts from activists who used Sharp's work to fuel their movements, providing a real-world application of his theories.


The documentary was well-received by audiences and critics alike, with an IMDB score of 7.1. It won the Best Documentary Award at the Raindance Film Festival.


"How To Start A Revolution" provides a compelling look at the power and effectiveness of nonviolent resistance. It is a must-watch for anyone interested in political science, history, or social activism.

More film information


  • IMDB score: 7.1
  • Awards: Best Documentary at the Raindance Film Festival



  • Gene Sharp: A political scientist known for his works on nonviolent struggle.



  • Boston, USA: The origin of Gene Sharp's ideas.
  • Tunisia, Egypt, Syria: Countries where Sharp's ideas were implemented.

Key questions raised by the film:

  • How can nonviolent resistance be effective against oppressive regimes?
  • What role do ideas play in societal change?

I wonder what the film would be in another art form

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  1. A famous book, it would be "1984" by George Orwell because both explore the theme of resistance against oppressive regimes.
  2. A famous song, it would be “Imagine” by John Lennon, as both evoke a vision of peaceful resistance.
  3. A famous piece of art, it would be Picasso's "Guernica," both portraying the struggle against oppression.
  4. A famous celebrity, it would be Martin Luther King Jr. because of his commitment to nonviolent resistance.
  5. A color, it would be blue, symbolizing peace and stability.
  6. A music style, it would be folk music, often associated with social protest and change.