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Season 1990 1990

  • 1990-01-24T02:00:00+00:00 on PBS
  • 60 mins
  • 1 day, 5 hours, 0 mins (29 episodes)
  • United States
  • English
  • Documentary, News

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.

29 episodes

1990x01 The Bombing of Pan Am 103

  • Season Premiere

    1990-01-24T02:00:00+00:00 — 60 mins

Frontline profiles the efforts of the surviving families of the 270 people killed in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988, to seek justice for their loved ones. The families' crusade focuses attention on issues of airline and airport security, on the lack of coordination between international police and intelligence services, and on whether the US government has the will and means to respond effectively against terrorists and the countries that support them.

1990x02 The Noriega Connection

  • 1990-01-31T02:00:00+00:00 — 60 mins

In the wake of the US invasion of Panama, Frontline tracks the rise and fall of General Manuel Noriega and investigates the confusion and duplicity in the US government's long relationship with the fallen dictator.

1990x03 Miss USSR

  • 1990-02-07T02:00:00+00:00 — 60 mins

Frontline goes behind the scenes at the Soviet Union's first national beauty pageant with an intimate, bittersweet examination of the status and struggles of women in the USSR.

1990x04 Throwaway People

  • 1990-02-14T02:00:00+00:00 — 60 mins

Correspondent Roger Wilkins investigates the economic and social roots of the black underclass, focusing on the struggle of young black men in one neighborhood in Washington, DC.

1990x05 The Faces of Arafat

  • 1990-02-28T02:00:00+00:00 — 60 mins

In the wake of PLO chairman Yasir Arafat's historic declaration that he has rejected terrorism and now recognizes Israel's right to exist, correspondent Marie Colvin profiles the Palestinian leader, follows his peace initiatives, and examines his commitment to fulfill his new promises.

1990x06 Anatomy of an Oil Spill

  • 1990-03-21T02:00:00+00:00 — 60 mins

In the black, early morning hours of Good Friday, 1989, the supertanker Exxon Valdez went aground on Bligh Reef, spilling millions of gallons of crude oil into Alaska's Prince William Sound. Frontline correspondent Jon Tuttle investigates the long history of complacency, negligence, and broken promises by government agencies and oil companies that led to this disaster.

1990x07 Poland - The Morning After

  • 1990-03-28T03:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

In the summer of 1989, Poland astonished the world by starting the revolution which has swept Eastern Europe. Solidarity, the once-banned independent trade union, took power in a coalition government ending 45 years of Communist repression. In this report, Frontline examines a society attempting something which has never been done-changing overnight from Communism to capitalism.

1990x08 Born in Africa

  • 1990-04-04T02:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

Philly Bongoley Lutaaya was a celebrated singer musician from Uganda who died of AIDS in December 1989. But he died a national hero because he gave his nation new hope in battling the devastation of the disease. This Frontline AIDS Quarterly special, narrated by Peter Jennings, chronicles Philly Lutaaya's remarkable last year of life as he travelled across Uganda in a crusade to help stop the spread of AIDS, even as the disease ravaged his body.

1990x09 New Harvest, Old Shame

  • 1990-04-18T02:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

Thirty years after Edward R. Murrow's 'Harvest of Shame,' Frontline correspondent David Marash looks at the continuing plight of migrant farm workers and explores the forces that keep their lives so desperate.

1990x10 Hilary in Hiding

  • 1990-04-25T02:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

In 1989, Dr. Elizabeth Morgan was freed from prison after serving the longest detention for civil contempt in American history-25 months. Dr. Morgan had refused a court order to reveal the whereabouts of her daughter, Hilary, who Morgan believed had been sexually assaulted by Hilary's father, Dr. Eric Foretich. In February 1990, Hilary was discovered living in New Zealand with her grandparents. Frontline explores both sides of the troubling case.

1990x11 Other People's Money

  • 1990-05-02T02:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

The savings and loan scandal is the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression and will cost US taxpayers an estimated $315 billion. Frontline investigates Charles Keating, Jr., and the role politics played in the $2.5 billion failure of his Lincoln Savings and Loan.

1990x12 Plunder!

  • 1990-05-09T02:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

Frontline correspondent Carl Nagin investigates the looting of pre-Columbian tombs in Latin America and the trafficking of stolen artifacts, exposing a trail that leads to auction houses, galleries, museums, and private collections in the United States.

1990x13 Seven Days in Bensonhurst

  • 1990-05-16T02:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

The 1989 murder of Yusef Hawkins by white youths in the Bensonhurst section of New York City set off a racial and political fire storm. On the eve of the first verdicts in the murder case, writer Shelby Steele returns to talk to the participants and tries to unravel the forces that propelled this racial crisis.

1990x14 Inside the Cartel

  • 1990-05-23T02:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

How serious is Colombia's war on drugs? Frontline investigates the drug cartels in Medellin and Cali and demonstrates how they've become part of the country's political and economic life.

