Films on Health Care


Sick Around the World

Documentary Frontline 2008 NR 60 minutes. With the U.S. health care system needing urgent care, “Frontline” looks to other leading capitalist democracies to see how their health care systems operate and whether those systems might be a model for much-needed reform at home. But are Americans willing to accept taxation or socialized medicine? Will U.S. insurance providers undermine change? Correspondent T.R. Reid examines systems in the U.K., Japan, Switzerland, Germany and Taiwan. Four in five Americans say the U.S. health-care system needs “fundamental” change. Can the U.S. learn anything from the rest of the world about how to run a health-care system, or are these nations so culturally different from us that their solutions would simply not be acceptable to Americans? Frontline correspondent T.R. Reid examines first-hand the health-care systems of other advanced capitalist democracies — UK, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, and Taiwan — to see what tried and tested ideas might help us reform our broken health-care system. See Full Review

Escape Fire:
The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare

Documentary 2012 PG-13 99 minutes. This starkly outlines the crises the United States faces in its quest to provide affordable medical care to the nation’s citizens. Bad title, but a wonderful film! The title Escape Fire refers to a simple way to save your life in a forest fire, using that as a metaphor for saving yourself from the out-of-control health care system. In response to these problems, the filmmakers propose lower-cost alternatives to high-tech medicine. This film does not pretend to offer complete solutions, but it does highlight that WE are in control of much of our personal health by the choices we make. I have been a practicing physician for 50 years and can testify to the accuracy of this film. It describes the true status of medical care in the U.S.and many of the reasons for it. The Jan 2013 report from the National Academies showed the life expectancy in the U.S. for males is 75 years, which is last in a group of 17 peer countries. Individual physicians have tried and are powerless to make significant improvements — we our overwhelmed by the power of Big Business, and right now the big players in health care, like pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies, have a stranglehold on the system. Unless and until that changes, nothing else will change much. Realize just how daunting it is to try and change the health care system. Basically, all the entities that make tons of money from the system are not really interested in seeing anything changed.  If you are or will ever be a patient, this film gives an excellent view of what we face as patients and what WE can and need to do to safeguard our own health. It is a call to action. There are no cure-all theories, diets or life-styles offered. And NO, you will not live forever by making wiser choices, but you certainly will have a better quality of life. And isn’t that worth it? A 100 minutes well spent. Eye-opening,  It is a MUST-SEE for everyone, and a documentary that will be hard to forget.

Web Junkie

Documentary 2013 NR 1hr 15m.  Spotlighting a troubling social trend in modern China, this documentary visits one of 400 rehab centers focused on treating the symptoms of Internet addiction.  Well, you have to give China credit for facing the problem of Web addiction head-on. I am sure this problem is pervasive in many countries but they just turn a blind eye to it. Web addiction is a mental disorder, as seen here, and somewhat similar to drug addiction. Rehab may be the only hope for many of these young people and will surely grow as everything is so net-based these days.  Having seen people close to me spend 10+ hours a day online gaming I can tell you the addiction is very real. Online gaming satisfies every need for a social recluse (interaction without having to be face to face, reward systems, stunning virtual worlds). These kids are in a military institution, so it may seems harsh and archaic at times, but there is no abuse that goes on and the parents get counseling along with the kids to understand the addiction.  As you watch you can see how quite sincere and genuine the whole process is. It was actually pretty amazing seeing the teens, parents, and workers there have thought provoking meetups and therapy sessions.  You might deem it as another negative aspect of China, especially how militaristic it seems. But honestly I thought there was something quite remarkable about it. Weirdly, I wish my parents did the same for me as a teen. It really did become an obsession for me too for various reasons. Another strange bit is that I trust the workers there more than I would here in the US. Seems like everyone there does actually care a lot. Deeply thought-provoking in comparison to “Tough Love” camps in America which parents pay $30,000 or more to have their kids beat down mentally.  Or when parents sent uncontrollable kids to military schools.  So I was expecting to see the same. But they are very caring and actually want the parents to also live there & attend the same classes their kids do — innovative therapy. Interesting documentary and unbiased in its view.  Deeply thought provoking movie, especially for those who suffer internet addiction themselves. Definitely worth watching. (See also:  Serving Life and Alive Inside — two vastly different but wonderful social justice documentaries.)

Can We Live Forever?

Documentary Nova scienceNOW 2011 NR 60 mins.  Consulting computer scientists and bioengineers, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson investigates the possibility of extending human life indefinitely and if the principles that keep a Volvo running could be applied to our own biology.  It introduces several possible methods of extending human life.  Discusses 1) gene FOXO and its role in longevity, 2) an attempt to create real avatars and  3) science’s advancements in using cells from your own body to generate a new organ.  This segment on growing human body parts is excellent.  They all got me pumped for the future.

