Immigrants from Europe and Scandinavia












For videos on Asian immigrants SEE MRC's Asian American Videography
For videos on Jewish immigrants SEE MRC's Jewish Studies Videography
For videos on Middle Eastern immigrants SEE MRC's Middle Eastern American Videography
For videos on Mexican/Latin American immigrants SEE MRC's Latin American Videography
For movie depictions of immigrants, SEE MRC's Movies, Race, and Ethnicity videography

Amerikanuak: the Basques of the American West
Contemporary interviews and festival activities are combined with archival photographs and maps to present a brief introduction to American Basques and their culture. 1991. 28 min. Video/C 2312

Ave Maria: The Story of the Fisherman's Feast
Held each year in Boston's Italian-American north end, the Feast of the Madonna del Soccoroso (also known as the Fisherman's Feast) is one of the most striking examples of the preservation of Old World cultural traditions. The feast culminates in the "angel ceremony," in which a young girl dressed as an angel "flies" by means of a pulley system three stories over the crowd below. 1986. 24 min. Video/C 8597

The Blinking Madonna & Other Miracles.
Producer/director/writer, Beth Harrington. After recording an Italian-American religious festival in Boston's North End with her camcorder, Beth Harrington's neighbors tell her they see a miracle on the videotape: a statue of the Virgin Mary blinking its eyes. To her amazement, and in spite of her lapsed religious beliefs, she must admit that her life has been transformed by the event. And when the press gets ahold of the story what ensues is an amusing look at what it means to believe and to belong. 1997. 57 min. Video/C 5041

Description of the video from New Day Films catalog

Martin, James. The Blinking Madonna and Other Miracles. (movie reviews) America v176, n21 (June 21, 1997):23.
Garofalo, Denise A. "The Blinking Madonna and Other Miracles." (video recording reviews) Library Journal v122, n9 (May 15, 1997):115 (2 pages).
James, Caryn. "The Blinking Madonna and Other Miracles." (video recording reviews) New York Times v146 (Mon, May 12, 1997):B2(N), C14(L), col 2, 7 col in.

City of the Big Shoulders.(Destination America; 5)
Polish immigrants were the driving force behind Chicago's remarkable industrial growth. But they never achieved political cohesiveness, and while a million Poles now live in Chicago, their political power is not commensurate with the number of votes they cast. Film includes interviews with stockyard and steel mill workers in Chicago and closes with an interview with a guide at the Polish museum. 1992. 52 min. Video/C 2640

A Day on the Bay
Documentary on Italian fishermen immigrants from Riva Trigoso, Italy and their descendants in Santa Cruz, Calif. 1987. 27 min. Video/C 2186

Destination America
Part I. The golden door / written & produced by Stephen Stept -- Part II. The art of departure / written, directed, photographed & produced by David Grubin. -- Part III. The earth is the Lord's / written, directed, photographed & produced by David Grubin. -- Part IV. Breaking free: a woman's journey / written, produced & directed by Chana Gazit. Executive producer, David Grubin ; music, Michael Bacon. Destination America looks at the driving forces that have compelled individuals to immigrate to America -- economic opportunity, religious freedom, artistic expression and freedom from persecution. In particular, focuses on the immigration of women who have come to this country in search of opportunity and basic human rights denied them in their homelands. Dramatic contemporary stories are the centerpiece of each episode along with historic portraits of immigrants who came before. 2005. 220 min. DVD 5049

Ellis Island
Immigrants of every ethnic background recall their extraordinary adventures, historians explore the sometimes insensitive national policies, and the Ellis Island Oral History Project reveals what the immigration experience was actually like. Features rare photographs and film. Narrated by Mandy Patinkin. 1997. 3 videocassettes, 50 min. ea. Video/C 4757

Ellis Island
A film by Meredith Monk. The visual images of this film, basically without dialogue, become a poetic evocation of the immigrants and the ordeals they faced while waiting at Ellis Island to enter the United States at the beginning of the century. 1982. 28 min. Video/C 3397

The Exiles
Personal narratives of refugees from National Socialism are interspersed with historical film clips and reinactments. Examines the influence of these refugee scholars and artists on the U.S. since 1933.