1990x15 Teacher, Teacher

  • 1990-06-13T02:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

Frontline explores the hopes and frustrations of public school teachers in one mid-western town as they face the threat of funding cutbacks, the criticism of parents, and a growing number of troubled children from troubled homes.

1990x16 The Arming of Iraq

  • 1990-09-12T02:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

Frontline examines how Saddam Hussein built Iraq's massive arsenal of tanks, planes, missiles, and chemical weapons during the 1980's. Correspondent Hodding Carter investigates the complicity of the US, European governments, and Western corporations in creating the Iraqi military machine the world is now trying to stop.

Adrian Cowell's epic, ten-year-long series begins with a tale reminiscent of the American Wild West. A Brazilian settler brings his family to live deep in the Amazon, in Indian territory. Two of his sons are murdered and another is kidnapped by a renegade Indian tribe. For four years, a government expedition searches for the Indians and the child. Meanwhile, the colonists' expansion continues to encroach on the Indians' land. The series follows landless peasants as they are lured to the forest with promises of free land and big harvests. As the forest is slashed and burned, the crisis is taken to the US Congress, where under pressure, the World Bank finally changes its policies toward Brazilian development.

Part II follows the land wars which broke out as millions of poor farmers migrated to massive ranches in the Brazilian rain forest. As squatters, they begin to work the land until absentee landlords hire gunmen to kill these peasants. The peasants take up arms themselves, and the result is a lawless gun battle.

Part III follows the gold rush of 200,000 illegal prospectors who swarm over private gold reserves in the rain forest. As security forces track the prospectors, the government fights to protect the world's largest untapped gold reserves.

The series concludes with the story of Chico Mendes, a rubber tapper whose murder in 1988 brought worldwide attention to the problem of Amazonian deforestation. Mendes had become a symbol of the struggle between the rubber tappers and landowners. After surviving attempts on his life, Mendes was finally murdered by gunmen allegedly from a neighboring cattle ranch.

1990x21 Global Dumping Ground

  • 1990-10-03T02:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

Correspondent Bill Moyers investigates America's shadowy new industry-the international export of toxic waste-revealing how shipping deadly wastes to third-world countries has become an enormous business in the US.

1990x22 When Cops Go Bad

  • 1990-10-17T02:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

The corrupting influence of drug money is now listed as the number one threat to the integrity of police forces. Frontline investigates this crisis in three communities in Florida, California, and New Jersey.

1990x23 The Hunt for Howard Marks

  • 1990-10-24T02:00:00+01:00 — 60 mins

For 20 years, one man - Oxford-educated Dennis Howard Marks - was responsible for running an international drug market that shipped marijuana into the US by the ton. Frontline tells the story of the man who believed that he was too smart to be caught-and the DEA agent who was determined to prove him wrong.

1990x24 Broken Minds

  • 1990-10-31T02:00:00+00:00 — 60 mins

Three million Americans are thought to be schizophrenic. As medical science searches to find its cause, society struggles to understand a crippling disease that has shattered families and left tens of thousands on the nation's streets.

1990x25 Betting on the Lottery

  • 1990-11-07T02:00:00+00:00 — 60 mins

Lottery fever is spreading. Twenty-nine states now raise $20 billion a year in revenues. Frontline correspondent James Reston, Jr., goes behind the scenes of state lotteries to look at the promoters selling them, the people buying the tickets, and to ask the question, 'Who really wins and who loses?'

1990x26 Springfield Goes to War

  • 1990-11-21T02:00:00+00:00 — 60 mins

As the threat of war in the Gulf grows, a middle-sized American city grapples with the reason hundreds of thousands of US troops are being sent to Saudi Arabia. As one of the country's embarkation points for US troops and equipment, Springfield, Massachusetts has a special connection to the deployment. A student, a protester, a soldier, and a family join correspondent Bill Moyers and others in a special town meeting to discuss their hopes and fears.

1990x27 High Crimes and Misdemeanors

  • 1990-11-28T02:00:00+00:00 — 60 mins

Four years after the Iran-contra scandal broke, correspondent Bill Moyers examines-for the first time on television-the full record of this story, documenting the scale of White House deceit and analyzing the failures of our other democratic institutions: the Congress, the press, and the law.

1990x28 The Struggle for South Africa

  • 1990-12-12T02:00:00+00:00 — 60 mins

As fear and violence mount, Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk struggle to control the tumultuous course of change in South Africa. Correspondent David Dimbleby examines the lineup of forces on each side-Afrikaners and blacks-and the divisions within each group that could disrupt negotiations for a new South Africa.

1990x29 The Spirit of Crazy Horse

  • 1990-12-19T02:00:00+00:00 — 60 mins

One hundred years after the massacre at Wounded Knee, Milo Yellow Hair recounts the story of his people-from the lost battles for their land against the invading whites-to the bitter internal divisions and radicalization of the 1970's-to the present-day revival of Sioux cultural pride, which has become a unifying force as the Sioux try to define themselves and their future.