Obama’s Deal

Documentary Frontline 2010. Witness how American politics operates in the Obama era with this revealing documentary, which grants viewers incredible access to private meetings from the White House to Capitol Hill throughout the lengthy and arduous health care reform debate. Through interviews with key officials, senators and lobbyists, this program exposes how quiet negotiations and special interest groups drastically reshaped the landmark health care legislation. 2010 NR 54 minutes.

Remaking American Medicine

Documentary Series 2006 NR 240 minutes. Examining the quality crisis in our health-care system and exploring innovative solutions, this four-part PBS documentary provides a comprehensive look at the state of medicine in America today. Topics include patient safety, medical and medication mistakes, hospital-acquired infections, family-centered care and effective management of chronic disease. Moving personal stories highlight the problems and the people who are working to solve them.


Documentary 2014 TV-PG 1hr11m.  This documentary explores the declining efficacy of antibiotics and the recent alarming rise of drug-resistant microbes — so-called “superbugs.”

Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria

Documentary Frontline 2013 TV-PG 53m.  Frontline reporter David Hoffman investigates the alarming rise of untreatable infections in hospitals and communities across the globe.  This is a well-done episode investigating the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria around the world, with focus on several particular cases as examples.

Ebola Outbreak

Documentary Frontline 2014 TV-14 53m.Go inside an emergency field hospital in Sierra Leone, where medical professionals are combating the vast Ebola outbreak that has killed thousands.

Ebola: The Plague Fighters

Documentary Nova 1996 NR 54 minutes. In May 1995, one of the world’s most deadly plagues, an outbreak of the Ebola virus, terrorized a remote region of Zaire. This documentary takes you inside the quarantined “hot zone” of Kikwit and exposes the efforts to stop the biological time bomb. As doctors combat the highly lethal disease, epidemiologists complete a “chain of death” to trace its origins, and scientists fear an Ebola mutation even more virulent and difficult to contain.

Fed Up

Documentary 2014 PG 90 minutes. The film focuses on the causes of obesity in the United States. It presents evidence showing that the large quantities of sugar in processed foods are an overlooked root of the problem. It points to the monied lobbying power of “Big Sugar” in blocking attempts to enact effective policies to address the issue. This eye-opening documentary examines the underlying causes behind the obesity epidemic, including the marketing strategies of major U.S. food producers. How did 60% of the country get so fat?  2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight, with 1 in 3 adults considered obese. Childhood obesity has become an ever-more serious medical issue in the United States. The film includes touching video self-portraits by young people who belong to the almost 17 percent of children and adolescents, ages 2 to 19, who are considered obese. The obese parents who raise obese children — why aren’t they in the least bit curious as to how they’ve become 300 pounders when their ancestors were all normal. This film is an expose of the food industry’s pedaling of sugar-rich junk food to kids and the epidemic of obesity that has resulted from it. It rightly points to the chief villain in our food choices–sugar–as addictive and toxic. Sugar is clearly added to food products that historically had none in an effort to elicit a crave factor, so you can’t stop eating them. See Full Review

Forks Over Knives

Documentary 2011 PG 96 minutes. Focusing on research by two food scientists, this documentary reveals that despite broad advances in medical technology, the popularity of animal-based and modern processed foods have led to epidemic rates of obesity, diabetes and other diseases. See Full Review

Food Matters

Documentary 2008 NR 80 minutes. With a staggering number of Americans suffering from obesity and other food-related maladies, this film takes a timely and hard-hitting look at how the food we eat is helping or hurting our health, and what we can do to live (and eat) better.See Full Review

Alternative Medicine

Documentary 2008 NR 190 minutes. Alternative medical practitioners discuss the value of holistic and integrative therapies in this informative program. Topics include natural nutrition, hypnotherapy, acupuncture, herbology, Reiki, reflexology, homeopathy and many other treatments. While alternative medicine has been used globally for centuries for both physical and emotional ailments, it has become more popular in the West in recent years.


