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William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe

By Michelle Michalos
Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
  • comments (8)

As children, Emily and Sarah Kunstler looked up to their father, William, a successful lawyer widely known for his victories in civil rights and anti-war cases during the 1960′s.  As the sisters grew up, they became aware of his later cases, which included representing some of the most notorious and hated defendants in America.

In William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe, the Kunstler sisters seek to reconcile the controversial public image of their father with their own perception of him by delving into his triumphs and shortcomings, both as a lawyer and a person.

Directed and produced by Emily and Sarah Kunstler, the film will debut on Tuesday, June 22 at 10p.m. on THIRTEEN.  Immediately following the film, Emily and Sarah will respond to questions online in a livechat Q&A at 11:30p.m. ET, where viewers can learn more about the making of the film and what inspired the sisters to work behind the camera.

Access the live chat here:

Watch the official trailer:

Watch the full episode. See more POV.


  • met tak

    Great programs. I do not want to miss this.

  • David S. Levine

    In 1964 or thereabouts William Kunstler was a professor of mine at Pace College. He taught me all I ever needed to know about commercial paper, UCC Article Five.

    Too many years later I ran into him in the Federal courthouse in Brooklyn when he was defending his usual terrorist scum, this time those associated with the assassination of Indria Ghandi. He looked at me at the elevator bank and I said to him, “Business Law Five, Pace College 1964.” He answered, “Yes, I thought I recognized you.”

    He once had a useful life–it ended when he represented the disrupters of the 1964 World’s Fair and it never returned.

  • Think Again

    Folks, when Alan Dershowitz, who effectively believes Israel is immune from the Geneva Conventions and openly advocated legalizing torture in the United States (it’s true–look it up), calls William Kunstler a hypocrite, that’s high praise.

    Ditto to for the banal musings of some empty briefcase from Pace.

  • Hilton M. Weiss

    I have known many lawyers at many levels of reputation and I have surmised from their comments that essentially all lawyers, perhaps like most successful people, find the greatest satisfaction from overcoming the greatest challenges that they can find. They do not chase money, justice or fame…..they live to win. Money is just a method of counting.

  • Andrew

    i really like this documentary. thanks a lot!

  • Maureen

    I so enjoyed the film about Mr. Kunstler. I an not an attorney, but had the good fortune in the 80s to have had lunch with him and hear his theor about terrorists. He was a man of complete belief in what he was doing and I thought it was brilliant how he was able to put the government on trial with a little manipulation.

    He was a brillant attorney who after watching the film and having lived thru the same period, (I grew up in the Bronx) I could relate to every case he defended. Great job.

  • Andy

    Classic documentary. I feel so proud of your father’s multi faceted struggle for justice criss crossing boundries . Felt his loss at the epilogue but with inner strength, knowing that there are still noble beings out there who are inspired to carry on.

  • Robert Kushner

    I thank Thirteen for showing this wonderful film and i thank Emily and Sara for making it