| Entrepreneurship and Capitalism
Media Library Titles to Aid Class Lecture and Discussion
The Entrepreneurial Spirit
Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life (DVD 1534)
This two-part documentary discusses the life and work of the noted philosopher and novelist. Interviews feature her often spirited and eloquent defense of capitalism and the free market.
Cast Away (DVD 4089)
A modern retelling of Robinson Crusoe, this film follows the travails of Chuck Noland, a time-obsessed systems analyst for Federal Express, who is marooned on a desert island. The opening sequence, however, tracks a FedEx package’s journey from Texas to Russia and then joins Chuck’s intense training session in a Moscow warehouse. His orientation speech perfectly captures the American entrepreneurial spirit.
Big Night (DVD 1608)
No other movie better deals with the exhilaration and heartbreak of running a small business. Two immigrant brothers, Primo and Secondo, try to operate a genuine Northern Italian restaurant on the Jersey Shore during the Eisenhower era. Two scenes are instructive: (1) After meeting with an impatient loan officer, Secondo tells his Primo that they must make their menu more “cost-effective”; (2) business rival Pascal lectures Secondo on the nature of American enterprise. (“Give to people what they want, and maybe later you can give them what you want.”)
Flash of Genius (DVD 564)
This biographical focuses on inventor Robert Kearns’s legal battle with the Ford Motor Company, after Ford developed an intermittent windshield wiper based on ideas Kearns had patented. Early scenes illustrate the relationship between innovation and enterprise and compare and contrast entrepreneurial and corporate capitalism.
In Search of Excellence (DVD 6670)
This documentary, based on Tom Peters’ and Robert Waterman’s book, defines and analyzes entrepreneurship through eight case studies. Two deal with small to medium-sized businesses: Stew Leonard’s Dairy and North American Tool & Die. The program’s introduction explains the research team’s goals and methods.
Other People’s Money (DVD 763)
Wall Street shark Larry “the Liquidator” Garfield attempts to buy out New England Wire and Cable, headed by old-fashioned Yankee CEO Andrew “Jorgy” Jorgensen. During negotiations, Garfield tries to seduce Kate Sullivan, the company’s leggy young lawyer, into switching sides. Larry’s self-serving but cogent defense of free enterprise and Kate’s equally eloquent counterarguments encapsulate a historical debate: What benefits American democracy more, the visible hand of law and government or the invisible hand of the market?
Risky Business (DVD 7932)
Joel Goodson, a high-school student and aspiring business major, lives with his wealthy parents in the North Shore area of suburban Chicago. Aspiring to attend Princeton University he participates in Future Enterprisers, an extracurricular club in which student teams work to create small businesses. The early scenes, which treat education as a form of entrepreneurship, capture the seminar’s theme and should appeal to first-year college students.
Trading Places (DVD 5610)
A disgraced junior broker and a fast-talking street hustler pool their brains and capital to bring down Duke & Duke, a successful commodities brokerage firm lead by two arrogant and corrupt Philadelphia patricians. During the film’s climax, set in the World Trade Center, the underdogs prevent the blue bloods from cornering the market on frozen concentrated orange juice by exploiting data from a federal crop report. This entertaining scene not only illustrates the market’s built-in feedback system but also its potential to destroy class privilege.
Tucker (DVD 5312)
Francis Ford Coppola’s tribute to Preston Tucker, the postwar independent auto manufacturer who was squashed by the Big Three, celebrates American entrepreneurship. Early scenes show Tucker identifying and defining his market, developing and testing a prototype, and designing and calibrating an advertising and public relations campaign.
From Mercantilism to Capitalism
Adam Smith and the “Wealth of the Nations” (DVD 5502)
This educational program, sponsored by the Liberty Fund, honors the life and work of Adam Smith. The documentary shows how Smith researched and wrote The Wealth of the Nations, explains such important concepts as the division of labor and the invisible hand, analyzes the impact of Smith’s ideas on the American Revolution and the Early Republic, and argues for his enduring relevance.
Ascent of Man (DVD 738)
This thirteen-part series, written and hosted by Jacob Bronowski, uses science to trace the development of human society:
Part 8 (“The Drive for Power”) illustrates the Industrial Revolution’s impact on political thought and everyday life. This episode discusses Watt’s steam engine, the Lunar Society of Birmingham, and capitalism’s democratic ideals.
Benjamin Franklin: An Extraordinary Life, an Electric Mind (DVD 1682)
This three-part PBS series celebrates the Founding Father of American enterprise:
Part 1 (“Let the Experiment Be Made”) concentrates on Franklin the businessman, inventor, and scientist. We see Ben start his own newspaper, perfect his image as colonial Philadelphia’s most able tradesman, network and create various voluntary associations, and invent the lightning rod.