Documentary 2012 NR 52m. A journey into health-care in our modern world. The current medical system is failing due to an emphasis on the treatment of disease instead of prevention. This film focuses on the importance of sleep, reducing stress, and nutrition — which is sorely overlooked by the western medicine model. This is a very informative film that gives you the basic building blocks to make improvements to your life, mind and body. This documentary gives you enough basic information for you to start the research to figure out what you need to do for yourself to improve your own vitality. Excellent expert opinions and a wake-up call to realize that your health really is in your own hands. This documentary may give you inspiration to take control of your own health and life in all aspects — mentally, physically and emotionally. Hopefully the days of throwing a pill at every ache and pain are coming to an end. Concepts introduced include the suggestion of a new health care model where medical institutions are financed based on the health of the patient not by how many procedures and drugs are given. This is an excellent idea. This film gives me hope! Good interviews and message. There is good info to be gleaned here regarding whole health, and I do think it’s worth a look.

The Beautiful Truth

Documentary 2008 NR 1hr 31m. This documentary follows the journey of Garrett Kroschel, an animal-loving teenager raised in Alaska who, after reading a book by Dr. Max Gerson, is inspired to investigate its premise that diet can cure cancer and other diseases. Garrett travels across the country, visiting with physicians, scientists and cancer survivors to discuss Gerson Therapy — and Gerson’s claim that the medical industry has suppressed natural cancer cures for years.


Money and Medicine

Documentary 2012 NR 1hr 23m. As rising health care costs threaten to bankrupt the country, Money and Medicine is a documentary that tackles the medical, ethical and financial challenges of containing runaway health care spending, especially in the last two years of life. As long as someone else is paying, the sky is the limit. This film is an informative affirmation of my belief that hospitals are more for profit than the health of the patient. As a doctor, I will say the place I work at is “for profit” — and a lot of unnecessary lab test are done repeatedly with no difference in treatment. The fear of malpractice lawsuits is a huge factor in doing so many tests and procedures, so everyone is “covering their butts”. Healthcare is really in a sad state nowadays, and it doesn’t look very hopeful in the future. This society is based on money, and since medical care is based on profit, then hospitals are going to offer options to patients, regardless of the very low chances that medical procedures will help. In the end, they make more money prescribing care that most of the time ends up being meaningless. What a business!  See Full Review

Sick Around America

Documentary Frontline 2009 NR 60 minutes. Few Americans in the early years of the 21st century would argue that the country’s healthcare system is healthy; however, fewer still would be likely to agree about how to fix it. This “Frontline” special attempts to find some answers. Traveling around the country, going inside insurance companies and taking a hard look at one state’s failed efforts at healthcare reform, the program tackles one of the toughest issues of modern times. See Full Review

American Addict

Documentary 2013 NR 1hr 29min. The United States’ alarming appetite for prescription drugs is the focus of this sober documentary, which aims to illuminate a national health crisis. The title is misleading — the film is more about unethical practices by the pharmaceutical industry and the gross ineffectiveness of the FDA than it is about addiction to prescribed medications. The over-use of pharmaceuticals in this country is an epidemic, and this is a very good objective source of information. With only five percent of world population, more than 50% of all prescription drugs in the world are used in the US, and 80% of all narcotic prescription drugs are used in the US. The fourth leading cause of death in the US is medications. How can this be normal?? I’ve been reading for years about the actions of the pharmaceutical drug companies, collectively called Big Pharma, and it is nice to have it so well and so thoroughly covered. The facts put forward can be checked and verified quite easily. An excellent and riveting look at how Big Pharma are making America the most prescription-addicted society in the world.  See Full Review

The Waiting Room

Documentary 2012 NR 1hr 22m. This intense documentary goes behind the closed doors of a public hospital struggling to care for a community of largely uninsured patients. This is what you face if you’re uninsured and unemployed or one of the working poor in America. But the patience and compassion of the medical professionals was nothing short of heroic as they struggled to meet people’s needs day after day in a system that was never designed for it. Amazing documentary! Should be required viewing for every member of Congress.


Documentary 2007 PG-13 123 minutes. Michael Moore sets his sights on the plight of the uninsured in this Oscar-nominated documentary that uses Moore’s trademark humor and confrontational style to ask the difficult questions and get to the truth behind the health care crisis. In the world’s richest country, 45 million people have no health insurance, while HMOs grow in size and wealth. Moore also explores the widespread use of antidepressants and their possible link to violence.See Full Review

Critical Condition

Documentary 2008 NR 83 minutes. Delving deep into the sickening statistics of the American health care crisis, this documentary examines the financial and human cost of a broken system, whose patients sometimes pay with their jobs, their savings and even their lives. Following a group of uninsured individuals as they fight for access to medical care, the sobering odyssey is directed by award-winning filmmaker Roger Weisberg.

Pink Ribbons, Inc.

