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How to Survive a Plague

  Unrated HD Closed Captioning

David France

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Plot Summary

Academy Award Nominated for Best Documentary! "How To Survive A Plague" is the untold story of the efforts that turned AIDS into a mostly manageable condition – and the improbable group of young men and women who, with no scientific training, infiltrated government agencies and the pharmaceutical industry, and helped identify promising new compounds, moving them through trials and into drugstores in record time. These drugs saved their lives and ended the darkest days of the epidemic, while virtually emptying AIDS wards in American hospitals. These activists’ efforts created a paradigm for patient empowerment and health care activism that has since been replicated in the fight against many other diseases from breast cancer to heart disease. And as AIDS spread to Africa, India, and Asia, these activists helped open local groups, exporting AIDS activism to press for better, and more accessible, treatment. Their story stands as a powerful inspiration to future generations, a road map, and a call to arms. Science has yet to find a cure, and without rejuvenated vigilance, transmission is on the rise – most remarkably, among young gay men who are ignorant of how AIDS activists beat back a plague, and along the way changed the world.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 70
  • Fresh: 69
  • Rotten: 1
  • Average Rating: 8.6/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: As this stirring, scrupulous doc reveals, the members of ACT UP fused the fervor of revolutionaries, the tenacity of trial lawyers, and the rage of the dispossessed to change the very shape of the epidemic. – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly, Jan 7, 2013

Fresh: One of the most important documentaries in years or decades ... – Andrew O'Hehir,, Sep 22, 2012

Fresh: Moving and essential. – Bruce Diones, New Yorker, Oct 1, 2012

Fresh: From a terrible epidemic comes a beautiful documentary. – Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune, Jan 7, 2013

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Truthful, historic and group-breaking.

If you like history or are fascinated by the struggles of man against nature, himself and the world then this movie is for you. It's not an action film but at times it has the power to feel similar. There are moments in which you are almost at the end of your seat aggravated for the brave people fighting for simple humane rights. Even though you know the outcome (or should) prior to watching this it still has you engaged. Great movie. Obviously a documentary. 6 out of 5.

And for kibodocious… You claim this is a stupid film about stupid people. Well, next time you leave a review, form a well written and well articulated argument using correct spelling and grammar. Everyone who has read and will read your review has already mentally grouped you into the stupid bunch. Not a single person in this movie is "blaming the world" because they have AIDS. They are blaming the government, OUR government for not acting in regards to the safety and welfare of the people they govern. The one job of a government that is truly for the people is to act in the best interest of the people. We are all human and often times bad things happen to good people. What people should boycott is ignorant people like yourself. Sadly, ignorant and uneducated people like yourself have a voice and exercise it. Your vote of ignorance influences politics and the lives of your country.

How to Survive a Plague

This is a beautiful and power documentary. I'd recomend it to anyone

Great Film about Fighting Back

This is a film about how a group of people, angered by what was happening to their community, took charge of their own destiny and made things happen. It's inspiring and empowering and reminds us just how much people can accomplish when they work together and refuse to take no for an answer.

How to Survive a Plague
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Customer Ratings