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Season 1997 1997

  • 1997-01-15T02:00:00Z on PBS
  • 60 mins
  • 19 hours, 0 mins (19 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.

19 episodes

1997x01 Betting on the Market

  • Season Premiere

    1997-01-15T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

For fourteen years, Wall Street has produced record gains and has been embraced by America as the place where hopes and dreams can be realized -- but does America understand the nature of the risk? Since the beginning of the 1980s, close to half the nation has invested in the stock market directly or through mutual funds, which now hold three trillion dollars of the American public's money. Frontline traces the seduction of an entire generation of Americans into the stock market and looks at its implications for the nation. The program follows Garrett Van Wagoner, one of the nation's hottest mutual fund managers, and tells the story of Peter Lynch, celebrated manager of Fidelity's Magellan Fund.

1997x02 Six O'Clock News

  • 1997-01-22T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

FRONTLINE showcases the latest work of filmmaker Ross McElwee, producer of the widely acclaimed 'Sherman's March' and 'Time Indefinite.' In Six O'clock News,' McElwee and his camera investigate the aftermath of the life-shattering events reported every day on the evening news. Moving beyond the graphic television images of violence and natural disasters, McElwee seeks out the individuals whose lives have been inexplicably altered by hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, forest fires, and murder. The result is a thought-provoking journey across the tenuous line between order and chaos and an inquiry into how these events impact the victims' faith in God. In an introspective and sometimes humorous broadcast, McElwee explores the 'nagging metaphysical questions' behind the 'Six O'clock News.'

1997x03 What Jennifer Saw

  • 1997-02-26T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

Identified by the victim, Ronald Cotton spent eleven years in prison for rape. But in 1995, DNA evidence proved Cotton could not have been the attacker. With unprecedented access to the central figures in the investigation, confidential police reports and legal files, FRONTLINE delves into the Cotton case, examining the reliability of eyewitness identification and the implications of DNA evidence for the American justice system. In an exclusive interview, Jennifer Thompson tells the story of her brutal rape and how, twelve years later, she must confront the consequences of her mistaken identification.

1997x04 Valentina's Nightmare

  • 1997-04-02T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

Four days after the slaughter of her village, Valentina, a thirteen-year-old Tutsi girl, lay hidden among the corpses of her family and neighbors, her machete wounds festering with infection. Miraculously, she would survive to tell her story. FRONTLINE looks back at the origins and the horrors of the 1994 massacre of 800,000 Tutsis by the Hutu majority in Rwanda and examines the country's struggle for justice and reconciliation in the aftermath of the bloody genocide.

1997x05 Murder, Money, and Mexico

  • 1997-04-09T01:00:00Z — 60 mins

For six years, Carlos and Raul Salinas ruled Mexico -- Carlos as president, his brother Raul as his political fixer. The brothers convinced Washington, Wall Street, and the Mexican people a new age of political freedom and the prosperity had dawned for Mexico. But in 1994, within days of Salinas leaving office, the Mexican economy collapsed, throwing the world financial system into crisis and revealing a story of scandal, corruption, and murder which left Carlos in exile and Raul in prison. FRONTLINE follows this modern fable of two brothers, exploring the charges of corruption in the Salinas government and examining the fallout of Mexico's economic demise for America and the world.

1997x06 The Fixers

  • 1997-04-16T01:00:00Z — 60 mins

As campaign finance scandals dominate the headlines, FRONTLINE correspondent Peter Boyer follows the story of how easily small-time political operators Nora and Gene Lum have used a little money and a lot of moxie to get close to the president. Boyer journeys to Hawaii in search of this husband and wife team of local political fixers, who in two years parlayed a handful of political contributions into millions of dollars of personal wealth and fourteen visits to the White House.

1997x07 Nuclear Reaction

  • 1997-04-23T01:00:00Z — 60 mins

Since 1978, no new nuclear power stations have been commissioned in the United States. Americans, once enthusiastic about nuclear power, now consider it one of the most serious risks to human life and health. But the American people's aversion to nuclear power has perplexed many nuclear scientists who believe it poses only trivial risks to the public. FRONTLINE correspondent and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Richard Rhodes looks at what has derailed nuclear power in the United States and at the differing national attitudes toward nuclear power.

1997x08 Little Criminals

  • 1997-05-14T01:00:00Z — 60 mins

It was an unthinkable crime. In California, a six-year-old boy entered the home of a neighbor to steal a tricycle and savagely beat Ignacio Bermudez, Jr., a thirty-day-old infant. The boy was arrested and became the youngest person in U.S. history ever charged with attempted murder. Today, doctors fear Ignacio may never walk, see, or care for himself. In a film of surprising candor and emotional depth, FRONTLINE explores the conscience of a community and the haunting problem of violent crimes committed by ever-younger children.

1997x09 The Opium Kings

  • 1997-05-21T01:00:00Z — 60 mins

In a journalistic odyssey of more than three decades, filmmaker Adrian Cowell ventures into a remote corner of Burma known as Shan State, where much of the world's heroin originates. FRONTLINE chronicles the rise and fall of Khun Sa, a Shan nationalist leader and warlord who has long been a chief target of U.S. drug enforcement. In interviews with drug-war figures ranging from opium farmers to U.S. officials, Cowell unravels the complex political, economic, and diplomatic web that surrounds the heroin business.

