IMDb > The Source: The Story of the Beats and the Beat Generation (1999)

The Source: The Story of the Beats and the Beat Generation (1999) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 4 | slideshow)


User Rating:
7.5/10   673 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
Popularity: ?
Down 2% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
View company contact information for The Source: The Story of the Beats and the Beat Generation on IMDbPro.
Traces the Beats from Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac's meeting in 1944 at Columbia University to the deaths of Ginsberg and William S... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
One of the best films of the year, Chuck Workman creates another excellent documentary See more (11 total) »


  (in credits order)

Johnny Depp ... Jack Kerouac

Dennis Hopper ... William S. Burroughs

John Turturro ... Allen Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg ... Himself

Philip Glass ... Himself
Robert Creeley ... Himself
Ann Charters ... Herself
George Steade ... Himself
David Amram ... Himself

William S. Burroughs ... Himself
Ed Sanders ... Himself
Gregory Corso ... Himself
Kyle Roderick ... Himself - Corso biographer
Lawrence Ferlinghetti ... Himself

Ken Kesey ... Himself (archive footage)
Gary Snyder ... Himself

Jerry Garcia ... Himself
Jack Micheline ... Himself
Michael McClure ... Himself
Stephen Ronin ... Himself - Beat historian
Philip Whalen ... Himself
Terry Southern ... Himself
Timothy Leary ... Himself
Paul Krassner ... Himself
Diane Di Prima ... Herself
Tom Hayden ... Himself
David Dellinger ... Himself
John Sampas ... Himself
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Steve Allen ... Himself (archive footage)
Amiri Baraka ... Himself

Paul Bowles ... Himself (archive footage)
Lenny Bruce ... Himself (archive footage)

William F. Buckley ... Himself (archive footage)
Mortimer Burroughs ... Himself (archive footage)
John Cage ... Himself (archive footage)
Neal Cassady ... Himself (archive footage)
Shirley Clarke ... Herself (archive footage)

Walter Cronkite ... Himself (archive footage)
Richard J. Daley ... Himself (archive footage)

Bob Dylan ... Himself (archive footage)
Dizzy Gillespie ... Himself (archive footage)
Brion Gysin ... Himself (archive footage)
Abbie Hoffman ... Himself (archive footage)

Billie Holiday ... Herself (archive footage)
J. Edgar Hoover ... Himself (archive footage)

Bob Hope ... Himself (archive footage)

Lyndon Johnson ... Himself (archive footage)
Robert F. Kennedy ... Himself (archive footage)

Jack Kerouac ... Himself (archive footage)
Jan Kerouac ... Herself (archive footage)

Martin Luther King ... Himself (archive footage)

John Leguizamo ... Himself (archive footage)

Norman Mailer ... Himself (archive footage)

Steve Martin ... Himself (archive footage)

Groucho Marx ... Himself (archive footage)
Gilbert Millstein ... Himself
Robert Motherwell ... Himself (archive footage)

Deborah Norville ... Herself (archive footage)
Peter Orlovsky ... Himself (archive footage)
Stuart Perkoff ... Himself (archive footage)
Marlon Riggs ... Himself (archive footage)

Henry Rollins ... Himself (archive footage)

Directed by
Chuck Workman 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Chuck Workman 

Produced by
Mark Apostolon .... associate producer
James Cady .... associate producer
Chuck Workman .... producer
Hiro Yamagata .... executive producer
Original Music by
David Amram 
Philip Glass 
Cinematography by
Andrew Dintenfass 
Tom Hurwitz 
Don Lenzer 
José Louis Mignone 
Nancy Schreiber 
Film Editing by
Chuck Workman 
Production Design by
Marc Greville-Masson 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Stephen A. Glanzrock .... first assistant director
Sound Department
Richard Jenkins .... sound
Peter Miller .... sound
Eric Zeehandelaar .... sound
Camera and Electrical Department
Alexandre Naufel .... set lighting
Editorial Department
H. Scott Randol .... assistant editor (as Howard Randol)
Chris Regan .... color timer
Other crew
Jonathan Dana .... production executive
Andy Goldman .... key artist
Joseph Lee .... production coordinator
Jennifer S. McGonigal .... production coordinator (as Jennifer McGonigal)
Glen Tedham .... production coordinator
Tracy Young .... script supervisor
Carlos Saldivia .... production assistant (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
88 min

Did You Know?

Filmmaker Jason Rosette appears briefly in the scene at the student center during the reading of Kerouac's "On the Road".See more »
Movie Connections:


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
10 out of 11 people found the following review useful.
One of the best films of the year, Chuck Workman creates another excellent documentary, 11 July 2000
Author: delharvey from Chicago, Illinois

The Source takes some priceless footage of this country's seminal beat poets and traces their impact on our society over 5 generations, from the 50's up through present time. Back in the 40's a young football player named Jack Kerouac at Columbia College in New York broke his leg and spent some time talking with other intellectuals, befriending one spindly young lad named Allen Ginsberg. Eventually they met up with another fellow named William S. Burroughs. From this small kernal sprang a movement that begat or aided in the progress of other movements throughout the past 50 years.

Piecing together footage from home movies, interviews, TV shows, films, and many other sources, Workman has built a very effective argument for this thesis: young intellectuals sharing thoughts about humankind's existence and our reason for being. It was right after the atomic bomb had been dropped. Film noir reflected the country's fears and anxieties. The world was no longer what it seemed. Existentialism and intellectualism were entering a new phase in society, and a group of free thinkers were born. Kerouac published a book which gave this group a name - "beats." Thus the beatnik was born. Gone. Crazy. Hip. Far out. Anything that questioned authority or existence, whether art, music, poetry, writing, performance...anything.

Strangers in their own country, these restless explorers were considered too weird for maintstream society, and were largely ignored or shunned. Eventually beatniks were accepted for what they were, evolving into "hippies." The movements of the 60's gave us "special interest groups" - gay & lesbian groups, the feminist movement, and others that owe a debt of gratitude to the free thinking beats.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (11 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Source: The Story of the Beats and the Beat Generation (1999)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Can anyone ID these people? lipwak
Where can i find this movie!!! lime6inthecoconut
help with lawrence ferlinghetti quote paloma12
the song at the beginning paloma12
See more »

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Documentary section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.