Interviews with Bruno Bettelheim, Billy Wilder, Fritz Lang, Rod Steiger, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Robert Motherwell, Edward Teller, Hans Bethe, Erich Leinsdorf, Hanna Holborn Gray, Lotte Lenya, Dolly Haas, Sabine Thomson, Franco Modigliani, Nuria Schoenberg Nono, Helen Wolff, Wolfgang Roth, James Redfield, Hans Sahl, Hans Jonas, Ralph Lerner, Ernest Dichter, Adolph Lowe, Leo Lowenthal, Hans Speier, Henry Ehrmann, Peter Selz, Mario Salvadori, Golo Mann (son of Thomas Mann), Albert Hirschman, Hajo Holborn, Felicia Deyrup, Christian Zimmer, Hannah Arendt, Walter Gropius, Jacques Lipchitz. 117 min. Video/C 4616

Forgotten Ellis Island: The Extraordinary Story of America's Immigrant Hospital
In the era before antibiotics, tens of thousands of immigrant patients were separated from family, detained in the hospital on Ellis Island, and healed from illness before becoming citizens. Those deemed too feeble of mind or body were deported. 350 babies were born in the hospital but ten times that many immigrants died on Ellis Island and were buried in pauper's graves around New York City. Written & directed by Lorie Conway. 2008. 57 min. DVD X1380

Fuori/outside
A young woman whose father was Italian American and mother was African American reflects on racism in her family and in her community. Written in the form of a letter to her aging white grandmother, she talks about racism against African Americans by New Yorkers from Southern Italy who had experienced racism themselves. 1997. 13 min. Video/C MM243

Far Away: Portuguese in California
A historical and cultural overview of the Portuguese presence in California. Surveys the history of Portuguese immigration to the West Coast of America and examines the important economic, social and cultural contributions of Portuguese immigrants to the dairy industry, whaling, fishing and agriculture. Concludes with a celebration of current day Portuguese customs indicative of their strong adherence to Portuguese traditions. 70 min. Video/C 3756

Five Points.(American Social History Project) ; 6)
Part five in a film series which explores the central role working men and women have played in the key events of American history. This film examines New York City in the 1850s as seen through the conflicting perspectives of a native-born reformer and an immigrant Irish family. 1987. 30 min. DVD X2341; vhs Video/C 5830

German Americans. (Multicultural Peoples of North America; 6)
1993. 30 min. Video/C 3293

Fuori/outside
A young woman whose father was Italian American and mother was African American reflects on racism in her family and in her community. Written in the form of a letter to her aging white grandmother, she talks about racism against African Americans by New Yorkers from Southern Italy who had experienced racism themselves. 1997. 13 min. Video/C MM243

The German Americans: 300 Years in the New Land
An overview of the experience of the German immigrants who have come to America over the past 300 years. Focuses on the stories of three German families since their arrival in America. 1983. 55 min. Video/C 7722

Go West, Young Man.(Destination America; 8)
Around 1850, the vast fertile lands of the Midwest attracted nearly a million farmers from Norway, where land was scare and often unfit to farm. Their life as pioneers was hard, but their descendants have prospered. Film includes an interview with a young woman of Norwegian descent who traces the journey made by her grandparents from lower Wisconsin to upper Minnesota. Includes visits to the community of Stroughton, Wisconsin, to "Little Norway", and to a reunion of people of Norwegian descent. 1992. 52 min. Video/C 2643

God Bless America and Poland Too.
A Polish immigrant, Frank Popiolek, came to the United States in1911 at age 15, one of 2,000,000 Poles who made the journey. He settled himself in Chicago, a laborer and then a barber. Once established in the US, he began to send for other family members so they could earn enough money to return to Poland financially secure. The program features encounters with 94-year old Popiolek as he returns to his old Chicago barbershop and meets past customers and American grandnieces. It is a firsthand impression of America and Poland, revealed through the intimate relationship of immigrants from several generations. Popiolek also accompanies Polish-born filmmaker Marian Marzynski on a trip back to Poland to be received as a symbol of American success, revered for his generosity. 1990. 60 min. Video/C 2343