Documentary National Film Board of Canada (NFB) 2011 NR 1hr 37m. In showing the real story of breast cancer, this film explores who really benefits from the pink ribbon campaigns: the cause or the company. It documents how some companies use pink-ribbon-related marketing to increase sales while contributing only a small fraction of proceeds to the cause. Some companies manufacturing products that may be cancer-producing (carcinogenic) use Pink Ribbons to improve their public image. The pink-ribbon movement thus far has done more for marketing than for medicine. See Full Review

Lost Angels: Skid Row Is My Home

Documentary 2010 NR 1hr 15m. This compelling documentary about skid row in Los Angeles finds both desperation and inspiration reflected in the area’s indigent population. The stories of eight residents outline the range of causes leading to the nation’s current homeless crisis. After President Reagan reduced mental health care facilities in the 1980’s, many were dumped onto the streets. These personal stories of people who explain how they ended up in skid row and the choices they made regardless how bad are so honest that I found a lot of empathy for them. Unexpected and magical. I never realized how deep and beautiful the human stories of Skid Row actually are. This film has really changed my thinking. This one will break your heart but is probably the most inspiring doc I’ve seen this year and a top movie in terms of inspiring change. I gave this wonderful documentary 5 Stars! It is a brilliant glimpse into the lives of some of the homeless. It filled me with empathy and compassion. I highly recommend this film!

Run From the Cure

Documentary 2008 58 min. Film about the medical uses of cannabis. More specifically the use of “Hemp Oil” or Cannabis Oil. Which is a cocktail of many cannabinoids. Primarily in hemp are Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol. The Rick Simpson Story was made possible by Rick Simpson and video producer Christian Laurette — made for free to teach you how to heal yourself of disease and illness using cannabinoids. Comments will be moderated to protect those who need this information. We are not asking anyone if it works, we are telling you it works; it is not a debate.

Link to watch Run from the Cure online free

Fast Food Nation

Drama 2006 R 113 minutes. Richard Linklater’s fictional tale (inspired by Eric Schlosser’s 2001 nonfiction book of the same name) critiques the junk-food juggernaut that’s arguably responsible for America’s alarming obesity rates. Greg Kinnear plays Don Henderson, a corporate exec of a national fast-food chain, who follows beef’s journey from the corrals to the slaughterhouses — and ultimately to your stomach. Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette and Bruce Willis co-star.

Super Size Me

Documentary 2004 PG-13 98 minutes. Director Morgan Spurlock takes a hilarious and often terrifying look at the effects of fast food on the human body, using himself as the proverbial guinea pig. For one month, Spurlock eats nothing but McDonald’s fare. See Full Review

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead

Documentary 2010 NR 97 minutes. Focusing on two men whose bodies have been trashed by steroids, obesity and illness, this documentary chronicles the rigorous healing path — including a two-month diet of fruits and vegetables — that both attempt in a bid to rescue their health. See Full Review

Dollars and Dentists

Documentary Frontline 2012 June26. Miles O’Brien investigates the flaws in America’s dental system and nascent proposals to fix them. Dental care can be a matter of life and death. Yet millions of Americans can’t afford a visit to the dentist. An investigation by Frontline and the Center for Public Integrity reveals the shocking consequences of a broken safety net. Correspondent Miles O’Brien investigates the flaws in our dental system and nascent proposals to fix them.Link to View This FRONTLINE Story for Free (Listed by Date 2012 June26):

Link to watch Dollars and Dentists online free

The Vaccine War

Documentary Frontline 2010 NR 60 minutes. Explore both sides of the vaccine debate through this informative documentary, which clearly outlines why the public health community enthusiastically endorses them while certain politicians and parents accuse them of causing disorders like autism. In addition to carefully examining the common concerns new parents may have about vaccines, this program also takes into account scientific research that points toward their effectiveness. Fair, Balanced, and in the favor of science. It doesn’t portray people that are anti-vaccine as kooks. But talks about the reason people aren’t getting vaccines, complacency because horrible diseases like polio aren’t present in the United States. Public health scientists and clinicians tout vaccines as one of the greatest achievements of modern medicine. But for many ordinary Americans vaccines have become controversial. Young parents are concerned at the sheer number of shots — some 26 inoculations for 14 different diseases by age 6 — and follow alternative vaccination schedules advocated by gurus like Dr. Robert Sears. Other parents go further. In communities like Ashland, Oregon, up to one-third of parents are choosing not to vaccinate their kids at all. And some advocacy groups, like Generation Rescue, argue that vaccines are no longer a public health miracle but a scourge; they view vaccines as responsible for alarming rises in certain disorders, including ADHD and autism. This is the vaccine war: On one side sits scientific medicine and the public health establishment; on the other a populist coalition of parents, celebrities (like Jenny McCarthy), politicians and activists. It’s a war that increasingly takes place on the Internet with both sides using the latest social media tools, including Facebook and Twitter, to win the hearts and minds of the public.

