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Maggie Growls
2002, 56 minutes, Color, DVD
Order No. W03815
MAGGIE GROWLS is a portrait of the amazing, canny, lusty, charming and unstoppable Maggie Kuhn (1905-1995), who founded the Gray Panthers (the nation’s leading progressive senior advocacy organization) in 1970 after being forced to retire from a job she loved at the age of 65. Her outrage and determination fueled a political chain reaction that forever changed the lives of older Americans, repealing mandatory retirement laws and proving that “old” is not a dirty word. Out of what Ralph Nader called “the most significant retirement in modern American history,” Maggie created one of the most potent social movements of the century – one that was committed to justice, peace and fairness to all, regardless of age. Her defiant “panther growl” and dramatic slogan “Do something outrageous every day” launched nothing less than a contemporary cultural revolution, both in terms of redefining the meaning of age and through her insistence on “young and old together.” "Maggie Growls" looks at the forces that shaped the movement as well as its leader, using Maggie’s life as a lens through which to examine the intertwined issues of social reform and aging in America. This inspiring documentary is an important addition to courses in American Studies, History, Women’s Studies, Gerontology and Sociology.

This film is a presentation of the Independent Television Service (ITVS) with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).


  • Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Film and Digital Media

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    “Once is not enough! This brilliant and sensitive documentary of a self-professed 'wrinkled radical' educates as it inspires. The film is a beautifully crafted tribute to Maggie Kuhn's loving spirit, her irreverent and unconventional tactics, and her undying activism that changed the face of aging forever in America."
    Stephen McConnell, President & CEO
    Alzheimer's Association

    “…captures the spirit and soul of the Gray Panthers and why we continue to grow and growl today…She taught us that controlled outrage does truly make a difference.”
    Tim Fuller, National Executive Director
    Gray Panthers

    “…a must for historians, educators, gerontologists and lay people alike…This film chronicle of her activism is as cogent, impassioned and human as the woman herself.”
    Dave Taylor, Executive Director
    Presbyterian Senior Services

    “Inspiring…an excellent resource…looks at the forces that shaped the [Gray Panthers] movement as well as its leader, using Maggie’s life as a lens through which to examine the intertwined issues of social reform and aging in America. An important addition to the home library and appropriate for courses in American Studies, History, Women’s Studies, Gerontology, and Sociology.”
    The Gerontologist

    “An informative and inspiring portrait. [Maggie’s] charisma and calculated outrageousness are well captured in this film through footage from different periods of her old age…can be put to good use in women’s studies courses.”
    NWSA journal

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    Maggie Growls is included in the following Special Collections.
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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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© Women Make Movies, 2005
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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us