Hamburger & Dolma: Cross-cultural Identities.
This documentary interrogates issues of memory, diaspora, and self-construction through the commonplace circumstance of a group of friends preparing and eating dinner together. The individual stories of five Armenian American women are interwoven to shape a collective narrative about the intergenerational transmission of trauma, the complexity of identity, and the abiding power of family and friendship. Produced and directed by Caroline Babayan. 2000. 48 min. Video/C MM726

Hello Columbus.
This delightful look at the Italian-American Columbus Day celebration in San Francisco features that inimitable man-on-the-street reporter, Mal Sharpe. He leads the viewer through highlights of the celebration and enlivens the proceedings by posing a variety of offbeat and thorny questions to participants and bystanders alike. 1987. 27 min. Video/C MM847

In Heaven There is No Beer?
A film by Les Blank. Shows Polish-American polka musicians and polka dancers performing at festivals, dance halls, and small beer halls in the eastern and midwestern parts of the United States. Features the music of Eddie Blazoncyck and the Versatones, the Dick Pillar Orchestra, Renata and Girls, Girls, Girls, and the Mrozinski Brothers. 51 min. DVD 4970; vhs Video/C 2111

Requires Real Player

Irish in America: The Long Journey Home
1997. 80 min. each installment

The Great Hunger. The first of a four part series packed with personal remembrances and rare archival footage of the Irish immigration to America. In the 19th century the Irish peasants were among the poorest people in the Christian world. From America ships carried a fungus to their shores which began the "potato famine" triggering one of the greatest migrations in human history. Video/C 5302

All Across America. The second of a four part series packed with personal remembrances and rare archival footage of the Irish immigration to America. At the start the Irish who survived the famine found poverty, disease, religious bigotry and political oppression in America. But they stuck together, built their own churches and communities and by the later 19th century Irish-American heroes had begun to emerge. Prospector John Mackay discovered silver and gold, Marcus Daly opened his Anaconda Copper Mine and John L. Sullivan made himself a legend by facing challenger Jake Kilrain in an amazing 75-round boxing match. Video/C 5303

Up From City Streets. The third of a four part series packed with personal remembrances and rare archival footage of the Irish immigration to America. Eventually the Irish immigrants rose to run America's great cities from the sewers to the skyline. They left their mark everywhere: in theater, sports, music, crime, labor, Wall Street, Hollywood and one Irish boy, Al Smith, made a bid for the American presidency. Video/C 5304

Success. The last of a four part series packed with personal remembrances and rare archival footage of the Irish immigration to America. This final segment chronicles the history of two very different Irish-American families who both reached international celebrity in the 1930s. The Kennedys were considered America's royalty, especially when patriarch Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., was appointed ambassador to England and his son, John F. Kennedy became the first Irish-Catholic president of the United States. In contrast to the Kennedy's basking in their assimilation as Americans, the playwright, Eugene O'Neill, was fiercely Irish and kept his family roots exposed in most of his classic plays preferring to relive his family's bitter struggle to remain Irish in America. Video/C 5305

Goodman, Walter. "The Irish in America: Long Journey Home." (television program reviews) New York Times v147 (Mon, Jan 26, 1998):B1(N), E1(L), col 4, 13 col in.
Leonard, John. "The Irish in America: Long Journey Home." (television program reviews) New York v31, n3 (Jan 26, 1998):50 (2 pages).
Phillips, Barbara D. "The Irish in America: Long Journey Home." (television program reviews) Wall Street Journal (Mon, Jan 26, 1998):A16(W), A16(E), col 1, 21 col in.
Scott, Tony. "The Irish in America: Long Journey Home." (television program reviews) Variety v369, n11 (Jan 26, 1998):37.

