Democracy on Film: The American Laborer

Module 2 of Democracy on Film is called The American Laborer. American identity is highly bound up with the idea of labor, and this selection of films is a great introduction.

Module 2: The American Laborer

Introductory Lesson: The Common Good

Chapter 1: “Black Fury” (1935, d. Michael Curtiz) — Not in the collection…YET!!
Chapter 2: “Harlan County U.S.A.” (1976, d. Barbara Kopple) — DVD 2032
Chapter 3: “At the River I Stand” (1993, d. David Appleby, Allison Graham and Steven Ross) —  Streaming Video
Chapter 4: “Salt of the Earth” (1954, d. Herbert J. Biberman) — HU DVD 5560
Chapter 5: “Norma Rae” (1979, d. Martin Ritt) — HU DVD 440

I’m kind of surprised that On The Waterfront (HU DVD 7750) didn’t make this list. But, for further study, we recommend Matewan (DVD 1651), a film about the Battle of Matewan. We also recommend Native Land (DVD 10448), a 1942 documentary film about labor organizing featuring Paul Robeson. Unfortunately, it looks like we don’t have a filmed version of the Lynn Nottage play Sweat (PS3564.O795 S94 2017) which won the Pulitzer for Drama. But we do have, for a portrait of the alienation of the American laboror in today’s workforce, the truly classic Office Space (DVD 2344).

You can now find the full list of Democracy on Film in our LibGuide. Check back for additional recommendations.

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