UC Berkeley Library

Documentaries on the 1950's

Endangered Planet, 1959 (People's Century)

Throughout the 20th century the natural world has been assaulted as never before by advancing technology. This film chronicles the rise of the environmental movement which began in the late 1950's when it was first uncovered that unbridled industrial and economic growth can have a devastating impact on the quality of life on earth. 1997. 56 min.

Focus on the Last Hundred Years: The Fifties.

Uses archival photographs, sound recordings, and film footage to explore world events, sports, life-styles, and scientific achievements of various decades. 58 min.

Forbidden Love.

The ten women interviewed in this film paint a portrait of lesbian sexuality and survial during the sexual dark ages of the 1950's and 60's. 85 min.

Ghosts Along the Freeway.

In the 1950's new freeways gave Americans increased mobility but also became instruments of destruction. This film examines the effects the coming of the "super highways" had on two established neighborhoods in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Area. Rondo Avenue was the heart of St. Paul's African-American community, and Lowry Hill once boasted many of Minneapolis' most lavish homes. When the freeway tore through these two communities, the character of these neighborhoods was changed forever. 1991. 10 min.

Great Speeches - The Presidents.

Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan.

Happy Daze. (1953-1960). (The Century: America's Time; 9.)

The post-war baby boom, suburban living and Elvis Presley epitomize the contentment of the Eisenhower years. But these were also years marked by the Korean War, rabid McCarthyism, violent civil rights demonstrations, and a frightening escalation in the Cold War. This program probes the tensions between these crosscurrents in American history. 45 min.

Heavy Petting.

A satirical look at American sexual habits through vintage 1950s film clips and revealing interviews with such artistic heroes as Abbie Hoffman, musicians David Byrne and Laurie Anderson, comedienne Sandra Bernhard, actors Josh Mostel and Spalding Gray and a dozen more. Also featured are screen legends Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Elvis Presley, and Tuesday Weld in their most memorable screen takes in such classic movies as "Rebel without a Cause" and "The Wild One." 1989. 75 min.

Historical Political Commercials.

Shows US political ads from 1952-1980, including ads from the campaigns of Eisenhower, Stevenson, Kennedy, Nixon, Johnson, Goldwater, Humphrey, Wallace, McGovern, Carter, Ford, Reagan, Anderson.

Historical Political Commercials: Negative Ads.

Shows US Negative political ads from 1952-1980, including ads from the campaigns of Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Goldwater, Nixon, Wallace, Humphrey, McGovern, Carter, Ford, Kennedy, Reagan, Hart, Mondale, and from local campaigns.

Hollywood on Trial

Details the hysteria and paranoia of the blacklist era through presentation of key events leading up to the Cold War, actual extensive footage of the Hollywood Ten and the 1947 House Committee on Un-American Activities hearings on Communist infiltration into the movie industry, and present day interviews with formerly blacklisted actors, writers, producers, directors and members of the Un-American Activities Committee.