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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

An excellent introduction to a vital literary movement.

9/10
Author: Cellguy from Midwest
28 February 2001

The documentary Beat Generation: An American Dream provides an excellent introduction to an extremely vital and influential 20th century literary movement. Most of the key players are featured either through interviews or archival footage. News reels, propaganda, and pop culture film footage from the 40s and 50s (rife with the superficiality peculiar to that era) provide stark contrast to the free spirited ideals set forth by the key Beat exponents.

Some of the most compelling moments of the film were the segments featuring the writers reading from their works. It doesn't get any better than Jack Kerouac expressively reading from _On The Road_ while Steve Allen effortlessly accompanies him on piano. Just as moving was the excerpt of Allan Ginsberg's furious reading of _Howl_ and his sad and poignant recollection of his beloved mother.

Of course there is no better way to learn about the Beat writers than to actually read their works. But, if it's a film introduction you want, this is the one to watch.

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