The Released

Documentary 2009 NR 56 minutes. Frontline Five years after their landmark documentary The New Asylums, filmmakers Karen O’Connor and Miri Navasky return to the Ohio prison system to chronicle the next chapter in the journey of mentally ill inmates: what happens when they leave prison. The film traces the stories of six mentally ill offenders who face daunting obstacles and slim odds as they struggle to transition from life behind bars to life on the outside.


Drama 1994 128 min. Based on widely circulated accounts of the frightening Ebola virus. Although the virus appears to have originated in Africa, the film implies that we are all potentially at risk as people move about in our increasingly interdependent world. The film focuses on an outbreak of a fictional Ebola-like virus called Motaba in Zaire and later in a small town in the United States. Its primary settings are government disease control centers USAMRIID and the CDC, and the fictional town of Cedar Creek, California. The plot speculates how far military and civilian agencies might go to contain the spread of a deadly contagion. Grounded in some very real global fears of spreading super-disease, the movie comes with built in tension but is perhaps best when reduced to a simple action movie; conspiratorial government forces, militaristic action and graphic depictions of death are all common themes. As Army virologist Sam Daniels strives to thwart a global biological meltdown in the form of a killer virus that has infested a California community, he must also battle those who say the only way to stop the disease is to firebomb the town. I thought this film was very slow and boring when I first began watching this. Although it moved slowly in the beganing, the last hour really picked up and made this a good film. Outbreak is a B-movie with A-movie elements. The insipid dialog results in a TV mini-series quality production staffed by A-list actors. With Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman.

Out of the Wild

Documentary Frontline / World 2009. Uganda’s “Impenetrable Forest” — home to the world’s largest population of Mountain Gorillas, is also a hotbed for a number of deadly diseases that cross the species barrier from animals to humans. Our story investigates how a new idea in public health called “One Health” is emerging to help combat threats like Ebola, Marburg virus, and TB.

The Andromeda Strain

Sci-Fi 2008 NR 177 minutes. When a satellite carrying a deadly alien virus crash-lands in the Arizona desert and quickly kills almost every resident of a nearby town, a team of scientists rushes to the site to find a cure before the pathogen can spread. But their only clues are an old man and an infant, both of whom survived the outbreak. This Emmy-nominated miniseries starring Benjamin Bratt is a remake of the classic 1971 film based on Michael Crichton’s novel.

Generation RX

Documentary 2008 NR 81 minutes. Filmmaker Kevin P. Miller offers this unflinching examination of the unsettling trend in the American medical establishment toward prescribing powerful psychiatric drugs for children more often — and at a younger age — than ever before. Families devastated by the consequences of overmedication share their stories, and doctors, ethicists and other medical professionals weigh in on whether pharmaceutical companies put profits before patients.See Full Review

The Medicated Child

Documentary Frontline 2008 NR 60 minutes. This fascinating program from PBS’s “Frontline” series explores the realities and controversies surrounding the increasingly frequent prescription of behavior-modifying medication for children as young as 2 years old. Numerous experts, including psychiatrists, government regulators and scientific researchers, discuss both the dangers and the benefits of the various drugs being used to treat children with behavioral problems and mental illnesses. Ten years ago, stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall were the drugs of choice to treat behavioral issues in children. Today children as young as four years old are being prescribed more powerful anti-psychotic medications that are much less understood. The drugs can cause serious side effects and virtually nothing is known about their long-term impact. The increase in the use of anti-psychotics is directly tied to the rising incidence of one particular diagnosis — bipolar disorder. Experts estimate that the number of kids with the diagnosis is now over a million and rising. As the debate over medicating children continues to grow, Frontline producer Marcela Gaviria confronts psychiatrists, researchers, and big pharma about the risks and benefits of prescription drugs for troubled children in “The Medicated Child.”

Medicating Kids

Documentary Frontline 2001. Today, millions of American children are being prescribed powerful behavior modifying drugs such as Ritalin, Prozac, Adderall. But are these medications really necessary-and safe-for young children or merely a harried nation’s quick fix for annoying, yet age-appropriate, behavior? Frontline investigates the rapidly growing use of psychoactive drugs by children and the challenges of parenting and schooling in a world of high stress and increasing family disintegration. Through an intimate portrait of several families in an American suburb, the film explores how medication has increasingly become an integral part of caring for our kids. The documentary also examines the role of doctors, educators, pharmaceutical makers, and insurance companies in advancing this trend.

