JOIN OR DIE is a film about why you should join a club — and why the fate of America depends on it. In this feature documentary, follow the half-century story of America's civic unraveling through the journey of legendary social scientist Robert Putnam, whose groundbreaking "Bowling Alone" research into America's decades-long decline in community connections could hold the answers to our democracy's present crisis. Flanked by influential fans and scholars — from Hillary Clinton, Pete Buttigieg, and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy to Eddie Glaude Jr., Raj Chetty, and Priya Parker — as well as inspiring groups building community in neighborhoods across the country, join Bob as he explores three urgent civic questions: What makes democracy work? Why is American democracy in crisis? And, most importantly... What can we do about it?

CLICK HERE to watch an in-depth conversation with directors Rebecca Davis and Pete Davis, moderated by scholar Halena Kapuni-Reynolds, presented by Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities.


CLICK HERE to read a companion essay for this film written by scholar Halena Kapuni-Reynolds.


Film sponsored by:

Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities



Rebecca Davis, Pete Davis


Rebecca Davis, Pete Davis


Robert Putnam, Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Senator Mike Lee, Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Raj Chetty, Priya Parker, Jane McAlevey, Glenn Loury, Hahrie Han, David Brooks


Ronan Killeen, Allie Humenuk, Alyssa Brocato, E.J. Enríquez, Erik Ljung, Keith Walker, Nathan Golon, Umit Gulsen, Alvin Mcbean, Christoph Gelfand, Edward Martinez, Jenna Rosher, Kyle I. Kelley, Stefan Wiesen