Common Threads

( USA / 1989 )
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Common Threads Poster
Common Threads
In the late 1970’s, a mysterious new disease began infecting - and killing - gay men. Common Threads tells the powerful story of the first decade of the AIDS epidemic, as told through the lives of five very diverse individuals who shared a common fate.
Using the monumental NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt as its central metaphor, the film weaves together personal memories and television news stories to expose the U.S. government’s failure to respond to the growing epidemic, and the vibrant protest movement that was born as a result.
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Formats: Digital Copy, DVD
Running Time: 79 min.
Theme: Activism, American History, Health, LGBT, Sexuality, Society
Language(s): English
Director(s): Rob Epstein see all »
Producer(s): Bill Couturie, Rob Epstein, Jeffrey see all »
Cinematographer: Dyanna Taylor, Jean see all »
Editor(s): Jeffrey Friedman, Rob see all »
Excluded regions: Germany, Austria, Switzerland
Common Threads


  • A documentary with the cumulative emotional impact of great tragedy.
    Los Angeles Times
  • As powerful and moving a documentary as you will ever see. A+
  • Slams through stereotypes… Slowly, carefully, powerfully, Common Threads takes the cold statistics and gives them very recognizable faces.
    The New York Times
  • Powerful and poignant, this is a lump-in-your-throat documentary that never sacrifices intelligence to emotion and never sensationalizes.
    Cleveland Plain Dealer
  • Simply stunning… a study in devotion and anger and courage at a dark time. And through it all, it’s love that shines the brightest.
  • An uncommon labor of love, compassion and bravery.
    New York Newsday
  • A great documentary.
    The Washington Post

Academic Notes

Quotes & Tweets

awards & accolades

  • Berlin Film Festival - Interfilm Jury Award
  • Academy Award - Best Documentary Feature
  • George Foster Peabody Award - Excellence in Broadcasting
  • Emmy Award - Original Score

Festival participation

  • Berlin Film Festival
  • Sydney Film Festival
  • Academy Award
  • George Foster Peabody Award
  • Emmy Award

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Additional Info

Production Company: Telling Pictures/Couturie Company
Distribution Company: Films Transit

Common Threads

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