Generation RX: Reading, Writing and Ritalin

Documentary A&E; 2008 NR 50 minutes.Exploring both sides of a controversial issue, this A&E; documentary asks whether Ritalin — the tiny yellow pill prescribed to millions of kids with Attention Deficit Disorder — is a miracle cure or merely a quick fix that does more harm than good. The drug’s supporters and detractors weigh in on the sharp increase in Ritalin prescriptions since 1990 and debate its effectiveness in keeping youngsters focused at home and in the classroom.

In Lies We Trust
The CIA, Hollywood & Bioterrorism

Documentary 2008. In Lies We Trust examines the CIA’s direction of Hollywood, and modern medicine, and will have you rethinking their impacts on the way you think about current events, increasing threats of outbreaks, cancer, and AIDS. Where do you suppose skyrocketing rates of these and other modern plagues came from? This award-winning doctor advances compelling analyses of documents explaining our modern maladies as “socio-political impositions” not made in heaven. In Lies We Trust examines the military-medical-petrochemical-pharmaceutical profiteers behind medical madness; their political prostitutes, and shoddy scientists. Stunning evidence, including secreted interviews, explains why millions of innocent and gullible people worldwide have been killed, and billions more are now being frightened into drug addictions, side-effects, profitable illnesses, and premature death.

The Business of Being Born

Documentary 2008 NR 84 minutes. Director Abby Epstein’s controversial documentary takes a hard look at America’s maternity care system, juxtaposing hospital deliveries against the growing popularity of at-home, natural childbirths that some expectant parents are opting for. Former talk show host Ricki Lake was inspired to produce this compelling exposé after a dissatisfying birthing experience with her first child left her with many unanswered questions.

Battle in Seattle

Docudrama 2007 R 98 minutes. With the World Trade Organization about to convene in his city, Seattle’s Mayor Jim Tobin (Ray Liotta) tries to make sure all events go smoothly. As tensions between protestors and authorities rise out of control, activists and bystanders get caught in the crossfire. Stuart Townsend weaves a compelling story using the 3 Ps – Police, Protestors and Politicians. Based on the 1999 protest referred to as the “Battle of Seattle,” this drama features Charlize Theron, Woody Harrelson, André Benjamin, Connie Nielsen and Michelle Rodriguez. The stars play characters that are an amalgamation of a number of real people. The mayor of the city is trying to keep things calm, but finds his reasonable and non-violent approach to be ineffectual under the circumstances. With pressure from the governor of Washington State and from the White House, he is subjected to mounting stress to get the matter under control. The one thing that was shown properly was that the Seattle police, in the beginning, was ordered not make any arrests. That changed only when property damage and looting got out of control. If you believe that “peaceful” demonstrations in the streets are the way to get things changed in governments around the world, you will love this one because it’s pretty well done and includes actual footage of the real life melee. I wonder if the people deriding this movie as “liberal propaganda” understand that most of the riot footage was real and not recreated. Everything in this movie seems consistent with the news reports we were receiving and my own observations, and everything was pretty truthful to the photos we have in our album. As one of the protesters said toward the end: “A week ago nobody knew what the WTO was. Hell, they still don’t know what the WTO is — but at least they know it’s bad.”  As to the WTO, all that rioting did nothing to change its course. From an historical perspective, I had no idea these things happened. This is a film to make one think. It is a serious film with a serious message. I was glued from beginning to end and highly recommend it.

Panama: The Last Medicine Woman
The Secret Life of Plants

Documentary Frontline / World 2007. In this week’s Rough Cut, producer Joe Rubin and Colombian reporter Paula Botero enter the world of the shamens, or medicine women, who comb the rich canopy of Panama’s rain forests gathering plants with powerful healing properties. Known simply as “Neles” and members of Panama’s Kuna Indians, the women have passed down their knowledge of hundreds of plants through generations. But as the modern world and modern science encroaches, their practices and traditions are fast disappearing.

Matter of Life and Death
Magic Moments and Dark Hours in the History of Medicine

Documentary Series 2006 NR. This fascinating and comprehensive multipart documentary explores 5,000 years of medical health care, analyzing smallpox, tuberculosis, the plague and other historical diseases, as well as contemporary afflictions such as AIDS and other viruses.

The New Asylums

Documentary Frontline 2005. There are nearly half a million mentally ill people serving time in America’s prisons and jails. As sheriffs and prison wardens become the unexpected and ill-equipped gatekeepers of this burgeoning population, they raise a troubling new concern: are jails and prisons America’s new asylums? With exclusive and unprecedented access to prison therapy sessions, mental health treatment meetings, crisis wards, and prison disciplinary tribunals, Frontline goes deep inside Ohio’s state prison system to present a searing exploration of the complex and growing topic of mental health behind bars and a moving portrait of the individuals at the center of this issue.

