Films on Constitution

Unconstitutional
The War on Our Civil Liberties

Documentary 2004 NR 66 minutes. Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Congress passed a series of legislations known as The Patriot Act, which is designed to assist law enforcement in preventing future terrorist attacks. Take an inside look at this controversial bill through the eyes of legal analysts and constitutional experts as they examine the possible dangers The Patriot Act poses to our civil liberties and individual freedoms. See Full Review

United States of Secrets

Documentary Frontline 2014 TV-PG 2 Episodes. “Frontline” investigates the secret history of the unprecedented surveillance program that began in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and continues today. Right after we were attacked by terrorists in 2001, these men in the government stole our civil liberties. The film’s focus is on the National Security Agency (NSA), and its surveillance programs that came to light with the Snowden Leaks.         See Full Review

The Rosa Parks Story

Docudrama 2002 NR 90 minutes.  Angela Bassett stars in the story that sparked the birth of the modern civil rights movement in the late 1950s. Parks took the only available seat in the first row of the “colored” section on a city bus. But when a white woman boarded and the driver demanded that the black riders in her row move, everyone complied except Parks. This singular event threw Parks and her family into the Ku Klux Klan’s ring of hatred — and into the NAACP’s limelight. Parks was tried on charges of disorderly conduct and violating a local ordinance. After being found guilty and fined $10, plus $4 in court costs, Parks appealed her conviction and formally challenged the legality of racial segregation. In 1955, the Montgomery Bus Boycott began and black residents of Montgomery continued the boycott for 381 days, until the city repealed its law requiring segregation on public buses following the US Supreme Court ruling in Browder v. Gayle that it was unconstitutional.

Separate But Equal

Docudrama 1991 PG 193 minutes. Sidney Poitier stars as the dazzling legal mind Thurgood Marshall in this drama that follows the strong-willed attorney as he battles to desegregate schools, taking on John W. Davis (Burt Lancaster) in the courtroom case Brown vs. Board of Education . This made-for-TV movie, which garnered seven Emmy nominations, traces the struggle behind the NAACP’s pre-Supreme Court fight that changed the face of education.

The Loving Story
(Long Way Home: The Loving Story)

Documentary 2011 NR 1hr 17M. This documentary profiles Mildred and Richard Loving, who were arrested in 1958 for breaking Virginia’s laws against interracial marriage. This couple fought for what they believed in and as a result a change spread across the nation. Her spirit was so intelligent and motherly and calm. His demeanor was so tough and honest and protective. This story is simply beautiful. A captivating look at the lives of the couple who reluctantly and inadvertently caused the eventual setting aside of the blatant racist laws in 16 states against interracial marriage. The last miscegenation laws was repealed in 2000 in Alabama. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Loving. I would have been proud to be their neighbor, proud have known them. This is a real love story, one man and one woman set the example for the rest to follow. I guess they’re true American heroes we never got to hear about. Amazing story. I do not think I have ever seen a better documentary, one that has better caught and held my interest.  See Full Review

A/k/a Tommy Chong

Documentary 2006 NR 80 mins.  In 2003 the U.S. government used entrapment and allocated an astounding $12 million to apprehend Tommy Chong — better known as half of the classic comedy team Cheech and Chong — for selling bong-like glass pipes over the Internet.  Filmmaker Josh Gilbert chronicles the sting that came to be known as “Operation Pipe Dream” in this fascinating documentary featuring interviews with Richard “Cheech” Marin, Jay Leno, and Bill Maher.   I really did not know that Tommy Chong was locked up for selling glass pipes on the internet!  It’s not that the Chongs were faultless, it’s just that government really, really wanted to use them as an example.  The federal government prosecuted this case with a clear intent to ‘send a message’.  Tommy Chong is an affable, easy-going guy in this documentary about the events leading up to his incarceration and his attitude afterward.  So this is the story about how the federal government used YOUR tax dollars, $12,000,000, to send Tommy to a plush federal prison for six months — for selling for selling glass pipe bongs on line?  And it was basically his son doing most of the promoting and just using Tommy’s famous name to sell the product.  Who came out the losers? — the U.S. taxpayers. Every taxpayer should see this movie.  Tommy came out of prison more popular than ever.  It also does a decent job of attacking the idiot former AG Ashcroft and their “war” on drugs — they didn’t even need Michael Moore to make the Feds look dumb.   Just when you thought our government couldn’t get any sillier, they do.  This is a must-see movie unless you are so against other people using pot that you miss the point.  I don’t use it, but I cannot see the point in locking up people who advocate its use and sell glass pipes!  Very interesting view of government misuse of power regarding the first amendment, prosecuting Chong for saying things that ‘could corrupt youngsters’ by encouraging them to smoke marijuana.  We are truly living in a post-constitutional era. The constitution and the Bill of Rights have been systematically compromised and are no longer able to protect our individual rights and freedoms from those who have corrupted our system.  Perhaps this will be a wake up call to those who don’t think it can happen to them.  Even if you aren’t a pot-head now, nor ever have been, this movie has fascinating points to make.

Iron Jawed Angels

Docudrama 2004 NR 124 minutes. From 1912 to 1920, a group of fiery young suffragettes led by Alice Paul (Hilary Swank) and Lucy Burns (Frances O’Connor) band together to wheedle the United States into adapting a Constitutional amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote. Along the way, they incur the wrath of President Woodrow Wilson (Bob Gunton) and anger other suffragette leaders (Anjelica Huston and Lois Smith).

Children of Internment

Documentary 2014 86 min. Thousands of German families were interned by the United States during World War 2. (It is a common misperception that only Japanese-Americans were interned during WW2.) This wartime internment of German-Americans remains generally unknown to most Americans — and largely overlooked by historians. Nearly 11,000 German “aliens” were interned and tens of thousands more suffered illegal searches and seizures, relocation, harassment, interrogation, family separation, deportation and repatriation to Germany. All immigrants to the USA are labelled “aliens” until they learn English and pass tests to become US “citizens”. Many immigrants after the end of World War One took the steps to become US “citizens”, but many others remained technically classified as “aliens”, perhaps too busy trying to earn a living to learn English and pass the citizenship tests. So this group of new Americans were technically still citizens of Germany, and these “aliens” unprotected by the US Constitution could be interned for no good reason.  See Full Review

Just the Facts:
United States Constitution

Documentary 2004 NR 90 minutes. Through spectacular pictures and fascinating interviews with experts, learn the history and significance of the United States Constitution, the masterfully written, framework-creating document for the country’s system of government. This entertaining educational program, designed for junior high and high school students, makes learning about the country’s history — and forefathers — lots of fun.

The United States Constitution

Documentary 2007 75 min. While the United States Constitution is often referenced and quoted, many Americans have never read the document in its entirety. This is a unique way to view all of the rights and freedoms our Forefathers established for every citizen of this great country.

A DVD History of the U.S. Constitution

Documentary series 2005 224 min. This 8-part series explores how The Constitution came to be; why it has protected Americans from abuse of power and, tyranny; and how the principles set forth so long ago have empowered Americans to a spire to greatness, excelling in the arts, the sciences and technology.

1776

Musical 1972 PG 166 minutes. Peter Stone’s Pultizer Prize-winning musical (starring much of the original Broadway cast) about the internecine congressional squabbling that led to the signing of the Declaration of Independence makes a glorious transition to the big screen. William Daniels is John Adams, Ken Howard is a statuesque Thomas Jefferson, and Howard Da Silva is hilarious as wit-cracker Ben Franklin. A very funny — and poignant — history lesson with a great score.

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