Shorts Program: Classic New Deal-Era Films from the National Archives


The Plow That Broke the Plains

This classic film about the Dust Bowl has been one of the most widely praised and studied documentaries to be produced in America. Its masterful use of music and edited images were to influence a generation of filmmakers.


Directed by Pare Lorentz

(USA, 1936, 29 minutes)



The River

This monumental documentary highlights the exploitation and misuse of one of our greatest natural resources – the Mississippi River.


Directed by Pare Lorentz

(USA, 1937, 32 min.)



Power and the Land

This film was intended to encourage farmers to form their own electrical cooperatives with the help of the Rural Electrification Administration. However, famed Dutch filmmaker Joris Ivens transcended this original purpose by also presenting a timeless portrait of American farm life, rich in pastoral beauty.


Directed by Joris Ivens

(USA, 1940, 39 min.)


Films showing as part of this event