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  • I grew up in the SF Bay Area and actually lived in Oakland from '77 to '80 (proudly sporting my #22 Cliff Branch jersey while attending Wildwood Elementary School), so there was no way I wasn't going to devour this HBO Sports documentary.

    But even if you're not a member of the Raider Nation or couldn't care less about the A's today - hell, even if you don't really like sports - this is a great show about a fascinating city during an equally fascinating time. The sociological exploration of two very different cities, staring each other down from either side of the San Francisco Bay, is just as interesting as the wonderful sports footage. And it's even more interesting when they put both cities, their different demographics, and all their different personalities, within the context of the times...touching on the 60's, civil rights, black power, Hell's Angels, and everything else that made the SF Bay Area such a cultural supernova in those days.

    As for the sport stuff, the interviews with the former A's players are especially riveting, as you really get the sense that, even now, 30+ years later, these guys (Sal Bando, Rollie Fingers, Vida Blue, Reggie Jackson, and all the rest) are still profoundly hurt by the way they were treated and then discarded by absentee owner and all-around a-hole, Charlie O. Even Reggie, Mr. October, who obviously had a hell of a career post-Oakland, said, "If it hadn't been for free agency, we'd have kept on winning. We'd have won every year until we retired." If you're a baseball fan, a statement like that just kind of floors you...especially when you have to wonder if, damn, he might be right.

    On the Raiders side, the lead-up to the "Immaculate Reception" at the end of the '72 season is so well done, that your heart breaks all over again. Listening to the players and fans talk (including Tom Hanks, who is once again cool in my book, not just because he agreed to be interviewed for this film, but because of what a genuine fan he clearly was, and is) is, as they compare it, like listening to people talk about where they were when Kennedy was assassinated. The Raiders were robbed...and it still hurts. Luckily, there was redemption to be had in '76, and the story of that season essentially closes out the film on a high note.

    Anyhow, bottom line, if you're a fan of documentaries you'll absolutely enjoy Rebels of Oakland. If you'r'e a sports fan or a former/current Bay Area resident, you'll absolutely savor it...and then you'll watch it again. And again.
  • When HBO always touts itself by saying, "It's not TV, it's HBO" they deserve an award when it comes to their sports documentaries. Narrated by the golden tones of Liev Schrieber, this hour long tribute to Oakland's football and baseball teams of the 1970's is not to be missed. From a sports journalist who currently covers both teams on a daily basis, the current squads are nowhere near the mystique that the A's had nor the swagger the Raiders did. Back in the day, the Raiders were tough, mean, and GOOD. Now they're just mean... As far as the A's, they've returned to their winning ways since 1999 but the green and gold's glory days will always be the 1970's when they won three World Series. Although the feat has since been accomplished by the New York Yankees, the A's did it primarily through their farm system and didn't have to employ a rent-a-player strategy like the Yankees.
  • Balberith4 December 2005
    This documentary is excellent! It tells the story of the Oakland Athletics & Oakland Raiders of the 1970s. There are many good interviews with former players, coaches, sports writers, and celebrities.

    The 1970s was a great time in Oakland. The A's won three straight World Championships in 1972, 1973, and 1974. The team might have even won more titles during the latter part of the decade but unfortunately their owner Charles O. Finley had cash register for a heart!:-(

    The segment on the Raiders is equally compelling to see. The Raiders lost 3 straight AFC title games before finally beating the Steelers in 1976. They went on to easily beat the Vikings in the Super Bowl. Both of these sports teams very much epitomized the tough and independent spirit of the city of Oakland in the 1970s!

    All in all this is a very good sports documentary to see!