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Season 1987 1987

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  • 1987-01-28T02:00:00Z on PBS
  • 60 mins
  • 20 hours, 0 mins (20 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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20 episodes

1987x01 The Real Stuff

  • Season Premiere

    1987-01-28T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

One year after the Challenger disaster, Frontline examined the all-too-human side of the space program as seen through the eyes of the astronauts and engineers responsible for making it work. Correspondent James Reston tells the inside story of a program plagued by problems and politics.

1987x02 The Earthquake is Coming

  • 1987-02-04T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

Frontline examines the startling implications of what will happen when the big earthquake hits California, detailing the awesome effects as systems rupture and the entire nation's economy, industries, and national security are jeopardized.

1987x03 Stopping Drugs (1)

  • 1987-02-11T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

A two-part special examining efforts to stamp out drugs. Part 1 examines the personal struggles of addicts trying to kick the habit and the effectiveness of drug treatment programs.

1987x04 Stopping Drugs (2)

  • 1987-02-18T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

A two-part special examining efforts to stamp out drugs. Part 2 journeys into America's schools to find out if drugs are really a major problem and if anti-drug efforts are working.

1987x05 The Nazi Connection

  • 1987-02-25T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

German scientists were responsible for putting the first American on the moon. Now, 15 years later, government investigators are asking whether some of them were also responsible for Nazi war crimes. Frontline examines their war records and the role of American officials who decided to bring them to the United States.

1987x06 Desperately Seeking Baby

  • 1987-03-04T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

Two million American couples desperately want babies and can't have them. They are turning to private adoption deals brokered by lawyers and counselors. Sometimes they get a new baby and a happy home; sometimes their hearts are broken. Frontline looks at a system filled with ambiguity and heartbreak.

1987x07 Street Cop

  • 1987-04-01T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

Frontline takes a gritty look at street cops. In Boston's busiest, most violent police district, they confront the never-ending calls for help and the never-ending chase after drugs.

1987x08 The Secret File

  • 1987-04-15T01:00:00Z — 60 mins

How could an ordinary citizen be considered a national security risk? Penn Kimball, a university professor, former New York Times editor, Rhodes scholar, and Eagle Scout, was stunned to discover that for 30 years, government files existed declaring him as a disloyal American. As he tries to clear his name, Frontline examines the government decision to gather information on American citizens.

1987x09 War on Nicaragua

  • 1987-04-22T01:00:00Z — 60 mins

As the Iran-contra scandal was still unfolding, Frontline correspondent William Greider revealed how the US began supporting the contras in Nicaragua and why our involvement there continues. The program is a meticulous reconstruction of US policy toward Nicaragua, and an investigation into how US foreign policy is made.

1987x10 The Bombing of West Philly

  • 1987-05-06T01:00:00Z — 60 mins

'I could hear the bullets all around me, hitting all around the house. I was forced back by gunfire,' says Ramona Africa, the only adult survivor of MOVE, a small, violent, urban cult. Years of tension ended May 13, 1985, when police bombed Africa's house. The surrounding neighborhood burned out of control, leaving 250 homeless. Frontline correspondent Leon Dash examines why the bombing really happened.

The day Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos fled the Philippines in 1986, they left with $8.9 million in jewelry, cash, and bonds. But the Philippine government claims they took much more, plundering the wealth of the nation, stashing it in fake companies and secret bank accounts. Frontline tracked hundreds of millions of dollars of the Marcos money and asked whether the Philippine government will ever get it back.

1987x12 Israel: The Price of Victory

  • 1987-06-03T01:00:00Z — 60 mins

The Six Day War was a decisive victory for Israel. But many Israelis feel that something has gone wrong. On the war's twentieth anniversary, Frontline finds a nation struggling with its image and its role as a democracy and reveals what has happened to the dream.

1987x13 Death of a Porn Queen

  • 1987-06-10T01:00:00Z — 60 mins

She was from Minnesota. Young, pretty, and fresh. She went to Hollywood in search of a dream and found herself in X-rated movies, on drugs, and estranged from her family and friends. Correspondent Al Austin retraces her story, discovering why after two years as a porn queen, she took her own life.

1987x14 Keeping the Faith

  • 1987-06-17T01:00:00Z — 60 mins

The black church was once the soul of its community. It was a rallying point and a force for change. Now, as the black middle class grows and the church evolves, correspondent Roger Wilkins asks whom does it serve and to what end?

1987x15 The Politics of Greed

  • 1987-06-24T01:00:00Z — 60 mins

As corruption scandals rock New York City, the careers of dozens of high officials are being destroyed. Frontline takes an inside look at the seamy side of urban politics and asks whether this is any way to run a government.

1987x16 Apartheid Part I: 1652-1948

  • 1987-12-15T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

Many white South Africans claim that the entire country is theirs by right. No black man, they say, occupied South Africa before the first tiny Dutch settlement in 1652. Part 1 refutes this claim and traces the country's colonial history, the emergence early in the 20th century of the African National Congress, the rise to power of Afrikaner nationalists, and the formal policy of apartheid.

1987x17 Apartheid Part 2: 1948-1963

  • 1987-12-15T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

Part 2 details the new policy which included classifying all South Africans by race, removing blacks from cities where many had lived for generations, and establishing separate and unequal schooling for blacks. Frontline focuses on the increasing black resistance in the 1950s and the rise of resistance leader Nelson Mandela.

1987x18 Apartheid Part 3: 1963-1977

  • 1987-12-16T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

'Independent homelands' for blacks was the centerpiece of Prime Minister Hendrick Verwoerd's vision of apartheid. Part 3 focuses on how the white government found African leaders to collaborate with them in a plan to make foreigners of black South African citizens by deporting them to independent homelands in rural areas of the country. The program looks at the increased resistance to the homeland policy as seen through the first nationwide attack by young black South Africans in the Soweto ghetto in 1976.

1987x19 Apartheid Part 4: 1978-1986

  • 1987-12-16T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

When PW Botha became prime minister of South Africa two years after the Soweto uprising in 1976, he realized that apartheid must 'adapt or die.' Part 4 explores the reforms undertaken by Botha to maintain white supremacy, changes that have deeply divided Afrikaners and have provoked explosive reactions from many blacks.

1987x20 Apartheid Part 5: 1987

  • 1987-12-17T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

Part 5 looks at an unprecedented meeting in the struggle for South Africa's future. Two years before the release of Nelson Mandela, dissident white Afrikaners met with black leaders from the outlawed African National Congress in Dakar, Senagal, to discuss strategies for change in South Africa, presaging the reforms that would come later.

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