Critical Look at Film’s Place in Culture Returns Nov. 5
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) announced today its series “Reframed” will return for a second year focusing on “Films That Shaped Our Culture,” beginning Nov. 5 with I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932). TCM Host Ben Mankiewicz will introduce the movies with help from film historian Donald Bogle, filmmaker Kimberly Peirce, screenwriter Larry Karaszewski, and film critic Molly Haskell.
Films have always reflected culture, and this series will continue to celebrate the movies that have brought about change or forced society to challenge current ways of thinking.
This new season will shine a spotlight on 16 films that were groundbreaking for their time—films that challenged and surprised viewers, encouraged them to rethink attitudes and prejudices, paved the way for meaningful changes in society and led the country in new directions.
“We all know that films can both reflect and impact society. At TCM we are invested in creating a conversation around classic films that highlights this dynamic,” said Pola Changnon, General Manager of TCM. “The 16 films in this series were so thoughtfully curated and we’re grateful to have the perspective and expertise of our guest co-hosts.”
Films and topics include:
- I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) inspired laws requiring humane treatment of inmates
- Imitation of Life (1934) was one of the first major Hollywood productions to show two women building a business together as well as to portray African Americans seriously and with agency
- The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) brought awareness to the issues faced by veterans, including PTSD, physical disability, and alcoholism
- Gentlemen’s Agreement (1947) shined a spotlight on anti-Semitism in the U.S.
- The Snake Pit (1948) triggered reform in the terrible conditions that were common in mental institutions
- Blackboard Jungle (1955) was a starting point for the teenage rebellion and made “Rock Around the Clock” a hit, considered by many responsible for making rock ‘n roll the dominant force in American music
- Flower Drum Song (1961) featured an almost all-Asian cast, without the yellowface that had been so prominent in Hollywood films at that time
- Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967) may seem shallow when watching today, but it came out the year interracial marriages became legal throughout the country and played a key role in changing cultural attitudes on the subject
- The Boys in the Band (1970) was made at a time when most Americans didn’t know any “out” gay people, so this film allowed mainstream audiences to see sympathetic gay men on screen who battled discrimination and a society that didn’t accept them
- The China Syndrome (1979) was released just two weeks before the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident and solidified the American public’s view on nuclear power
- Children of a Lesser God (1986) introduced the country to a strong, independent deaf woman who encounters many of the same issues experienced by the hearing world
- Philadelphia (1993), starring two of the biggest movie stars of the time, Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, brought awareness and compassion to the AIDS crisis
- Boys Don’t Cry (1999) raised awareness to the lives of transgender people and the discrimination they face
- Super Size Me (2004) helped inspire the national trend toward healthier diets and cleaner eating, and encouraged fast food restaurants to offer healthier menu options and reduce portion sizes
- Brokeback Mountain (2005), with no talk of politics, was just a simple tale of forbidden love. But ultimately this story of romance between two cowboys resonated coast to coast, with theaters in Iowa, Oklahoma and Missouri needing to add screenings because of high demand
- An Inconvenient Truth (2006) spurred funding for climate organizations and legislation at the local, state, and federal levels
In 2021, TCM launched Reframed to critical acclaim, taking a look at iconic classic films that may seem culturally problematic to a 21st century audience.
For more information, please visit the TCM website.
About Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is a two-time Peabody Award-winning network that presents classic films, uncut and commercial-free, from the largest film libraries in the world highlighting “where then meets now.” TCM features the insights from Primetime host Ben Mankiewicz along with hosts Alicia Malone, Dave Karger, Jacqueline Stewart and Eddie Muller, plus interviews with a wide range of special guests and serves as the ultimate movie lover destination. With more than two decades as a leading authority in classic film, TCM offers critically acclaimed series like The Essentials, along with annual programming events like 31 Days of Oscar® and Summer Under the Stars. TCM also directly connects with movie fans through popular events such as the annual TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood, the TCM Big Screen Classics screening series, and the TCM Classic Cruise. In addition, TCM produces the wildly successful podcast “The Plot Thickens,” which has had more than 6 million downloads to date. TCM hosts a wealth of material online at tcm.com and through the Watch TCM mobile app. Fans can also enjoy a classic movie experience on the Classics Curated by TCM hub on HBO Max.