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Classic Dramatic Films on DVD
What characteristics define a Drama film? Visit the “Film Genres” page on the American Movie Classics (AMC) web site to find out!
Citizen Kane by
Call Number: PN 1997 .C5 2001
Publication Date: Produced 1941; DVD released 2001
Acclaimed by many critics as the greatest movie ever made, "Citizen Kane" was directed, produced, and co-written by Orson Welles, who also starred in the lead role. The plot centers on the rise and fall of business magnate Charles Foster Kane, who bears more than a passing resemblance to real-life newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst. Following Kane’s death at the start of the film, a reporter interviews those who knew Kane in an attempt to better understand his life and the meaning of “Rosebud,” his last word.
It's a Wonderful Life by
Call Number: PN 1995.9 .C5113 I87 2001
Publication Date: Produced 1946; DVD released 2001
After suicidal small-town businessman George Bailey wishes he had never been born, an angel is sent to earth to make his wish come true. George starts to realize how many lives he has touched, and how they would be different if he had not been there. The holiday setting and poignant ending have made this family film a Christmas favorite.
A Streetcar Named Desire by
Call Number: PS 3545 .I5365 S873 1997
Publication Date: Produced 1951; DVD released 1997
Based on the play by Tennessee Williams, this Southern gothic drama follows troubled former school teacher Blanche DuBois as she leaves small-town Mississippi and moves in with her sister, Stella Kowalski, and her husband, Stanley, in New Orleans. Blanche's flirtatious presence causes problems for Stella and Stanley, who already have a volatile relationship, leading to even greater conflict in the Kowalski household.
Twelve Angry Men by
Call Number: PN 1997 .T935 T935 2001
Publication Date: Produced 1957; DVD released 2001
This behind-closed-doors look at the American legal system is as riveting as it is spare. An iconic courtroom drama, this adaptation of Reginald Rose’s teleplay examines the lone dissenting member on a jury of white men ready to pass judgment on a Puerto Rican teenager charged with murdering his father. The result is an electrifying snapshot of 1950s-era America on the verge of change, played out over a tense afternoon in one sweltering room.
Sjunde Inseglet (The Seventh Seal) by
Call Number: PN 1997 .S436 1998
Publication Date: Produced 1957; DVD released 1998
Returning exhausted from the Crusades to find medieval Sweden gripped by the plague, a knight suddenly comes face to face with the hooded figure of Death, and challenges him to a game of chess. As the fateful game progresses, and the knight and his squire encounter a gallery of outcasts from a society in despair, the film mounts a profound inquiry into the nature of faith and the torment of mortality. One of the most influential films of its time, the story is a stunning allegory of man’s search for meaning and a work of stark visual poetry.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by
Call Number: PS 3545 .I5365 C3 1999
Publication Date: Produced 1958; DVD released 1999
This adaptation of Tennessee Williams' play has all of the elements of a Southern gothic family tragedy: a dying patriarch whose greedy family can't wait to divide up his estate; the disappointment of parents in a son whose potential has gone unfulfilled; and deep, dark secrets steeped in the overheated atmosphere of a Mississippi cotton plantation.
To Kill a Mockingbird by
Call Number: PS 3558 .A625 T6 1998
Publication Date: Produced 1962; DVD released 1998
Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee, the themes of this film are just as relevant today as when it was released in 1962: racial discrimination in the criminal justice system, and every American's right to a fair trial.
Jules et Jim (Jules and Jim) by
Call Number: PQ 2635 .O1958 J85 1999
Publication Date: Produced 1962; DVD released 1999
This French-language film follows the relationship between two friends and the object of their mutual obsession over the course of 25 years. Before and after World War I, Catherine's enigmatic smile and passionate nature lure Jules and Jim into one of cinema’s most captivating romantic triangles. Their story is a poignant meditation on freedom, loyalty, and the fortitude of love, and a classic example of the French New Wave style.
Otto e mezzo (8-1/2, or Eight and a Half) by
Call Number: PN 1997 .O776 2002
Publication Date: Produced 1963; DVD released 2002
This semi-autobiographical Italian-language film examines the self-doubt and anxiety suffered by a film director who can't decide how to proceed with a science fiction project he has committed to finish. Having his wife and mistress competing for his attention only adds to the stress. The delusional quality of the fantasy sequences, which focus on the director's guilt and wish fulfillment, is a quintessential aspect of 1960s-era cinema.
Taxi Driver by
Call Number: PN 1995.9 .S87 T395 2007
Publication Date: Produced 1976; DVD released 2007
A psychologically disturbed loner works the overnight shift as a cab driver in New York, dreaming of ways he can "clean up" the corrupt city. Encounters with a campaign worker and child prostitute push him ever closer to the edge of insanity. The parallels between this story and the real-life assassination attempt it inspired are somehow both frightening and predictable in our current political climate.
Now Streaming: Films on Demand
The documentary series A Film and Its Era takes viewers behind the scenes of their favorite movies to reveal how the filmmaking process works. These episodes discuss dramatic films that are landmarks of their directors' careers.
Behind the Scenes of:
Films of Ingmar Bergman by
Call Number: PN 1998.3 .B47 H83 2007
Publication Date: 2007
Ingmar Bergman is seen as one of the world's greatest and most prolific directors, having earned his status as an indefatigable, unfaltering auteur. Throughout his long career, his films have conveyed, thematically and stylistically, various elements of illusion, including dreams, fantasies, nightmare visions, destabilized identity and the cinema as mask. This book explores these diverse elements in relation to broader concerns and perspectives, including debates about modernism, post-modernism and emerging feminist discourses on gender and multiplicity.
Rosebud: The Story of Orson Welles by
Call Number: PN 1998.3 .W45 T56 1996
Publication Date: 1996
This biography is written as a story, one that summons up the man and the artist, and does justice to the genius and the fraud; the man of the world and the solitary; the spoiled kid and the sage; the infant prodigy; the chronic fabricator of his own legend; the boy who flirted with homosexuals; the ladies' man; the youth who took Broadway and radio by storm, and rocked the nation in 1938 with an airwaves fantasy of alien invasion; the begetter of the incomparable "Citizen Kane." Here, also, is the man who famously "failed," the man who made "The Magnificent Ambersons," "Touch of Evil," "The Trial," and "Chimes at Midnight." But to author David Thomson, those allegedly lesser films are the furnishings of another kind of masterpiece: Welles' profoundly complex character. This book is also an astute film commentary that helps us appreciate "Citizen Kane" anew.