Irish Americans (Multicultural Peoples of North America; 9)
Celebrates the heritage of Irish Americans by tracing the history of their emigration to North America, showing the unique traditions they brought with them, and who they are today. Discusses when and why they emigrated, where they settled, which occupations they engaged in and who the important Irish American leaders are in North America today. Includes an inside look at the life of a family who share their memories and struggles to maintain their cultural identity. 1993. 30 min. Video/C 3295

Italian Americans(Multicultural Peoples of North America; 9)
Celebrates the heritage of Italian Americans by tracing the history of their emigration to North America, showing the unique traditions they brought with them, and who they are today. Discusses when and why they emigrated, where they settled, which occupations they engaged in and who the important Italian American leaders are in North America today. Includes an inside look at the life of a family who share their memories and struggles to maintain their cultural identity. 1993. 30 min. Video/C 3296

Italian American Internment: A Secret Story
During World War II Italian Americans were arrested and imprisoned on the basis of their Italian ancestry, suffering many indignities in their adopted country. This documentary investigates their little known story. Originally broadcast as a segment on the television series "History's Mysteries". 2000. 50 min. Video/C MM496

Italianamericans
Italianamerican shows film director Martin Scorsese sitting down for dinner with his parents in their Little Italy apartment. Film profiles the experiences of Italian-American immigrants through the eyes and lives of his parents. Includes informal footage of the family reminiscing about the Scorsese family in Sicily and New York, and treasured family snapshots. 49 min. DVD 8678; vhs Video/C 4629

The Italians in America.
Documents how Italian immigrants settled in America around the turn of the century, and their struggle with discrimination. An edited version of the documentary "Little Italy," the film focuses on Italian culture, customs and traditions in the early 20th century. 1997. 31 min. Video/C MM838

The Italians in America.
Narrator: Joe Campanella. Commentary: Chazz Palminteri, Jerry Della Femina, Father Primo, Rudolph W. Giuliani, Paola A. Sensi Isolani,Philip V. Cannistraro, Gay Talese, Anthony Arricale, Joseph V. Scelsa, Geraldine Ferraro, Ben Morreale, Joseph Maselli.

Vol. 1: The Journey. In the late 19th century, the trickle of Italian immigrants to America turned into a flood. The newly united Italy left poor Italian peasants to take care of themselves so they immigrated to America in search of a better life. Yet assimilation proved painful, and Italian-Americans often struggled against the same oppression from which they had fled. The newcomers clustered in urban ghettos, creating "Little Italys" from New York to San Francisco. 48 min. Video/C 6232
Vol. 2: Home. While struggling with the harsh realities of life in America, Italian-American immigrant families sought solace in "la famiglia." Enriched by their culture they made their way towards acceptance. The descendants of ditch diggers, seamstresses and factory workers became leaders in business, politics, science and entertainment. The film also profiles the Italian Mafia in America and the stigma its activities caused in tainting public opinion against all Italian Americans. 48 min. Video/C 6233

Journey to America (The American Experience)
A tribute to over 12 million men, women and children who made the torturous journey from the old world to the new between 1890-1920. 1989. 58 min. Video/C 2141

Little Italy
Documents how Italian immigrants settled in America around the turn of the century, and their struggle with discrimination. Focuses on Italian culture, customs and traditions. 1996? 57 min. Video/C 4632

Lost, Lost, Lost
A film by Jonas Mekas. Filmed between 1949 and 1963, these 6 reels of film diary by experimental filmaker, Jonas Mekas, begin with his arrival in New York from Lithuania and move on to deal with his life as a young poet and displaced person in Brooklyn. It shows the Lithuanian immigrant community and their attempts to adapt to a new land. Reel 3 and 4 deal with his first contacts with New York poetry and filmmaking communities including friendships with Robert Frank, LeRoi Jones, Allen Ginsberg, and Frank O'Hara. Reels 5 and 6 include a series of haikus filmed in Vermont, scenes at the Film-Maker's Cooperative, scenes of New York City, a trip to Flaherty Seminar, and countryside scenes. 178 min. Video/C 3979

Made in Britain.(Destination America; 3)
The British had it the easiest of all. As long ago as the settlement in Jamestown, they came not to escape poverty but to find prosperity. As a group, they found it the easiest to reap the material rewards of an expanding America. Film traces copper and tin miners from Cornwall to Wisconsin, Michigan, Colorado, and California, textile mill workers to Massachusetts and the Welsh to Pennsylvania. 1992. 52 min. Video/C 2638

