This is “Recommended Viewing”, section 4.6 from the book 21st Century American Government and Politics (v. 1.0).
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Bowling for Columbine (2002). Michael Moore’s quirky documentary on the United States’ “gun culture.”
Cool Hand Luke (1967). A convict (Paul Newman) becomes a hero to fellow inmates by resisting cruel prison authorities.
Dead Man Walking (1995). Film of Sister Helen Prejean’s memoir of her ethical, emotional, and spiritual conflicts in counseling a white-trash racist (Sean Penn) on death row.
The Farm (1998). Absorbing documentary of six inmates of the maximum-security Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.
Gideon’s Trumpet (1980). TV version of Anthony Lewis’s book about Clarence Gideon (Henry Fonda), the indigent who went to the Supreme Court to force the state to provide him with a lawyer.
Inherit the Wind (1960). A dramatization of the Scopes trial over teaching evolution in public schools.
Minority Report (2002). In a future world, where technology allows police to arrest people before they commit crimes, wrongly accused cop (Tom Cruise) fights to save his name.
School Prayer (1999). Riveting documentary about a Mississippi mother who sues her local school district to remove prayer and Bible classes—and about the outrage that ensues.
The Thin Blue Line (1988). Errol Morris’s film, combining documentary and fictional techniques, investigates the murder of a Dallas police officer and results in freeing an innocent man who had been convicted of the crime.