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Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You (2016)

A look at the life, work and political activism of one of the most successful television producers of all time, Norman Lear.

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5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Storyline

How did a poor Jewish kid from Connecticut bring us Archie Bunker and become one of the most successful television producers ever? Norman Lear brought provocative subjects like war, poverty, and prejudice into 120 million homes every week. He proved that social change was possible through an unlikely prism: laughter. World Premiere -Opening night selection, Sundance, 2016.

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reenactment | See All (1) »

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The legendary creator of All in the Family and The Jeffersons


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Unrated
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Release Date:

May 2016 (New Zealand)  »

Also Known As:

Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$16,912 (USA) (8 July 2016)

Gross:

$70,056 (USA) (12 August 2016)
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My Blue Heaven
written by Walter Donaldson & George Whiting performed by Frank Sinatra
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User Reviews

 
After Norman is better
1 May 2016 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. Very few people have achieved the level of career success of Norman Lear. Very few people have had the impact on culture as Norman Lear. Very few people have led a life as interesting as Norman Lear. And if all of that somehow doesn't impress you … Norman Lear is 93 years old and still working! It's no wonder that co-directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady decided to tell his stories.

This is a man who served in WWII and flew 52 combat missions. He also purchased a copy of the U.S. Constitution so that it could tour the country and citizens could see it up close. He is regarded as the most influential TV producer ever. His roster of hit shows includes: All in the Family; Maude; Good Times; The Jeffersons; and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. These weren't just popular or funny shows. They were ground-breaking and controversial … they changed TV and they changed society.

At one point, Mr. Lear was producer on 6 of the Top 10 shows on television. His "Good Times" series was the first to put an African-American family front and center. "Maude" was the first TV show to seriously discuss abortion, while "All in the Family" brought Archie Bunker (the great Carroll O'Connor) and the generation gap with changing societal mores right into our living rooms.

The film features a great deal of interview time with Mr. Lear, but also with others who worked with him and/or were influenced by him. The Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner segment is especially poignant, as it's three comedy trailblazers who made such a difference in how we are entertained. At one point, Lear states "I never lost my childlike view of the world", and he says that contributed to always having a fresh approach.

Frances Lear, the feminist activist, is the perfect life partner for Norman, and the film captures their magic. They make such an impressive team committed to their causes, yet still maintaining a solid marriage. In fact, a documentary focusing on Frances would also be quite interesting.

In the world of television programming, there is BN (Before Norman) and AN (After Norman), and the timeline is not only obvious, but also important. Norman says he worked to deliver "serious people comedy … we had something on our mind". The proof of his influence is that he was able to inspire TV viewers to further discuss and consider the issues he found important.


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