Distributor:  Icarus Films
Length:  48 minutes
Date:  1981
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: 10-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
Closed captioning available
Interactive transcript available
You must register and login to preview and purchase items.
You might also be interested in...

Tighten Your Belts, Bite the Bullet

New to Docuseek2? Please register and login to preview and/or license this film. If your institution has already licensed this film, you will need to access this page from your institution's network to watch the film. For help on using Docuseek2, please visit our help wiki.

The 1970s fiscal crises in New York and Cleveland.

Tighten Your Belts, Bite the Bullet

Focusing on the 1970s fiscal crises in New York City and in Cleveland, Ohio, TIGHTEN YOUR BELTS, BITE THE BULLET looks at the root causes of fiscal crises in American cities, and the political responses to them.

In New York, the film traces the political and economic history leading to the default threat of the 1970s, and the creation of the Emergency Financial Control Board. It looks at what the effect of these developments were - cuts in city services with a devastating impact on city workers and residents.

The film contrasts New York's political response to the crisis with that of Cleveland, where then Mayor Dennis Kucinich, and his supporters, waged 'The Battle of Cleveland' over what they viewed as nothing less than control of the city itself.

Using animation, news footage, and exclusive interviews, TIGHTEN YOUR BELTS, BITE THE BULLET is an enlightening history of a difficult period in recent urban history.

'This compelling documentary shows that, contrary to the famous dictum by Margaret Thatcher, there is always an alternative... In the times of yet another urban-cum-financial crisis, this is a very timely documentary, that can be used for classroom screenings in geography, urban studies, political science and political economy.'-Anthropology Review Database, December 2011

'TIGHTEN YOUR BELTS combines clear understanding of basic urban issues with a compelling communication of their urgency.'-Peter Marcuse, Professor of Urban Planning, Columbia University

'Purposeful coverage for public library and community group audiences and for college classes in urban planning and problems.'-Booklist

'As clear an explanation of what's happening to our cities as you are going to get.'-In These Times


** 1981 New York Film Festival
** 1982 Cleveland Film Festival


Main credits

Wesson, Celeste (Narrator)

Distributor credits

James Gaffney;Martin Lucas;Jonathan Miller

A Film by James Gaffney, Martin Lucas, and Jonathan Miller

Docuseek2 subjects

Economic History
Labor Studies
Urban Studies
American Studies
Politics and Political Science
U.S. Government and Politics
20th Century
New York City
Late 20th Century (U.S. History)
American (U.S.) Studies

Distributor subjects

History (U.S.)
North America
Urban Studies


Cleveland; New York City; fiscal crisis; Ed Koch; Felix Rohatyn; Northside; Peoples Firehouse; MUNY Light; banks; banking; City finances ; Finance; Urban Planning; Planners; redevelopment; EFCB; Dennis Kucinich; New York; Ford to City 'Drop Dead!'; 1975; 1976; documentary; film; video; DVD; "Tighten Your Belts; Bite the Bullet"; Icarus Films;

Welcome to Docuseek2!

Docuseek2 is a streaming platform of the best documentary and social issue films available for the higher education community.

Anyone may search for titles and find detailed information about the titles. To preview films or license them for streaming, you must register and login.

Currently, we support online registration for anyone affiliated with a higher education institution. Please inquire if you are with a K-12 district or school or with a public library.

Click the Close button to get started!