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McCarthyism & Red Scare Movies & TV

On The Waterfront (1954)

Marlon Brando delivers one of his finest performances ever as the conflicted hero of On The Waterfront, director Elia Kazan's allegorical defense of his own choice to "name names" before the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

One of the great science fiction films of all time, the original version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (there have been several remakes) captures better than any other film the pervasive sense of fear that defined the early Cold War era.

Storm Center (1956)

In contrast to Kazan's On the Waterfront, Storm Center delves into the ordeals faced by those who challenged McCarthy's anti-Communist crusade. It stars Bette Davis as a heroic small-town librarian who refuses to pull a Communist book off the shelves, even though the decision jeopardizes her job and makes her vulnerable to accusations of being a Communist herself.

Roman Holiday (1953)

This hit romantic comedy features Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn, two of the era's biggest stars. Dalton Trumbo, one of the blacklisted Hollywood Ten, crafted the film's screenplay under a pseudonym and ultimately won an Oscar for his work despite being unable to receive on-screen credit in his own name.

Good Night, and Good Luck (2005)

Who challenged Senator Joseph McCarthy's witch hunts in the 1950s, and why? This recent historical drama, written and directed by George Clooney, tells the story of CBS reporter Edward R. Murrow and his producer Fred W. Friendly, two men who risked their careers to expose McCarthy as a paranoid fearmonger.

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