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Season 1985 1985

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  • 1985-01-16T02:00:00Z on PBS
  • 60 mins
  • 20 hours, 50 mins (21 episodes)
  • United States
  • English
  • Documentary, News, Talk Show, Drama
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Since it began in 1983, Frontline has been airing public-affairs documentaries that explore a wide scope of the complex human experience. Frontline's goal is to extend the impact of the documentary beyond its initial broadcast by serving as a catalyst for change.

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21 episodes

1985x01 Vietnam Under Communism

  • Season Premiere

    1985-01-16T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

Frontline takes a rare look inside the new Vietnam, 10 years after the fall of Saigon and the US pullout. While the Vietnamese celebrate their victory, the countryside remains scarred and war-torn. Frontline examines the legacies of the longest and most unpopular war in American history on the country where it was fought.

Seventy-two year-old James Hawkins,Sr. has turned his home and business into an armed camp. Living in the Watts section of Los Angeles, Hawkins is fighting gang members who live across Imperial Highway. It's a war being fought on the streets and in the courtroom between gang members and the Hawkins family.

The trial of gang members accused of conspiracy concludes this special two-part report. Through interviews in prison and inside the housing project where they live in the Watts section of Los Angeles, gang members talk about gangs and why they form, and the threat they pose to ordinary citizens.

1985x04 The Lifer and the Lady

  • 1985-02-06T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

He was a convicted murderer. She was a prison volunteer. They fell in love. Frontline follows the story of Ron Cooney, who tries to work his way through the prison system to parole from a life sentence, and Lesley Earl, the woman who wants to help him go straight.

1985x05 The Child Savers

  • 1985-02-13T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

Over a million cases of child abuse were reported in 1984-and the figure is growing. Frontline follows a dedicated group of case workers from the Emergency Children's Service of New York into homes where they confront violent parents and battered children.

1985x06 Down for the Count

  • 1985-02-20T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

Professional boxing is one of the most popular and profitable sports in America. It can also be fatal. Frontline goes inside the world of fighters, promoters, and fans who love the sport-and critics who say it should be banned.

1985x07 Retreat from Beirut

  • 1985-02-27T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

They went to keep the peace. But 241 died-caught in a military and political cross fire. One year after the pullout of American Marines from Lebanon, Frontline correspondent William Greider examines the decision and asks: Where should Americans die, and what should they die for?

1985x08 Buying the Bomb

  • 1985-03-06T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh presents his first television investigation for Frontline. After six months of work, Hersh uncovers the story of a Pakistani businessman who tried to ship electrical devices which can be used as nuclear bomb triggers out of the US to Pakistan.

1985x09 A Class Divided

  • 1985-03-27T02:00:00Z — 53 mins

Almost 20 years ago, the day after Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed, a teacher in a small town in Iowa tried a daring classroom experiment. She decided to treat children with blue eyes as superior to children with brown eyes. Frontline explores what those children learned about discrimination and how it still affects them today.

1985x10 Potomac Fever

  • 1985-04-03T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

Every two years, a desire to represent their home districts in Washington brings a group of first-time freshmen congressmen to the nation's capital on the shores of the Potomac river. Frontline follows two newly elected representatives from their homes to Washington where they experience the rewards-and the frustrations-of making the transition from citizen to congressman.

From the Spanish-American War in 1898 until the 1950's, US preeminence in Central America and the Caribbean was never successfully challenged. Part 1 looks at these turbulent years that set the stage for today's crises-from the glory days of building the Panama Canal, through the early US Marine occupation of Nicaragua, to the Cold War crisis in Guatemala in 1954, which resulted in the CIA's first 'covert' war in the region.

The Cuban revolution of the 1950's was the first successful challenge to US preeminence in the Western hemisphere. Part 2 looks at the roots of the revolution, Fidel Castro's rise to power, the establishment of the first Communist state in the Americas, the support for his revolution abroad, and Cuba's troubled history with the United States.

In 1979, the Sandinistas led a revolution that overthrew the Somoza dynasty which had ruled Nicaragua for almost 50 years. It was a revolution the US first tried to prevent, then tried to court, and later tried to undermine. Part 3 traces the evolution of US involvement in Nicaragua and the struggle for control of the revolution.

Many Americans had never heard of El Salvador until a few years ago. It is now the focus of American policy in Central America. Part 4 traces the evolution of El Salvador's civil war and the US policy toward El Salvador.

1985x15 Men Who Molest

  • 1985-04-17T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

Experts estimate there are at least four million child sexual abusers in the US, and they do not fit our stereotypes. Almost half of those guilty of incest also molest children outside the family. Many also commit adult rape-and they come from every social background. Should they be treated, punished, or both? Frontline examines a controversial Seattle, Washington, program aimed at treating child sexual abusers.

One in four American citizens is Catholic, yet few seem to agree with-or follow-every doctrine and practice of their church. Frontline examines the conflicts within the American Catholic Church and its ongoing struggle with the Vatican.

1985x17 The American Way of War

  • 1985-05-01T01:00:00Z — 60 mins

Frontline examines the complex relationship between the US Army, its fighting doctrine, the American people, and the government in an effort to understand the army's role in fighting modern wars.

1985x18 Memory of the Camps

  • 1985-05-08T01:00:00Z — 57 mins

Forty years ago, Allied troops invaded Germany and liberated Nazi death camps. They found unspeakable horrors which still haunt the world's conscience. Frontline presents the world broadcast of a 1945 film made by British and American film crews who were with the troops liberating the camps. The film was directed in part by Alfred Hitchcock and is broadcast for the first time in its entirety on Frontline.

1985x19 You are in the Computer

  • 1985-05-15T01:00:00Z — 60 mins

You go to rent an apartment and are turned down without any obvious reason. Then you find out your name is in a computer file of undesirable tenants and every other landlord in the city has access to the information. Correspondent Robert Krulwich investigates computerized information systems and the issues of privacy they raise.

1985x20 What about Mom and Dad?

  • 1985-05-22T01:00:00Z — 60 mins

Americans over the age of 75 are the fastest growing segment of the nation's population. Many have spent all their lives planning carefully for retirement. But they find their savings destroyed by nursing home care and federal programs for medical costs covering much less than they ever thought. When they turn to their families for help, difficult emotional and financial choices must be made.

1985x21 Breaking the Bank

  • 1985-05-29T01:00:00Z — 60 mins

In 1984, there were more bank failures in the US than at any time since the Great Depression. Correspondent Judy Woodruff investigates one of the largest banks that failed, Penn Square in Oklahoma City, and another which nearly failed, Continental Illinois in Chicago, to examine the implications on the nation's banking system.

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