A Place for Madness

Documentary Frontline 2004. In the last quarter century, many of the mentally ill in this country were discharged from hospitals with no coherent provision for follow-up care. The hundreds of thousands wandering the streets evoke our compassion, stir our conscience, and, for those mentally ill who are violent, test our definition of individual rights and liberties. Frontline examines the troubling conflict between protecting the rights of the mentally ill to live outside of the mental hospitals and safeguarding society from those who are dangerous to themselves and to others. To explore this dilemma, the program focuses on the community of Northampton, Massachusetts, and the personal stories of one family, several mentally ill residents, and the lawyers, psychiatrists, and care givers who deal with the mentally ill on a daily basis.

Dangerous Prescription

Documentary Frontline 2003. As medications play an ever-increasing role in modern health care, the importance of FDA approval to consumers, it would seem, has never been greater. For many consumers, the phrase “FDA approved” signifies that a drug or product is completely safe and without risk. But just how much does the average American know about the FDA approval process and what it can — and cannot — do? How good is the FDA’s system for identifying drugs that don’t work or cause harm? And what happens when a harmful product makes its way into consumers’ hands? Frontline investigates the FDA and drug safety, and questions whether the current system is adequate for protecting the public.

The Other Drug War

Documentary Frontline 2003. As Congress seems closer than ever to passing a new Medicare prescription drug benefit for seniors, Frontline investigates the conflict between major pharmaceutical companies and American consumers who now pay the highest drug prices in the world. Through interviews with legislators, scientists, consumers, and industry leaders, Frontline examines how states like Maine and Oregon have moved to control escalating prescription drug costs in the face of strong opposition from the pharmaceutical industry, which argues reducing drug prices will ultimately reduce the number of new innovative drugs they will develop.

The Alternative Fix

Documentary Frontline 2003. The past few years has seen an explosion in the popularity–and profitability–of complementary and alternative medicine. Under pressure from everyone from consumers to Congress–and tempted by huge grants–major hospitals and medical schools have embraced therapies that they once dismissed as quackery. So accepted, in fact, have alternative medical treatments become that an entire center of the National Institutes of Health is now devoted to it. But the question remains: Do these treatments actually work? Frontline examines the controversy over complementary and alternative medical treatments.

Dr Solomon’s Dilemma

Documentary Frontline 2000. In the 1990s, cost-cutting HMOs were reviled as the enemy of doctors and patients. After fighting to regain control of the medical process, doctors are now struggling to manage tough financial decisions as well as patient care. On a daily basis, doctors find themselves faced with the often excruciating responsibility of balancing quality care against their own bottom line. Frontline correspondent Hedrick Smith goes inside one of Harvard Medical Schools premier teaching hospitals and discovers Dr. Martin Solomon, a highly rated primary care physician, embroiled in the most bitter conflict of his career. He and his colleagues battle with each other over cutting costs, worry about the impact of red ink on their own income, and fear the struggle between care and costs will not only damage quality but will ultimately tear apart the trust between doctors and patients.

The High Price of Health

Documentary Frontline 1998. Today, providing health care is a profit-driven enterprise which is subject to the forces of the marketplace and operated by administrators with their eyes on the bottom line. But has too much of the decision-making power been taken away from the doctors, nurses, and patients? Frontline looks at how in the wake of a failed attempt by the Clinton administration to provide universal health care for every American, the industry has undergone a dramatic transformation. The film examines the changing health-care industry through an in-depth look at how California and Massachusetts hospitals are coping with this health-care revolution.

Welcome to Happy Valley

Documentary Frontline 1995. Prozac is the most prescribed antidepressant drug in America. Frontline travels to the prozac capital of the world, Wenatchee, Washington, and talks to the ‘Pied Piper of Prozac,’ Dr. Jim Goodwin, a clinical psychologist who says Prozac is ‘probably less toxic than salt’ and has had it prescribed for all his seven hundred patients. Psychiatrist Peter Breggin and members of the Prozac Survivors Support Group, however, question the use of the drug.

The Health Care Gamble

Documentary Frontline 1993. Frontline, in association with The Health Quarterly, presents a behind-the-scenes report on Bill Clinton’s savvy campaigning and hard bargaining for health care reform during his bid for the presidency. The program details Clinton’s difficulties in transforming health care reform from a campaign issue to a social reality.

