Emma Lazarus: Voice of Liberty, Voice of Conscience
Site Support Notebook

Following is a general list of films that might be used in programs related to “Emma Lazarus: Voice of Liberty, Voice of Conscience.” This is not a comprehensive list, nor is it an ALA-previewed or recommended list. It is a starter list for libraries interested in showing films. Please preview films for their appropriateness for your audience.

Each host site wishing to show films or videos to the public must arrange for public performance rights.

Swank Motion Pictures, Inc. now offers a Movie Public Performance Site License to libraries on an annual basis. Information is at

Please share information about films and videos with other libraries on the tour through the exhibition discussion list. The ALA Public Programs Office will also pass along to you any film information we find.

Avalon. Director, Barry Levinson, 1996. Writer/director Barry Levinson drew upon his immigrant heritage to create this chronicle of Jewish family life in Baltimore. As seen through the Krichinsky family, this film deals with traditional Jewish themes of assimilation, ambition, and generational conflict – the film follows the rise and decline of the Krichinsky family life as second-generation members drift away from traditions and assimilate into modern America.

Gentleman’s Agreement. Director, Elia Kazan. Performers, Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire, John Garfield, Celeste Holm. 1947. Enterprising reporter Phil Green, eager to cover a story about anti-Semitism, accepts an assignment to pen a series of exposés for a progressive magazine. Looking for a new angle, Green poses as a Jew and soon endures the full spectrum of bigotry – from being denied a job and use of public facilities to his son suffering a beating. Little by little, the journalist comes to understand the cruel effects of prejudice.

Hester Street. Director, Joan Micklin Silver. Performers, Carol Kane, Steven Keats, Mel Howard. 1975. A film about a traditional Jewish woman who travels to America in the late 1800s to reunite with her husband, but instead is met with heartache when she discovers he’s a changed man.

His People. Directed by Edward Sloman, 1925. Between 1880 and 1924 more than two million Jews from Eastern Europe arrived in America, many of them settling in poor, congested areas of big cities. This 1925 silent film tells the tale of an immigrant family whose tradition and values are all but shattered by the encounter with the New World.

The Jewish Americans. Director, David Grubin, 2008. A PBS documentary that tells the dramatic history of Jews in America. This film focuses on individual personalities and stories that chronicle the 350 year saga about immigrants who gradually wove themselves into the fabric of American life by forging a thoroughly American identity without abandoning the cherished traditions that often set them apart.

The Jewish People: A Story of Survival. Director, Andrew Goldberg, 2008. A PBS documentary that traces the history of the Jewish people, explaining how this vibrant culture has endured and thrived despite more than 4,000 years of slavery, oppression, anti-Semitism and near-genocide. Historical photos, rare documents, and interviews with noted scholars serve to illuminate how the Jews survived for centuries – while other communities vanished – under the Babylonians, Romans, Nazis, Russians, and other cruel regimes.

Molly’s Pilgrim. Director, Jeffrey D. Brown, 1985. Based on the book by Barbara Cohen, this live-action film examines the plight of a young Russian-Jewish emigrant who has come to the United States to escape religious persecution. Winner of the 1985 Academy Award for best live-action short film.

Return to Table of Contents