1997x10 Innocence Lost: The Plea

  • 1997-05-28T01:00:00Z — 60 mins

FRONTLINE producer Ofra Bikel revisits the defendants in the Little Rascals Day Care sexual abuse case and reports on how each of them, while accused of the same crimes, have met with dramatically different fates. In 1991, FRONTLINE broadcast Bikel's Emmy Award-winning profile of Edenton, North Carolina, a town torn by reports of sexual abuse emerging from its best day-care center. More than thirty people were accused, and seven were eventually indicted on hundreds of abuse charges. In 1993, 'Innocence Lost: The Verdict,' winner of a DuPont Columbia Silver Baton and the Grand Prize at the Banff Television Festival, detailed stunning courtroom events and raised serious questions about the fairness of the trials which resulted in twelve life sentences for Little Rascals owner Bob Kelly and one life sentence for day-care worker Dawn Wilson. 'Innocence Lost: The Plea' reveals what has become of those caught up in this controversial case.

1997x11 Hot Guns

  • 1997-06-04T01:00:00Z — 60 mins

Two years ago, Evelyn Garcia was shot to death. Police arrested her husband -- a twice convicted felon -- but when they tried to trace the murder weapon, the manufacturer said the gun had never been made. How could a gun that kills not exist? FRONTLINE and the Center for Investigative Reporting take viewers inside the illegal handgun market and follow federal agents as they investigate one of their biggest cases ever into stolen guns and the illicit gun market.

1997x12 Easy Money

  • 1997-06-11T01:00:00Z — 60 mins

Casino gambling -- once the domain of mobsters and hustlers -- has emerged as one of the most popular forms of adult entertainment. Since 1992, gaming revenues have doubled along with the number of states that have made it legal. Today, the gaming industry is no longer an outlaw business, but it is a national economic force with substantial political muscle. FRONTLINE chronicles how America's gaming industry has gone legit and examines the evolution of its political influence. The film also explores the astonishing growth of Indian gaming and the surprising role governments have played in promoting and legitimizing gambling.

1997x13 Nazi Gold

  • 1997-06-18T01:00:00Z — 60 mins

It may be the final tragedy of the Holocaust. For years, many survivors and their families have tried in vain to collect assets deposited in Swiss banks before the war. Most were turned away empty-handed. Today, new information about Switzerland's financial relationship to the Nazi war effort has blemished its long-held reputation of neutrality. FRONTLINE examines the Swiss role in supporting Nazi Germany and explores the internal political events in Switzerland that allowed their border police to turn fleeing Jews away, into the hands of the Gestapo. The film also examines the Swiss response as they have been forced to address Holocaust survivors seeking reparations.

1997x14 Once Upon a Time in Arkansas

  • 1997-10-08T01:00:00Z — 60 mins

As charges and countercharges surrounding Arkansas business deals plague the White House, and are the focus of independent counsel Kenneth Starr, FRONTLINE takes a close look at the personal finances of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Correspondent Peter Boyer investigates the Clintons' past in Arkansas and reveals fresh evidence that casts new light on the troubles reaching into the private quarters of the White House.

1997x15 The Lost American

  • 1997-10-15T01:00:00Z — 60 mins

FRONTLINE explores the extraordinary life and mysterious disappearance of Fred Cuny, a passionate humanitarian and global trouble-shooter who traveled from Biafra to Bosnia, bringing hope to countless lives in need. A hero to some, a renegade to others, Cuny's strength lay in his ability to look beyond the immediate crisis -- drought, civil discord, earthquakes -- in order to restore a way of life. Like a character lifted from a John le Carre novel, Cuny was a larger-than-life, take-charge Texan with a hunger for lost causes. But after twenty-five years in the field, Cuny was tired of dealing with disasters after they happened instead of the underlying causes. He wanted to be a deal broker, to take a seat at the table where major policy is made. Did that ambition kill him? The investigation traces Cuny's last days in Chechnya, unravels the story of his disappearance, and explores the lessons of his life in an examination of America's responsibilities for the humanitarian disasters that plague our world.

FRONTLINE examines the secret history of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and its equally formidable political arm, Sinn Fein, which have waged a bloody campaign in Northern Ireland for over a quarter of a century. The film traces the history of the IRA and Sinn Fein, the most sophisticated guerrilla movement in the world, examining their tactics, weapons, and operational structures and assesses the chances of a final resolution to one of the century's oldest and bloodiest conflicts.

1997x17 Dreams of Tibet

  • 1997-10-29T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

Journalist and China-watcher Orville Schell, who traveled secretly to Tibet for FRONTLINE in 1994, returns to a story that won't go away. Broadcast on the eve of Chinese premier Jiang Zemin's 1997 trip to Washington and at the same time that two new Hollywood films focus on Tibet, DREAMS OF TIBET looks at the new attention that is being paid to a country that has long been a political 'cause celebre.' Schell explores the clash of values between American opinion of China's human rights record -- shaped by powerful forces in Hollywood -- and an uncomprehending and intransigent Chinese leadership.

1997x18 A Whale of a Business

  • 1997-11-12T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

America's marine theme parks are big business, attracting twenty million visitors each year. FRONTLINE examines the money, power, and politics of the captive marine mammal industry through the story of Keiko, the killer whale star of Hollywood's, FREE WILLY. The film traces Keiko's fourteen years in captivity, examines the capture, transport, and treatment of marine mammals, and explores human understanding of, and relationship with, these large creatures.

1997x19 The Princess and the Press

  • 1997-11-19T02:00:00Z — 60 mins

The day Princess Diana died in Paris, her brother, Earl Spencer, blamed the media for her death. FRONTLINE examines how the Royal Family's relationship with the British press, once governed by unwritten rules of privacy, evolved into the media circus that surrounded Princess Diana in her final years.