Broken Minds

Documentary Frontline 1990. Three million Americans are thought to be schizophrenic. As medical science searches to find its cause, society struggles to understand a crippling disease that has shattered families and left tens of thousands on the nation’s streets.

Prescriptions for Profit

Documentary Frontline 1989. Frontline reporter Joe Rosenbloom investigates abuses in the fiercely competitive marketing and promotion of prescription drugs by the pharmaceutical manufacturers. The program explores the dangers of hype and hard sell applied to widely prescribed arthritis medications and how the industry tries to influence the prescribing habits of doctors.

Sue the Doctor?

Documentary Frontline 1986. For many doctors, practicing medicine has become a nightmare. Today, one out of every six American doctors faces a malpractice suit. Frontline takes an inside look at the fierce battle developing between doctors and lawyers over medical malpractice suits.

Better Off Dead?

Documentary Frontline 1984 Frontline goes inside the hospitals where every day doctors, lawyers, and parents face the agonizing choice: how far do we go with medical treatment for infants born so physically and mentally damaged that they have no hope of leading normal lives? Several intimate case histories are examined, as are the politics of recent legal decisions and government rules relating to the medical care for critically ill babies.

Crisis at General Hospital

Documentary Frontline 1984. Most Americans regard health care as a social responsibility undertaken for the common good. We assume government and charity programs will allow for everyone with serious health problems-no matter how poor-to be provided treatment. Frontline examines how many investor-owned, for-profit hospital chains are aggressively marketing themselves to treat only the insured, or wealthy patient.

Who Decides Disability?

Documentary Frontline 1983. Frontline investigates the Reagan administration’s effort to remove tens of thousands of people from the Social Security disability rolls. Disabled people face personal hardship and bureaucratic indifference as they take their cases to the courts and to Congress.

The Polio Crusade

Documentary American Experience 2009 TV-PG. Follow the race to develop a polio vaccine in this fascinating historical study that examines the work of Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin and the medical breakthroughs that helped them defeat this terrible illness. The film includes interviews with polio survivors and one of the original researchers from the team that produced the Salk vaccine, and also traces the impact of Basil O’Connor, who spearheaded a national effort to fight the disease.

The Shot Felt ‘Round the World

Documentary 2010 67 min. A horror movie could not be more dramatic: A disease seeks out mainly children and terrorizes them and their parents each summer season. They no longer go to pools or movie theaters for fear they might contract the potentially fatal disease that often cripples its victims, leaving many in a dreaded iron lung. A beloved, polio-afflicted U.S. President inspires the country’s men, women, and children to send their dimes to fund research – some of which would go to an ambitious, but unknown 33 year-old scientist at the University of Pittsburgh who, working from a basement lab between a morgue and a darkroom, would go on to change the course of medical history. The Shot Felt ‘Round The World uses first-hand interviews with world-renowned experts to tell the remarkable story of Dr. Jonas Salk and his research team, and of a nation that quite literally rolled up its collective sleeves to conquer the most-feared disease of the 20th century.

Polio Vaccine

Documentary History Channel’s “Modern Marvels” 1997 NR 50 minutes. The search for a vaccine that would eradicate polio was a quest that frustrated the brightest minds in medicine. But in the early 1950s, a young American doctor named Jonas Salk made a revolutionary breakthrough that forever changed the world and ultimately saved millions of lives. Through interviews with both polio victims and scientists, this installment of the History Channel’s “Modern Marvels” series illuminates Salk’s dramatic discovery.

Influenza 1918

Documentary American Experience 1998 NR 60 minutes. In March 1918, scores of fit young soldiers poured into an Army hospital in Kansas. Their complaints of fever, sore throat and headache marked the first signs of a flu epidemic that would quickly ravage the nation. By year’s end, the flu would kill nearly 700,000 Americans — more than all U.S. combat deaths in that century combined. Interviews with survivors shed light on this horrifying and strangely forgotten chapter in history.

Edward Jenner
The Man Who Cured Smallpox!

Documentary 2007 NR 60 minutes. Explore the life and career of Edward Jenner, an English country doctor who gained worldwide fame after discovering the cure for smallpox. Hailing from Gloucestershire, Jenner was an avid researcher, and his study of cuckoo nesting behavior led to his installment as a fellow of the Royal Society. But when his interest turned to examining the effects of cowpox virus immunizations as a preventive measure against smallpox, he changed history.

The Story of Louis Pasteur

Documentary 1935 NR. As French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur works unstintingly to discover cures for anthrax and rabies, his theories meet with suspicion and derision. Meanwhile, Pasteur’s close-minded rival frustrates his efforts at every turn.


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Must-See Movies—For What You Need to Know