The Nature and Power of the American Family

Consider the components of family in contemporary American life. What really defines an American
family? Have those factors changed over the course of history? What have been the consequences of those
changes? What is the power‐‐if any‐‐of family in today's society? What is your definition of family? Would
other people easily agree with you? Why? Is the American family important to our future national well‐being?
What is the "nuclear family"? How do political parties use the family to reflect their values? How does the
entertainment industry reinforce or challenge prevailing values about the family?
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1.
Affliction (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A deeply troubled small town cop investigates a suspicious hunting death while events occur that cause him to mentally disintergrate. (114 mins.)
Director: Paul Schrader
 
2.
Avalon (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A Polish-Jewish family comes to the USA at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. There, the family and their children try to make themselves a better future in the so-called promised land. (128 mins.)
Director: Barry Levinson
 
3.
American Beauty (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A sexually frustrated suburban father has a mid-life crisis after becoming infatuated with his daughter's best friend. (122 mins.)
Director: Sam Mendes
 
4.
Boyz n the Hood (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Follows the lives of three young males living in the Crenshaw ghetto of Los Angeles, dissecting questions of race, relationships, violence and future prospects. (112 mins.)
Director: John Singleton
 
5.
Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Eugene, a young teenage Jewish boy, recalls his memoirs of his time as an adolescent youth. He lives with his parents... (108 mins.)
Director: Gene Saks
 
6.
The Brothers McMullen (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Three Irish Catholic brothers from Long Island struggle to deal with love, marriage, and infidelity. (98 mins.)
Director: Edward Burns
 
7.
East of Eden (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A wilful young man contends against his brother for the attention of their religious father while reconnecting with his estranged mother and falling for his brother's girlfriend. (115 mins.)
Director: Elia Kazan
 
8.
Eat a Bowl of Tea (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A study in culture bridging, including ... a new US-born husband, trying to work within the traditional ways... (102 mins.)
Director: Wayne Wang
 
9.
El Norte (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Peasants escaping mindless labor and a murderous Guatemalan government head to America in hopes for something better. (141 mins.)
Director: Gregory Nava
 
10.
Garden State (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A quietly troubled young man returns home for his mother's funeral after being estranged from his family for a decade. (102 mins.)
Director: Zach Braff
 
11.
Giant (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Sprawling epic covering the life of a Texas cattle rancher and his family and associates. (201 mins.)
Director: George Stevens
 
12.
The Godfather (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.2/10 X  
The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son. (175 mins.)
 
13.
The Graduate (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A disillusioned college graduate finds himself torn between his older lover and her daughter. (106 mins.)
Director: Mike Nichols
 
14.
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Ted Kramer's wife leaves her husband, allowing for a lost bond to be rediscovered between Ted and his son, Billy. But a heated custody battle ensues over the divorced couple's son, deepening the wounds left by the separation. (105 mins.)
Director: Robert Benton
 
15.
Liberty Heights (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Anti-Semitism, race relations, coming of age, and fathers and sons: in Baltimore from fall, 1954, to fall... (127 mins.)
Director: Barry Levinson
 
16.
The Little Foxes (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
The ruthless, moneyed Hubbard clan lives in, and poisons, their part of the deep South at the turn of the twentieth century. (116 mins.)
Director: William Wyler
 
17.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A family determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant take a cross-country trip in their VW bus. (101 mins.)
 