Civilisation (DVD 6327)
This thirteen-part series, written and hosted by Sir Kenneth Clark, explores the social, technological, and economic forces shaping Western art:
Part 3 (“Romance and Reality”) discusses the rise of mercantile city states in late medieval Italy. These shrewd and worldly merchants and bankers, Clark explains, made possible the art and science of the Renaissance, as much from their practical and empirical mindset as their generous patronage.
Part 8 (“The Light of Experience”) shows how the science and commerce shaped the values and art of the Dutch Republic and Restoration England. The Dutch East Indies Company and the Royal Society, Clark argues, both express knowledge-driven enterprise and exploration.
Cosmos (DVD 4165)
This thirteen-part series, written and hosted by Carl Sagan, celebrates two thousand years of science and technology:
Part 6 (“Travelers’ Tales”) honors the science and commerce of the Dutch Republic. Using the Voyager program as a springboard, Sagan takes us to the 17th century Netherlands, whose tradition of sailing and trade made it the most prosperous nation during the Age of Exploration. The Dutch commercial republic, Sagan shows, prefigured ours. Business, science, technology, and freedom of thought went hand-in-hand. Cloth merchant Anton van Leeuwenhoek perfected the microscope and pioneered microbiology, while banker Constantijn Huygens sponsored and protected his son Christian, a radical astronomer.
Founding Fathers (DVD 301)
This two-part A&E documentary profiles the Founding Fathers and analyzes the economic as well as the political issues leading to the American Revolution. It also explains how business interests help to shape the Constitutional Convention. Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton are made to represent the new nation’s entrepreneurial spirit.
Industrial Revolution (DVD 5501)
This three-part program, sponsored by the Liberty Fund, explores the English Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries. Hosted by Ben Hogg, it includes lectures by Nobel economist Ronald Coase and business historian Max Hartwell.
Part 1 (“The Great Discontinuity”) identifies and defines the Industrial Revolution, traces its causes in innovation and enterprises, and profiles it major figures, including Richard Arkwright, James Watt, and Josiah Wedgewood.
Part 2 (“Freedom Under Law”)
Part 3 (“A Magnificent Century”) documents how Great Britain became “the workshop of the world” and confronted and overcame overpopulation, urbanization, income disparity, and radicalism.
Life and Thought of Friedrich Hayek (DVD 8518)
This documentary, part of the Liberty Fund’s Intellectual Portrait Series, discusses the life and work of Nobel economist and defines and illustrates his central ideas, such as the division of knowledge and spontaneous order.
The Ascent of Money: The Financial History of the World (DVD 7204)
This four-part series, hosted by Niall Fergusson, presents 600 years of business history:
Part 1 (“From Bullion to Bubbles”) documents the roots of money and finance in the conquest of the Americas, from the Incan empire to the Louisiana territory. It also discusses the Medici banking dynasty.
Part 2 (“Bonds of War”) discusses John Law and his Louisiana territory Ponzi scheme, bond-driven warfare in Europe, and the economic colonization of the Far East.
Part 3 (“Risky Business”) examines the roots of the European insurance industry, the financial fallouts from natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, risk management in Japan and Chile, and the risks and rewards of hedge funds.
Part 4 (“Planet Finance”) chronicles the historical spread of good and bad financial practices across the globe, the meteoric rise of the American real estate market, and the far-reaching consequences of the subprime mortgage fiasco.
The Republic of Commerce
Chicago: City of the Century (DVD 6735)
This three-part documentary, part of the PBS series American Experience, chronicles Chicago's dramatic transformation from a swampy frontier town of fur traders and Native Americans to a massive metropolis that was the quintessential American city of the 19th century. The film tells how innovation, ingenuity, determination and ruthlessness created empires in what was a marshy wasteland and describes the hardships endured by millions of working men and women whose labor helped a capitalist class reinvent the way America did business.
Part 1 (“Mudhole to Metropolis”) covers the city’s early years, from fur outposts and the Erie Canal and McCormick reaper and the Chicago Fire.
Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery (DVD 5054)
Ken Burns’ documentary dramatizes the Western expedition that transformed America from a coastal collection of a dozen former colonies to a continental empire of trade and transportation.
Media History (DVD 7437)
This program surveys the history of mass media, using photomation and archival footage and interviews with academic and industry experts. Early segments discuss the invention and impact of Guttenberg’s printing press and Samuel Morse’s telegraph. Morse’s first message (“What hath God wrought?”) was prophetic, for his creation miraculously sped up human communication and shortened physical distance.
