I Need To Know : American movies that deal with social class ?

American movies that deal with social class ?

Or with social stratification or social unequality ?

I've seen so many American movies, but I can't remember many that deal with these things.

And if they do, they usually present the fairy tale of the
'poor man/woman who made it because the US are such a great equal opportunity country'.
The protagonists are usually presented as heroes that overcome the social restrictions.
(see f.e. "Joy" or "Hidden Figures", but these are more about gender & race)

In British cinema the 'social class' has always been a vital subject, from Joseph Losey's "The Servant" (1963)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057490/,
James Ivory's "The Remains of the Day" (1993)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107943/?ref_=nv_sr_2
to the work of Alan Clarke, Ken Loach, Stephen Frears and Mike Leigh.
But here the protagonists are usually no heroes and mostly fail to change anything.

Where can you see that in American cinema ?

The best examples I could think of are "Blue Collar" (1978) by Paul Schrader
and "Heaven's Gate" (1980) by Michael Cimino.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077248/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080855/?ref_=nv_sr_5

Do you know more ?

(I wanted to check out this forum before it's gone ;-)


Thank you & Have a nice day

Re: American movies that deal with social class ?

Anybody ?

No social class movies in America ?

Re: American movies that deal with social class ?

Maybe not in the classical sense. I wonder if you'd consider Citizen Kane or the Great Gatsby as being about social class? There's My Fair Lady, of course. I'm thinking Planet of the Apes and Brave New World as having themes of stratification.

Re: American movies that deal with social class ?


Maybe not in the classical sense. I wonder if you'd consider Citizen Kane or the Great Gatsby as being about social class? There's My Fair Lady, of course. I'm thinking Planet of the Apes and Brave New World as having themes of stratification.


Thank you!

I thought of "My Fair Lady", too, but for some reason I thought it was a British production…

"Citizen Kane" is an interesting case. I need to see it again, but you're probably right.

I never thought of "Planet…" and "Brave New World" as 'class' movies, but you can see it that way

Actually, there's another SciFi-Fantasy-movie about class called "Snowpiercer".
It's pretty unique, nearly Marxist in its view of 'class struggle'.
A masterpiece:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1706620/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

But it's not really an American production.

I read that distributor Harvey Weinstein even wanted to change it for US release, but the director
campaigned against it. Then Weinstein dropped it to VOD.
But it was a massive hit in South Korea.

Re: American movies that deal with social class ?


I never thought of "Planet…" and "Brave New World" as 'class' movies, but you can see it that way
Well, I concur with OhNooos.

Re: American movies that deal with social class ?

Society
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098354/?ref_=nv_sr_5


Sir Guy Grand-I like school of Rembrandt
Youngman Grand-St.Rembrandt's high

Re: American movies that deal with social class ?

Bordertown (1935)

An American Tragedy and it's remake, A Place in the Sun

The Great Gatsby, in a way.

Stella Dallas

Re: American movies that deal with social class ?

The Age of Innocence focuses on the repressiveness of high society in 19th century New York.

Social inequality is shown in any movie about slavery or African American history.

Re: American movies that deal with social class ?

Off the top of my head, there's The Prince of Tides, The Greatest Game Ever Played, Titanic, The Skulls, Deliverance and Showgirls. I guess, there's also Sleepy Hollow.


And if they do, they usually present the fairy tale of the
'poor man/woman who made it because the US are such a great equal opportunity country'.
I'm not sure what to make of that. Sounds kind of anti-American or, at the very least, Marxist. Regardless, I don't recall seeing any movies that implied there was great equal opportunity. So, there's that. I hope I'm mistaken in detecting sophism here. You may simply have to lay down a more succinct criteria, in order to receive the desire assistance from US. Anyway, "social class" is kind of complicated. Are you simply looking for movies in which people from starkly contrasted income levels interact? Still, there's the issue of how upbringing has an impact on a person's "class", as it affects his/her conduct. Some people are richer or poorer than their parents, but so they're kind of like between "classes". A person can have low-class grandparents and low-class grandchildren at the same time, with the parents and children being in an "either or" situation.

