Riding the Rails [DVD] [English] [1997]

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Special Features

  • Interview with the filmmakers
  • Slide show featuring Depression-era photos
  • Excerpt from "Riding the Rails: Teenagers on the Move During the Great Depression
  • Websites of interest
  • Scene selection
  • Closed captions
  • Closed Captioned


Riding the Rails
This poignant and carefully researched documentary takes a stark look at the harsh realities behind the oft-romanticized view of the train-hopping Depression-era hobo. Of those habitual rail riders, 250,000 thousand were children and adolescents, many of whom were forced to hit the road not for fun and adventure, but out of brutal necessity. The filmmakers got their stories from the reminiscences of 10 former vagabonds (including a female, an African American, and one 72-year-old who continues hopping trains) and archival government and newsreel footage to create an accurate, at times wrenching, view of the wanderers's struggle to survive. The soundtrack includes period folk music from such artists as Woody Guthrie. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

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