This month, the Bioethics Research Library (BRL) added several classic films to its collection of DVDs available to students. Here are a few of our favorites:
A Beautiful Mind: A human drama inspired by events in the life of John Forbes Nash Jr., and in part based on the biography A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar. From the heights of notoriety to the depths of depravity, John Forbes Nash Jr. experienced it all. A mathematical genius, he made an astonishing discovery early in his career and stood on the brink of international acclaim. But the handsome and arrogant Nash soon found himself on a painful and harrowing journey of self-discovery.
Ordinary People: Ordinary People is a 1980 American drama that marked the directorial debut of actor Robert Redford. It stars Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch and Timothy Hutton. The story concerns the disintegration of an upper-middle class family in Lake Forest, Illinois, following the death of one of their sons in a boating accident. The screenplay by Alvin Sargent was based upon the 1976 novel Ordinary People by Judith Guest. The film received six Academy Award nominations and won four: the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Director for Redford, Adapted Screenplay for Sargent, and Supporting Actor for Hutton.
If These Walls Could Talk: A 1996 made-for-cable film, broadcast on HBO, If These Walls Could Talk follows the plights of three different women and their experiences with abortion. Each of the three stories takes place in the same house, 22 years apart: 1952, 1974, and 1996, in an effort to portray women coping with unplanned pregnancies in various social climates.
Brian’s Song: Brian’s Song is a 1971 ABC Movie of the Week that recounts the details of the life of Brian Piccolo (played by James Caan), a Wake Forest University football player stricken with terminal cancer after turning pro, told through his friendship with Chicago Bears running back teammate and Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers (Billy Dee Williams), who helps him through the difficult struggle. The movie is based on Sayers’ account of his friendship with Piccolo and coping with Piccolo’s illness in Sayers’ autobiography, I Am Third.
Secret People: When her father is murdered, Maria (Valentina Cortese) moves to London with her young sister. They live with Anselmo (Charles Goldner), a family friend, and resume a normal life. After a few years, Maria and her sister, Nora (Audrey Hepburn), visit Paris with Anselmo. There, Maria meets an old love, Louis (Serge Reggiani), who has become a radical and currently plots to assassinate a world leader. Louis uses Maria to enter London and then convinces her to begrudgingly join their terrorist group.
Cocoon: Cocoon is a 1985 American science fiction fantasy comedy-drama film directed by Ron Howard about a group of elderly people rejuvenated by aliens. The movie stars Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn, Brian Dennehy, Jack Gilford, Steve Guttenberg, Maureen Stapleton, Jessica Tandy, Gwen Verdon, Herta Ware, Tahnee Welch, and Linda Harrison. The film is loosely based on the novel of the same name by David Saperstein.
Junior: Junior is a 1994 American comedy film directed and produced by Ivan Reitman, and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito and Emma Thompson. The film was released in the United States on November 23, 1994. The film follows Alex Hesse, an Austrian-American scientist who agrees to undergo a male pregnancy as part of a scientific experiment
Coma: In Coma, Boston medical resident Susan Wheeler (Geneviève Bujold) becomes suspicious when her friend (Lois Chiles) is left in an irreversible coma after a routine procedure. Once she uncovers evidence of other patients being left in comas after undergoing procedures in the same operating room, she fears a conspiracy is afoot. When her physician boyfriend, Mark Bellows (Michael Douglas), is skeptical about her findings, Susan must go it alone to uncover the horrible truth.