The Mission.(Neighborhoods: The Hidden Cities of San Francisco)
Tells the story of San Francisco's Mission District from the time of the Ohlone Indians, through the Gold Rush, the close-knit Irish community of the twenties, the Latin identity of the neighborhood in the sixties, to the mosaic of the contemporary Mission, from its hidden community of day laborers to the vibrant New Bohemia to the roucous sounds of carnaval. 1994. 60 min. Video/C 4357

The Moveable Feast
Every August in Boston's North End, a group of Italian-Americans celebrate the Feast of the Madonna del Soccoroso, also known as the Fisherman's Feast. This is a tradition originating in Sicily and practiced for over 80 years in the United States. This documentary is about a group of descendants who went to Sciacca, Sicily to experience the feast.1992. 29 min. Video/C 8598

My Town (Mio Paese)
Shows immigrants from Palermiti, Italy, in their Massachusettes communities ; shows the enduring links of customs between the two groups of Palermitesi ; shows the patron saint's feast day of La Festa della Madonna della Luce (The Feast of the Madonna of Light). Written, produced and directed by Katherine Gulla. 1992. 26 min. Video/C 8598

View this video online (via folkstreams.net)

Neither Here Nor There
The personal journey of the aftermath of the Bosnian War with interwoven stories of the Selimovic family from Srebrenica who resettled in Columbia, Missouri after the fall of the former UN "safe area" that resulted in genocide. Ten years later, the family re-visits the July 1995 massacre of more than 8,000 Bosnians, considered the worst single act of genocide in Europe since the end of the Second World War ... Traces the complexities of starting over in a new place when ties to the past remain unbreakable. Directed and edited by Kerry Yost, Beth Pike, Stephen Hudnell, Elizabeth Federici. Dist.: The Video Project. 2009. 58 min.DVD X7218

New York, A Documentary Film. Episode Four, The Power and the People.
Covers the years from 1898 through 1918 showing how New York's industry drew in people from all over the world, and how these immigrants transformed the city physically, culturally and finally politically. Looks also at the construction of the subway system, Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal and the skyscrapers on Wall Street. The episode ends with the tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and the reform legislation passed in its aftermath. Directed by Ric Burns. 1999. 120 min.DVD 3767; also VHS Video/C 6653

New York: The World's City.
To describe New York City's cultural makeup, the best metaphor is a salad bowl rather than a melting pot. This program follows the Queens #7 subway line through a dazzling array of ethnic communities, each with its own distinct texture and flavor, illustrating demographic changes the city has undergone since the early 1990s. Less inclined to learn English and join mainstream society than previous immigrant generations, recently arrived New Yorkers are nevertheless part of a long-established pattern--which former Senator Bill Bradley (D-NJ) praises, while New York State Senator Frank Padavan discusses fears that some conservative citizens harbor. 2005. 26 min. DVD 4301

No Irish Need Apply.
Quinn, an author of Irish historical fiction examines through the use of historical film footage, the harsh realities faced by Irish immigrants to New York City in the mid-1800's. He comments upon their experiences at the processing center Castle Garden, their social and labor conditions, their role in the development of theater, and their eventual rebellion in the Draft Riot of 1863 which led to the first legislation to protect immigrants from exploitation. He also examines the relationships between Afro-Americans and the Irish as they struggled to fill the same economic niche. Based on the novel Banished Children of Eve by Peter Quinn (Main Stack PS3567.U3486.B36 1994) 1993. 28 min. Video/C 4719

Old World, New World.(Destination America; 1)
This program tells the story of 35 million Europeans who left their troubled homelands for the promise of freedom and opportunity, and the hardships of the transatlantic voyage they endured to reach America. Includes interview with an immigration inspector at Ellis Island who was himself a European immigrant. Formal narrative and historical film are alternated with interviews and color footage of present-day descendants of the groups studied. 1992. 52 min. Video/C 2636

On a Clear Day You Could See Boston.(Destination America; 2)
The city of Boston became the great focal point for those fleeing the Irish Famine of the 1850s. They worked incredibly hard to establish themselves, and became the first immigrant group in post-Colonial times to achieve a political foothold. Film opens with footage of President John F. Kennedy's visit to Ireland. 1992. 52 min. Video/C 2637

