How to Survive a Plague
Want to See
Not Interested
Rate it ½ star
Rate it 1 star
Rate it 1½ stars
Rate it 2 stars
Rate it 2½ stars
Rate it 3 stars
Rate it 3½ stars
Rate it 4 stars
Rate it 4½ stars
Rate it 5 stars
How to Survive a Plague is the story of two coalitions-ACT UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group)-whose activism and innovation turned AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition. Despite having no scientific training, these self-made activists infiltrated the pharmaceutical industry and helped identify promising new drugs, moving them from experimental trials to patients in record time. With unfettered access to a treasure trove of never-before-seen archival footage from the 1980s and '90s, filmmaker David France puts the viewer smack in the middle of the controversial actions,… More

Available Online

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"It can't be long before we see the Hollywood version."
‑ Cath Clarke, Time Out
"From a terrible epidemic comes a beautiful documentary."
‑ Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
"It all adds up to not just a document of the time but a blueprint for today's activists."
‑ David Edwards, Daily Record [UK]
"This inspirational, unexpectedly hilarious film is a patchwork of archival footage that takes us up to the present day."
‑ Charlotte O'Sullivan, This is London
"David France's documentary about the 1980s/90s American gay community and its leading role in discovering "combination therapy" - the anti-HIV magic bullet - will be inspiring among audiences from the G20."
‑ Nigel Andrews, Financial Times
"David France has made an absorbing film to document that moment of immense implosion, called How to Survive a Plague."
‑ Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic
"A raw history, often cluttered and sometimes repetitive but, when strategies fail along with immune systems, deeply affecting."
‑ Rick Groen, Globe and Mail
"A compellingly watchable portrait of a battle fought under that most memorable rallying cry: "Silence = Death". Bravo."
‑ Mark Kermode, Observer [UK]
"Nominated for the Oscar, this documentary is one of the most involving and moving films you'll see all year. At its core this is a movie about how a decent society should behave, even to the point of helping people who hurt themselves."
‑ Rich Cline,
"Well-made and featuring an astonishing amount of on-the-scene archive footage, this is a powerfully emotional and hugely inspirational documentary that demands to be seen."
‑ Matthew Turner, ViewLondon
"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
"Presents a valuable template for how grassroots activism can temper societal prejudice and challenge governmental indifference in the face of a mysterious and remorseless killer."
‑ Bruce Demara, Toronto Star
"I don't doubt that anyone who has had a brush with AIDS, lost a friend or even a hero like Queen's Freddie Mercury, will find what is already a socially curious, medically fascinating and politically charged film an unmissably emotional experience."
‑ Graham Young, Birmingham Mail
"This documentary by David France persuasively argues that one of the greatest grassroots activist campaigns of modern times was the Act Up movement ..."
‑ Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
"This raw and passionate AIDS treatment doc suffers from a simple lack of focus."
‑ Sophie Monks Kaufman, Little White Lies
More reviews for How to Survive a Plague on Rotten Tomatoes