Re: American movies that deal with social class ?

Re: American movies that deal with social class ?

That's one of the things I love about many of Mike Leigh's films. A more realistic depiction of the poor without the sappy fairy tale ending.

Some titles that touch on the subject.

It Happened on Fifth Avenue (1947)

Dutch (1991)

Short Cuts (1993)

Anywhere But Here (1999)

Slums of Beverly Hills (1998)



Below is a link to my other unsolved threads.
http://www.imdb.com/board/bd0000001/thread/265796345




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Re: American movies that deal with social class ?

Thank you all !

Some titles like "The Great Gatsby", "Trading Places" and "Titanic" have a strong social class theme, that's true.

I will check all the others out.

--

2 more films came to my mind:

"American Psycho" (2000):
It shows the top 1% as a closed society.
The rich are born rich and stay rich.
The rest of society doesn't matter to them.
(Donald Trump is Patrick Bateman's hero in the book & he has a 1-page 'cameo', I think)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0144084/?ref_=nv_sr_1

And maybe "Barfly" (1987) with Mickey Rourke.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092618/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

Re: American movies that deal with social class ?

Also, consider Mel Brooks' Life Stinks.

Re: American movies that deal with social class ?

I second the notion that anything involving race shows class struggle in the US and there are some excellent films on that.

It's comedy, but still about class: The Beverly Hillbillies. The TV show is classic, the movie was stupid, but an affectionate nod to the TV series.

It's amazing how often this comes up in Sci-fi. The Hunger Games contrasts the coal minors from the very wealthy in the city, but that's more about political oppression.

Re: American movies that deal with social class ?


It's amazing how often this comes up in Sci-fi.
I know. There seems to be many more futuristic or post-apocalyptic stories that deal with American social stratification than contemporary ones.

Re: American movies that deal with social class ?


It's comedy, but still about class: The Beverly Hillbillies. The TV show is classic, the movie was stupid, but an affectionate nod to the TV series.

You can also throw in Ma and Pa Kettle, then. They weren't rich, but Pa won a modern home and many of the movies have them running into people better off than they are. In one Pa is mistaken for a wealthy businessman. One of their daughters married a well-to-do kid's son.

Re: American movies that deal with social class ?

Little Man Tate

Maid in Manhattan

Love the Hard Way



How about the Preston Sturges classic …

...Sullivan's Travels (1941)?
How about most of Frank Capra's films?
What about Sam Wood's The Devil and Miss Jones (1941), where department store owner Charles Coburn goes to live & work with the under-class who are his employees?
How about John Ford's The Grapes of Wrath (1940)?

"As quickly as you can ... snatch the pebble from my hand." Honga-Hula!

Re: American movies that deal with social class ?

A biggie no one has mentioned is Dead End (1937).

Re: American movies that deal with social class ?

To Kill a Mockingbird and A Gentleman's Agreement are two that spring to mind off the top of my head.

Norm

Re: American movies that deal with social class ?

Karate Kid (original version)
The Breakfast Club
Some Kind of Wonderful
Flamingo Kid
Dirty Dancing
Blackboard Jungle

I hope this helps and is what you're looking for.

https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/petition-to-keep-the-imdb-messageboards-going#

https://www.change.org/p/imdb-stop-imdb-from-disabling-the-message-boards

"Forget reality, give me a picture"-Remington Steele

Re: American movies that deal with social class ?

Barry Levinson's Avalon and Liberty Heights deal with social mobility, ethnicity, and class.

A Raisin the Sun

Auntie Mame (a comic approach, but it takes on bigotry and social class directly)

Giant.

Re: American movies that deal with social class ?

Homebodies (1974) deals with the gentrification of neighborhoods and forcing out the older people on fixed incomes. Harry and Tonto (1974) also touches on the subject.

This is a link to my unsolved threads.http://www.imdb.com/board/bd0000001/thread/265796345



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Re: American movies that deal with social class ?