Out of Ireland: The Story of Irish Emigration to America.
Examines the history of the seven million Irish who emigrated to America in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries including the causes of the exodus and the immigrant experience in the United States. Uses photographs, archival footage, manuscript material and interviews with Irish immigrants to describe their experiences and the profound influence they have had on American culture. Based on the book by Kerby Miller and Paul Wagner. Directed by Paul Wagner. 1997. 111 min. DVD X1712; vhs Video/C 3881

A Place in the Sun.(Destination America; 6)
In 20 years, four milliion Italians entered the United States. While all immigrant groups were disdained by those who had come even a generation before, Italians suffered especially. Many became poorly-paid laborers, but many others made good. Film includes interviews with an inhabitant of San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf, an English professor in the state of Washington and the owner of a Las Vegas establishment who discusses the characteristics and prejudices which link the Italian sterotype with organized crime. 1992. 52 min. Video/C 2641

Poletown Lives!
Documentary that tells, from the residents' point of view, the story of Poletown, an inner-city Detroit neighborhood that was destroyed in 1981 when the city used its power of eminent domain to turn the land over to General Motors for construction of a Cadillac plant. Shows the changes in attitudes as the people realized that the institutions they trusted -- the courts, the United Auto Workers, the church, the City Council, and the media --were not going to help them. Produced and directed by George Corsetti.1982. 52 min. DVD 4855 (preservation copy); Video/C 5460

Polish Americans.(Multicultural Peoples of North America; 6)
1993. 30 min. Video/C 3301

The Power and the People. (from the series New York, A Documentary Film)
Covers the years from 1898 through 1918 showing how New York's industry drew in people from all over the world, and how these immigrants transformed the city physically, culturally and finally politically. Looks also at the construction of the subway system, Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal and the skyscrapers on Wall Street. The episode ends with the tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and the reform legislation passed in its aftermath. A film by by Ric Burns. 1999. 120 min. DVD 3767; also VHS Video/C 6653

Price of Sex
This inquiry into a dark side of immigration reveals the experiences of Eastern European women forced into prostitution abroad. Mimi Chakarova traveled from post-communist Eastern Europe to Turkey, Greece, and Dubai to uncover the harrowing personal accounts of women trafficked into modern-day sexual slavery. Directed, produced and written by Mimi Chakarova. c2011. 73 min. DVD X6375

Description from Women Make Movies catalog

Prisoners Among Us: Italian-American Identity & World War II
Chronicles the experiences of Italian-Americans and Italian prisoners of war during World War II, and their into American culture. Includes historical photographs, archival footage, literature, music, poetry, and personal interviews. 2003. 110 min. DVD 2810

Road Scholar.
Satirical poet, Andrei Codrescu takes a six week, 4,500 mile odyssey across America in a cherry-red '68 Cadillac convertible. From the Statue of Liberty to the Golden Gate he makes impromptu detours along the way in search of a nation's heart and soul, meeting an unforgettable assortment of Americans from across the country. Andrei's odyssey is a delightful, ironic and vividly drawn portrait of America in all of its confounding diversity. 1992. 82 min. Video/C 4329

The Spirit Travels: Immigrant Music in America
Surveys the musical contributions made by a variety of immigrant groups to the American culture. Celebrates how the gifts of native music, traditions and cultural expressions have enriched the cultural diversity of American music. 1992. 55 min. Video/C 2551

Where Have All the Germans Gone?(Destination America; 4)
More than 10% of Americans have German blood in their veins. Their ancestors came as religious and political refugees, but their dream of building a German society within America was largely shattered by two world wars. 1992. 52 min. Video/C 2639

Ziveli: Medicine for the Heart.
A film by Les Blank. A look at the culture and music of the Serbian American communities of Chicago and California, focusing on the cultural strengths of these immigrants who helped form the backbone of industrial America. 51 min. DVD 4967; vhs Video/C 3554

(Requires Real Player)

Forry, Mark E. "Ziveli: Medicine for the Heart." (movie reviews) Ethnomusicology v33, n2 (Spring-Summer, 1989):365 (3 pages).
Patterson, G. James. "Ziveli: Medicine for the Heart." (movie reviews) American Anthropologist v90, n2 (June, 1988):485 (2 pages).

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