Tag Archives: leadership

The Last Castle (2001)

 A renowned military tactician and highly decorated officer General Irwin (Robert Redford) is court martialed and sent to a top-security military prison. The warden of the prison Colonel Winter (James Gandolfini) is a big admirer of General Irwin, but the relationship between the two soon turns frosty and then ugly as General Irwin publicly disagrees with the Irwin’s management style. The confrontation between the legendary general and the iron-fisted warden soon becomes a full-fledged war and the only outcome the general and the prison inmates are willing to accept is a change in the prison management. In the end, Irwin loses his life, but Winter is removed from his position and imprisoned.

The Last Castle (2001) is a story about leadership. The military has historically provided great examples of effective leadership around countries worldiwde. Many of America’s great leaders (e.g. Washington, Eisenhower) have come from the military. The same is true for many other countries of the world (e.g. Kemal Pasha Ataturk in Turkey). But there is no one leadership style that all military leaders have. There is General George Patton and there is General Dweight Eisenhower. The movie does an effective job of showing two distinctive leadership styles and how both men-Irwin and Winter- thought what they were doing was right. Their leadership had tremendous consequences for the people who followed them, and that is what makes it difficult for a leader to understand what to do in any situation.

A good movie for a leadership class!

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Iron-Jawed Angels

 “Where all men are created equal“- In the early 1900s, more than a hundred years after these words became the foundation of the United States of America, women in the country continued to be less equal than me. Iron Jawed Angels (2004) is the story of two women (Alice Paul played by Hillary Swank and Lucy Burns played by Frances O’Connor) who led the struggle for the passage of the 19th amendment to the constitution which gave women the right to vote. The name ‘iron jawed angels’ was the nickname given to some of these women when they resisted being force-fed after they went on a hunger strike to protest against being imprisoned for demanding equal voting rights (‘political prisoners’) for men and women. Their hunger strike made headline news and ultimately forced President Woodrow Wilson to accept their demand to give women the right to vote.

This movie is about organizational leadership and institutional entrepreneurship. It effectively depicts how the leaders of the women’s suffrage movement saw different opportunities and threats in the environment (“Is the first world war a good time to demand that women be given the right to vote?”) and how political intrigue is inevitable in any organization, no matter how noble the cause (women’s suffrage!). I don’t come across many movies about strong and effective women leaders. This is a great movie about different women in leadership roles, and how each women defined her role in her own unique way!