Movies with Ali Macgraw in them, especially

Goodbye Columbus

Love Story

She's rich, he's not in the first. He's rich, she's not in the second.


And a big one we've all forgotten to mention

Five Easy Pieces

Did anybody mention Pretty Woman and Sabrina? Cinderella type pictures.

Re: American movies that deal with social class ?

Thanks a lot!

Some of the movies I'm not sure about: Not every movie that shows poverty, social unequality, social mobility or social injustice (race, gender, age, ethnicity, health care, education, job opportunity etc.) is automatically about 'class' and its borders...but it has certainly to do with it.

F.e. "Rocky" (1976) certainly shows poverty etc., but does it have any 'class conscience' or 'class knowledge'? By presenting the fairy tale of 'everybody can make it if he tries hard enough' these 'cinderella films' (great term btw) basically say: "Social class is not as bad & if you don't make it, it's simply because you didn't try hard enough, pal!"


One very interesting case that popped into my head today is Terrence Malick.

People usually forget that his first films "Badlands" (1973)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0069762/?ref_=nv_sr_2
and "Days of Heaven" (1978)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077405/?ref_=nv_sr_1
deal with the working class and the injustices they suffer.

Martin Sheen plays a garbage man in "Badlands", who never had any chance
and is not educated enough to escape from his fate.

Richard Gere plays a farm worker, who's basically a good man, but the brutal social forces pressure him into becoming a 'con man' and a 'john' who gives the
love of his life to a rich, ill man (Sam Shepard) - to gain money and social status.

Reviewers talk only about how beautiful these films are - which is true - but rarely even mention that they have a nearly anti-capitalist and socialist view of society.

There is a strong difference in philosophy between these two early Malick films
and his later films beginning with "The Thin Red Line" (1998).

Malick's later films are mostly Christian films now, while religion/spirituality wasn't any subject in his first two films.

Only "Knight of Cups" (2015) is interested again in showing social problems and ills. It's actually one of the few films about L.A. that dares to show the poverty in Skid Row. (Isn't it amazing, that this city produces 1000+ films a year, but usually pretends that Downtown & Beverly Hills is representative of L.A.?)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2101383/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Why is it, that Malick is always treated like 'the man who loves nature and birds too much', but never as a serious artist who clearly sees the worst in American society?

It's a failure of many American critics, too, who have no real interest in social issues and class anymore.

Many live in this delusion that they are 'cultural critics',
while they only provide free services as advertisers for new products.
And when they stop to write 'nice', they don't get free DVDs anymore
or nobody cites them on the covers.

Maybe the vote for Trump and its reasons will fuel a new interest
in social class & injustices, because many voted for him because they
are fed up with the status quo.

"will fuel a new interest in social class & injustices"

Not among the Trump administration, I'll warrant.

Trump and his cabinet are more like the Duke brothers in Trading Places (1983); all billionaire pals together. (Does that mean the average Trump voter = Eddie Murphy?)

"As quickly as you can ... snatch the pebble from my hand." Honga-Hula!

Re: "will fuel a new interest in social class & injustices"


Not among the Trump administration, I'll warrant.

Trump and his cabinet are more like the Duke brothers in Trading Places (1983); all billionaire pals together. (Does that mean the average Trump voter = Eddie Murphy?)


We'll see about that

I, too, think it's funny that the American working and middle class
put all their hope into a billionaire like Trump.
But on the other side, this might give him the independence
to change things.

At least his victory showed a stronger divide in the US,
than many academics or media thought existed:
We're talking about groups of people, who live in the same country,
but have totally different interests & hate each other.

The American working class feels left behind
by the elites, who invested in low-cost countries to
save money.

It's not 'class struggle' in the Marxist sense,
because the ruthless exploitation is missing.

The new form of social conflict should be called 'class ignorance'
or 'class divide'.





"the ruthless exploitation is missing"

Well, I don't know about that ... maybe not as much as in the Depression, but the big corporations are not well-known for their TLC.

"As quickly as you can ... snatch the pebble from my hand." Honga-Hula!
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