Watch The Laramie Project Film (Video)

Back in 1998, 22-year-old student Matthew Shepard was tortured and murdered for being gay in Laramie, Wyoming.

The murder, much like the recent coverage of individual suicides, was not the first hate crime in America, but it was a catalyst, a symbol, and forced America’s attention to its ugly side. Eleven years later, the United States Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (Byrd was a black man murdered in Jasper, Texas, also in 1998, by being dragged behind a pick-up truck).

Matthew’s parents co-founded the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which gives scholarships and advocates for LGBT rights.

Shepard’s murder and the reaction to it is documented in The Laramie Project, a play by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project. It draws on hundreds of interviews conducted by the theatre company with inhabitants of the town, company members’ own journal entries, and published news reports.

The play has itself become a lighting rod, with a number of famous actors performing it and many of the performances have been picketed by representatives of Fred Phelps, who are portrayed in the play picketing Matthew Shepard’s funeral as they did in real life. The text is used in schools throughout the world as a teaching aid against prejudice.

This is a film version of the play. It follows and in some cases re-enacts the chronology of Shepard’s visit to a local bar, his kidnap and beating, the discovery of him tied to a fence, the vigil at the hospital, his death and funeral, and the trial of his killers. It mixes real news reports with actors portraying friends, family, cops, killers, and other Laramie residents in their own words. It concludes with a Laramie staging of “Angels in America” a year after Shephard’s death.

The whole film has now been made available to view:

Related stories:

Matthew Shepard’s Father Takes On Don’t Say Gay Bill

The Swift Legacy of Chile’s Matthew Shepard (Video)

The Matthew Shepard Act Passes House Vote!

Image source Tectonic Theater Project


Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin5 years ago

I have just finished watching the movie. It took almost 3 hours due to a very slow PC, but it was still very much worth the time. I remember clearly both cases; Matthew Shepard and James Byrne, and I was horrified that some people can hate that much. But it instills hope that not all people are that hateful and instead tries to teach love through this movie.
The same day Matthew Shepard died, but a year later, a Swedish union activist where brutally murdered by nazis. That was also considered a hate crime, because of the circumstances. Unlike United States, those murderers are now enjoying life outside the prison walls and are moving on with their lifes. They have no regrets of what they did and still believes in the nazi rhetoric and actions.
Let us never forget Mathhew Shepard, James Byrne and Björn Söderberg and everyone else that's been a victim of hate crimes all over the world!

Perri Lomberg
Perri L5 years ago

A group of incredibly talented students at my high school performed it earlier in the year (in quite a conservative town, none the less). I believe it should be a coming of age and EVERY teenage student, or otherwise should be required to view it.

Leanne Berghuis
Leanne Berghuis5 years ago

It is heartbreaking and incomprehensible to me that human beings are capable of this blind hatred and brutality. It goes without saying that the perpetrators of this crime are deeply disturbed individuals most likely sociopaths.

Religious right organisations and extreme conservative views encourage, condone and applaud hate towards minorities.

The leaders of these organisations seek power and control. To achieve this they manipulate the weak minded, the gullible, the ill-informed, less educated people. All achieved easily by waving the bible at them. With lack of emotional intelligence and individual thought they blindly follow like sheep.

These groups seem to be the same groups that are first to declare war on everything! They resist progressive ideas and change. These people don't believe that global warming exists!

It is as though a section of the human race has evolved and left these people behind.
Catch up seems to be taking a long time and at what price for humanity?

Don Schneider

The blind rage and hatred demonstrated by the perpetrators of these hideous acts remains with us still because of the perverse effects of the misogynistic hate and ignorance driven Theocracy we struggle under still !

Carole Cherne
Carole Cherne5 years ago

Hatred cost Matthew and James their lives, but their legacy will live on and on. In the end, love will always win.

John B.
John B5 years ago

Thanks for the fix Paul. The film is even better than the play in my opinion.

Paul canning
Paul canning5 years ago


Paul canning
Paul canning5 years ago

I'm sorry about that. They had made the movie available but it has now changed and I will get it replaced here - please come back to watch as it is a wonderful film!

Gloria H.
Gloria H5 years ago

yeah, the hatred is out in the open, and catching on like a grass fire. However, after the Hell fire, small wildflowers begin to show up. This is the civil rights cause of this century.
Seeds have been planted.

Christian Blackburn

I also can't watch the video, because it's marked private. I would like my girlfriend's son to watch it. He's not homophobic or racist, but I think a little exposure to blind hate, ignorance, and outright stupidity will be good preparation for adulthood.