The Power of Place in American Life

How does the power of place shape personal identity and American identity? To what extent does place shape
the people who live there and to what extent do the people shape the place? How permanent is the sense of
place in American lives? Can one ever really transcend their place of origin? Should they? What really
defines the sense of place? Is it more regional (Texas, California, the South, New England, the Midwest)? Is
place based on the nature of the community (city, suburb, small town, rural)? Is place defined in a cultural
way, based on the values of a place? Or is it something different or a combination of all of these?
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1.
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
 
2.
Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 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
 
3.
Chinatown (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A private detective hired to expose an adulterer finds himself caught up in a web of deceit, corruption and murder. (130 mins.)
Director: Roman Polanski
 
4.
Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Biographical story of Loretta Lynn, a legendary country singer that came from poverty to worldwide fame. She rose from humble beginnings in Kentucky to superstardom and changing the sound and style of country music forever. (124 mins.)
Director: Michael Apted
 
5.
Country (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Gilbert Ivy and his wife Jewell are farmers. They seem to be working against the odds, producing no financial surplus... (105 mins.)
Director: Richard Pearce
 
6.
Crossing Delancey (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A Manhattan single meets a man through her Jewish grandmother's matchmaker. (97 mins.)
 
7.
Do the Right Thing (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
On the hottest day of the year on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, everyone's hate and bigotry smolders and builds until it explodes into violence. (120 mins.)
Director: Spike Lee
 
8.
Fargo (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Jerry Lundegaard's inept crime falls apart due to his and his henchmen's bungling and the persistent police work of the quite pregnant Marge Gunderson. (98 mins.)
Director: Joel Coen
 
9.
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
 
10.
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
 
11.
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
 
12.
Hester Street (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
It's 1896. Yankel Bogovnik, a Russian Jew, emigrated to the United States three years earlier and has settled where many of his background have... (89 mins.)
 
13.
The Last Picture Show (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A group of 1950s high schoolers come of age in a bleak, isolated, atrophied West Texas town that is slowly dying, both economically and culturally. (118 mins.)
 
14.
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
 
15.
Manhattan (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The life of a divorced television writer dating a teenage girl is further complicated when he falls in love with his best friend's mistress. (96 mins.)
Director: Woody Allen
 
16.
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A naive hustler travels from Texas to New York to seek personal fortune but, in the process, finds himself a new friend. (113 mins.)
 
17.
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Longfellow Deeds, a simple-hearted Vermont tuba player, inherits a fortune and has to contend with opportunist city slickers. (115 mins.)
Director: Frank Capra
 
18.
Nashville (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Over the course of a few hectic days, numerous interrelated people prepare for a political convention as secrets and lies are surfaced and revealed. (159 mins.)
Director: Robert Altman
 
19.
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
 
20.
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
 
21.
Rushmore (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The extracurricular king of Rushmore preparatory school is put on academic probation. (93 mins.)
Director: Wes Anderson
 
22.
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A young woman discovers her visiting "Uncle Charlie" may not be the man he seems to be. (108 mins.)
 
23.
Sunshine State (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A woman and her new husband returns to her hometown roots in coastal northern Florida, and must deal with family, business, and encroaching real estate development. (141 mins.)
Director: John Sayles
 
24.
Tender Mercies (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A broken-down, middle-aged country singer gets a new wife, reaches out to his long-lost daughter, and tries to put his troubled life back together. (92 mins.)
Director: Bruce Beresford
 
25.
The Trip to Bountiful (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
In 1940s Texas, an elderly woman is determined to visit her childhood home for one last time. (108 mins.)
Director: Peter Masterson
 
26.
Magnolia (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An epic mosaic of interrelated characters in search of love, forgiveness, and meaning in the San Fernando Valley. (188 mins.)
 
27.
Clear Cut: The Story of Philomath, Oregon (2006 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A documentary about a rural Oregon timber town and a rift between conservatives and liberals that threatens... (72 mins.)
 
28.
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
 
29.
The Fighter (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 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.)
 
30.
There Will Be Blood (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business. (158 mins.)
 
31.
The Descendants (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A land baron tries to reconnect with his two daughters after his wife is seriously injured in a boating accident. (115 mins.)
Director: Alexander Payne
 
32.
Precious (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
In New York City's Harlem circa 1987, an overweight, abused, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction. (110 mins.)
Director: Lee Daniels
 
33.
The Last Mountain (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A coal mining corporation and a tiny community vie for the last great mountain in Appalachia in a battle for the future of energy that affects us all. (95 mins.)
Director: Bill Haney
 
34.
Vernon, Florida (1981 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Early Errol Morris documentary intersplices random chatter he captured on film of the genuinely eccentric residents of Vernon... (55 mins.)
Director: Errol Morris
 
35.
Desert Bayou (2007 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Questions of race, poverty, politics and religion hurdle towards each other in DESERT BAYOU, the story... (71 mins.)
Director: Alex LeMay
 
36.
Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Faced with both her hot-tempered father's fading health and melting ice-caps that flood her ramshackle bayou community and unleash ancient aurochs, six-year-old Hushpuppy must learn the ways of courage and love. (93 mins.)
Director: Benh Zeitlin
 
37.
New York in the 50's (2000 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
Based on the book by Dan Wakefield, the film combines stunning archival footage of New York with interviews of the icons of the day - Kerouac, Ginsberg, Baldwin, Mailer, Basie, etc. Offering modern day perspectives. (72 mins.)
 
38.
The Bituminous Coal Queens of Pennsylvania (2005 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
In this documentary, Sarah Rush takes us back to the coal-mining town of her youth -- Carmichaels, Penn.... (89 mins.)
 
39.
Radiant City (2006 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
An examination of the nature of modern suburbia. (93 mins.)
 
40.
The Town (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
As he plans his next job, a longtime thief tries to balance his feelings for a bank manager connected to one of his earlier heists, as well as the FBI agent looking to bring him and his crew down. (125 mins.)
Director: Ben Affleck
 
41.
Trouble the Water (2008 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A redemptive tale of an aspiring rap artist surviving failed levees and her own troubled past and seizing a chance for a new beginning. (90 mins.)
 
42.
No Country for Old Men (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and more than two million dollars in cash near the Rio Grande. (122 mins.)
 
43.
Frontline (1983 TV Series)
Episode: The Farmer's Wife (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.1/10 X  
"The Farmer's Wife" takes us deep inside the world of Juanita and Darrel Buschkoetter, a remarkable young Nebraska farm couple... (60 mins.)
 
44.
The Spitfire Grill (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Percy, upon being released from prison, goes to the small town of Gillead, to find a place where she can start over again... (117 mins.)
 
45.
The Straight Story (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An old man makes a long journey by lawn-mover tractor to mend his relationship with an ill brother. (112 mins.)
Director: David Lynch
 
46.
Dancer, Texas Pop. 81 (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Four friends from the small Texas town of Dancer are graduating from high school and are planning to move to L.A... (97 mins.)
Director: Tim McCanlies
 
47.
Hoop Dreams (1994 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A film following the lives of two inner-city Chicago boys who struggle to become college basketball players on the road to going professional. (170 mins.)
Director: Steve James
 
48.
Dislocation (2005 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
In February 2002, families living in the Robert Taylor Homes public housing development were given a 180 day notice of eviction... (52 mins.)