18.
Lone Star (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
When the skeleton of his murdered predecessor is found, Sheriff Sam Deeds unearths many other long-buried secrets in his Texas border town. (135 mins.)
Director: John Sayles
 
19.
The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The spoiled young heir to the decaying Amberson fortune comes between his widowed mother and the man she has always loved. (88 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
 
20.
My Family (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
This epic film traces over three generations an immigrant family's trials, tribulations, tragedies and triumphs... (128 mins.)
Director: Gregory Nava
 
21.
October Sky (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The true story of Homer Hickam, a coal miner's son who was inspired by the first Sputnik launch to take up rocketry against his father's wishes. (108 mins.)
Director: Joe Johnston
 
22.
On Golden Pond (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Norman is a curmudgeon with an estranged relationship with his daughter Chelsea. At Golden Pond, he and his wife nevertheless agree to care for Billy, the son of Chelsea's new boyfriend, and a most unexpected relationship blooms. (109 mins.)
Director: Mark Rydell
 
23.
Ordinary People (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The accidental death of the older son of an affluent family deeply strains the relationships among the bitter mother, the good-natured father, and the guilt-ridden younger son. (124 mins.)
Director: Robert Redford
 
24.
Places in the Heart (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
In the Deep South in the 1930s, a widow and her family try to run their cotton farm with the help of a disparate group of friends. (111 mins.)
Director: Robert Benton
 
25.
Pleasantville (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Two 1990s teenage siblings find themselves in a 1950s sitcom where their influence begins to profoundly change that complacent world. (124 mins.)
Director: Gary Ross
 
26.
Pollyanna (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A young girl comes to an embittered town and confronts its attitude with her determination to see the best in life. (134 mins.)
Director: David Swift
 
27.
A Raisin in the Sun (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A substantial insurance payment could mean either financial salvation or personal ruin for a poor black family. (128 mins.)
Director: Daniel Petrie
 
28.
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A rebellious young man with a troubled past comes to a new town, finding friends and enemies. (111 mins.)
Director: Nicholas Ray
 
29.
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
The drug-induced utopias of four Coney Island people are shattered when their addictions run deep. (102 mins.)
 
30.
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
An estranged family of former child prodigies reunites when their father announces he is terminally ill. (110 mins.)
Director: Wes Anderson
 
31.
Shoot the Moon (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A fifteen year marriage dissolves, leaving both the husband and wife, and their four children, devastated... (124 mins.)
Director: Alan Parker
 
32.
Sounder (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The oldest son of a loving and strong family of black sharecroppers comes of age in the Depression-era South after his father is imprisoned for stealing food. (105 mins.)
Director: Martin Ritt
 
33.
Terms of Endearment (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Follows hard-to-please Aurora looking for love and her daughter's family problems. (132 mins.)
Director: James L. Brooks
 
34.
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his children against prejudice. (129 mins.)
Director: Robert Mulligan
 
35.
What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
After his father's death, Gilbert has to care for his mentally disabled brother, Arnie, and his morbidly obese mother, which is suddenly challenged when love walks into his life. (118 mins.)
 
36.
You Can Count on Me (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A single mother's life is thrown into turmoil after her struggling, rarely seen younger brother returns to town. (111 mins.)
 
37.
The Squid and the Whale (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Follows two young boys dealing with their parents' divorce in Brooklyn in the 1980s. (81 mins.)
Director: Noah Baumbach
 
38.
Sunshine Cleaning (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
In order to raise the tuition to send her young son to private school, a mom starts an unusual business -- a biohazard removal/crime scene clean-up service -- with her unreliable sister. (91 mins.)
Director: Christine Jeffs
 
39.
Unfinished Life (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Unfinished Life is a Video Art based on documentary style. It's the story about journey of 3 women ; homeless... (26 mins.)
 
40.
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
An estranged family of former child prodigies reunites when their father announces he is terminally ill. (110 mins.)
Director: Wes Anderson
 
41.
Rachel Getting Married (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A young woman who has been in and out of rehab for the past 10 years returns home for the weekend for her sister's wedding. (113 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Demme
 
42.
The Fighter (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A look at the early years of boxer "Irish" Micky Ward and his brother who helped train him before going pro in the mid 1980s. (116 mins.)
 
43.
The Kids Are All Right (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Two children conceived by artificial insemination bring their biological father into their non-traditional family life. (106 mins.)
Director: Lisa Cholodenko
 
44.
Winter's Bone (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family intact. (100 mins.)
Director: Debra Granik