In “American Pastoral,” Philip Roth’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, a prosperous American family is ripped apart when the daughter becomes a political terrorist during the turbulent 1960s. Although plenty of movies have been made about the sex, drugs, and rock and roll aspects of that decade, the film version of Roth’s novel, which stars Ewan McGregor, Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning and opens Friday, Oct. 21, is one of the few dealing with the revolutionary aspects of the era. Here are some more.
Medium Cool (1969) Robert Forster is a TV news cameraman who changes from detached to committed while covering the social unrest and violence of the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Filmed during the actual event, with astonishing “you are there” footage.
The Revolutionary (1970) Jon Voight stars as a disillusioned student radical who becomes part of a violent labor strike. Robert Duvall co-stars as a labor organizer.
The Strawberry Statement (1970) College student Bruce Davison is enticed by campus protests because of the hot women in the crowds, but his attraction to activist Kim Darby soon makes him an activist.
Getting Straight (1970) In this comedy-drama, former university activist Elliott Gould is a graduate student trying to ignore campus politics. But when girlfriend Candice Bergen gets caught up in radical protest, Gould decides he still sympathizes with the students against the faculty.
The Spook Who Sat By the Door (1973) Recruited into the CIA’s espionage program as its token black, the film’s protagonist (Lawrence Cook) drops out and trains a group of young blacks as militant freedom fighters. Directed by Ivan Dixon of “Hogan’s Heroes” fame.
Patty Hearst (1988) Based on the true story, newspaper heiress Patty Hearst (Natasha Richardson) is kidnapped by the radical Symbionese Liberation Army, brainwashed, and eventually participates in their violent criminal acts.
Running on Empty (1988) Director Sidney Lumet’s film features Judd Hirsch and Christine Lahti as former anti-war activists who have been hiding from the Feds for years. Especially affected by all the insecurity is teenage son River Phoenix.
The Company You Keep (2013) Decades after a botched robbery, former Weather Underground member Susan Sarandon turns herself in. Covering the story, journalist Shia LaBeouf discovers that lawyer Robert Redford was also part of the group.
— LEWIS BEALE