Films on Homeless

See also: FILMS ON POVERTY

Tent City, U.S.A.

Documentary 2012 NR 1hr 25m. Nearly 100 homeless individuals have formed Nashville’s Tent City, which is located under a bridge close to the city’s center.

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 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!

Skid Row

Documentary 2007 R 1hr 34m. Ever wondered what it would be like to live on Skid Row, where about 11,000 homeless live, in downtown Los Angeles? Pras Michel (of hip-hop group the Fugees) went undercover as a homeless person for nine days. His eye-opening social experiment was captured on film as he was given a dollar a day to live and had to find ways to beg for more. Pras’s worldview is shattered as he sees firsthand the violence, drugs and fight for survival on the streets.

Entre Nos

Docudrama 2009 NR 1hr 21m. Abandoned by her husband in a country foreign to her, a Colombian struggles to take care of herself and her two children on the streets of New York. Based on a true story.

Let’s Make Money

Documentary 2008 NR 1hr 47m Let’s Make Money is not about how to make money. This film traces money as it goes through the global finance system — exposing policies and practices affecting the worldwide economy. This film is about the billions, trillions of dollars that go to selfish human greed and not to basic human need. This shows the planetary marketplace from all perspectives: wealthy investors, business owners, bankers, laborers, activists, government officials, impoverished people — from all around the globe. See Full Review

Giuliani Time

Documentary 2005 NR1hr 58m. Rudy Giuliani catapulted to international fame (that had even Queen Elizabeth fawning over him) upon helming the post-9/11 relief effort. The former mayor of New York City is also credited with cleaning up the streets of the Big Apple during the 1990s. But Kevin Keating’s exposĂ© tells a different story — one of First Amendment transgressions and police brutality — through interviews with legal experts, activists and even the homeless.

Dark Days

Documentary 2000 NR 1hr 21m. Documentarian Marc Singer trains his camera on a group of homeless people who live in an abandoned New York City railroad tunnel. At night, they retreat underground, where they have a sense of community that many surface dwellers would envy.

It Was a Wonderful Life

Documentary 1993 NR 84 minutes. A growing number of middle-class women are forced to live out of their cars following a divorce, job loss or a long illness. They’re clean, educated, articulate, and rarely receive public assistance, as they struggle to survive, one day at a time. This film chronicles the hardships and infrequent triumphs of six of these homeless women. It introduces us to a new sub-genre of homeless people, the “invisible homeless,” so-called because most of their acquaintances do not realize they are homeless. These women are people you might know in your everyday life who have had bad things happen — a divorce, loss of a job, loss of a home or apartment, refusal of a divorced spouse to pay child support — and a person or family can be out onto the street or into their car, with nowhere to turn. It showed how hard it was to get back into the job market or back into a house or apartment once you don’t have one. What is so good about this documentary is that you get to know them well, and none of them strike you as “the homeless type”. This documentary really got to me for several reasons, the first one being that anyone can become homeless, as so many people are only one paycheck away from being homeless. Not much difference between “them” & us, leaving the viewer (especially if you’re a woman) with a renewed awareness of what’s really going on in our society. These women are not the delusional, dirty, penniless souls we automatically associate with the homeless; rather, they are articulate, smart, well-adjusted, and, above all, determined to make their own way. Although this documentary is about the plight of homeless women, being a man I could not deny that homelessness could happen to me too. The film was sad and it is still bothering me two days after viewing it. I talked to some people at work about how I felt about homelessness (something I rarely gave thought to before seeing this film) and the things that I could be doing to help those in unfortunate circumstances and ways that I could be more responsible with my own financial life. I think that those of you that watch this documentary might question your own spending habits. Powerful stuff here. The film may be depressing at times, but its message is one of hope: never give up. It also showed some hope as a few of these women were eventually able to break out of the cycle of homelessness. I highly recommend this documentary for everyone. Please watch all the way through the credits to the very end. Narrated by Jodie Foster. See Full Review

The Grapes of Wrath

Drama 1940 NR 128 minutes. Tom Joad, a Depression-era everyman, leads his poor family on a harrowing journey from Oklahoma’s Dust Bowl to the promised land of California in this adaptation of John Steinbeck’s classic novel. See Full Review

See also: FILMS ON POVERTY

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