The Plow that Broke the Plains (DVD 3717)
This classic Depression documentary, with a haunting folk score by Virgil Thomson, contains unforgettable montages of amber waves of grain, the vast plains of wheat Cyrus McCormick and John Deere sought to harvest.
Thomas Jefferson (DVD 5055)
Ken Burns’ two-part documentary profiles America’s third president and the author of the Declaration of Independence, who opposed his country’s early and enthusiastic commitment to trade and commerce. The opening to Part Two depicts Jefferson’s battle with his arch-nemesis Alexander Hamilton, whose vision of an urban and industrial America was destined to triumph.
The West (DVD 6023)
Ken Burns wrote, directed, and produced this sweeping seven-part epic. Some highlights:
Episode 2 (“Empire upon Trails”) examines the economic causes behind Western expansion in the early 19th century.
Episode 3 (“Speck of the Future”) documents the 1849 California Gold Rush. The chapter “Emporium of the Pacific” deals specifically with such San Francisco entrepreneurs as Sam Brannan, Levi Strauss, and Joshua Abraham Norton.
Part 5 (“The Greatest Enterprise Under God”) celebrates the building of the transcontinental railroad and profiles such business leaders as Leland Sanford.
Robber Barons and Reformers
Andrew Carnegie and the Age of Steel (DVD 364)
This documentary examines the transformation of the American steel industry in the late 19th century by analyzing Andrew Carnegie’s innovations in production and marketing as well as his complicated relationship with other steel magnates such as Henry Clay Frick.
Andrew Carnegie, Prince of Steel (DVD 2590)
This A&E biography provides a more intimate and complex profile of Carnegie and shows how he embodied the contradictions of his time. As a cutthroat businessman, he practiced and preached Social Darwinism. As a philanthropist and an educator, he believed in helping the poor and propagating democracy.
Chicago: City of the Century (DVD 6735)
This three-part documentary, part of the PBS series American Experience, explains how Chicago rose from the ashes of the Great Fire to become the quintessential American city at the turn of the 20th century. Innovation, ingenuity, determination and ruthlessness created empires while millions of workers, whose labor helped a capitalist class reinvent the way America did business, endured the hardship and squalor of the tenements and the stockyards. This injustice sparked protest and violence.
Part 2 (“The Revolution is Here”) presents a pageant of successful but sometimes controversial entrepreneurs: Philip Armour, Marshall Field, George Pullman, Gustavus Swift, and Charles Yerkes
Part 3 (“The Battle for Chicago”) profiles the radicals, reformers, and reporters who opposed them, such as Jane Addams, Ida B. Wells, and Upton Sinclair, but ends with the vision of progress embodied in the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.
Clockwork (DVD 6547)
This documentary shows the impact of Frederick Winslow Taylor, the father of scientific management, on American industry, society, and culture. Without Taylor’s ideas and methods, America never would have become the world’s greatest economic power, but what collective price have we paid for efficiency?
Corporation with a Camera (DVD 7672)
This documentary chronicles the United Fruit Company’s conquest of Latin America at the turn of the 20th century. Later segments discuss U.S. government and corporate influence in the so-called banana republics. The company archival footage is unforgettable and deeply disturbing. After seeing this film, you’ll never eat a Chiquita banana again.
Ken Burns America Collection (DVD 6411)
Disc 1 (“Brooklyn Bridge”) celebrates the conception and construction of this symbolic landmark and honors the ambition and genius of its creators, John and Washington Roebling, perhaps America’s greatest civil engineers, who were also shrewd businessmen.
Media History (DVD 7437)
This program surveys the history of mass media, using photomation and archival footage and interviews with academic and industry experts. Later segments explore radio. During the 1920s and ’30s, radio dominated entertainment and the news, changed America’s social habits, and fueled a new culture of consumption.
Nikola Tesla: The Genius Who Lit the World (DVD 7303)
This independent documentary focuses on the so-called “current wars” between native born Thomas Edison, the defender of direct current (DC), and Serbian immigrant Nikola Tesla, a proponent of alternative current (AC) and the inventor of the induction motor. Tesla’s device eventually powered America, from industrial dynamos to household appliances.
Orson Welles: The Legend Collection (DVD 6705)
This six-disc set contains two classic business movies dealing with the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era:
Citizen Kane, the tragedy of a newspaper tycoon, based on William Randolph Hearst.
The Magnificent Ambersons, an adaptation of Booth Tarkington’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, chronicles the decline and fall of a prosperous Midwestern mercantile family before the forces of industrialization. The famous dinner-table scene debates the new automobile’s impact on American life.
Tesla: Master of Lighting (DVD 721)
This PBS documentary recounts the life of scientist, inventor, and visionary Nikola Tesla, often remembered as more of an eccentric cult figure than an electrical engineering genius. Because he ignored marketing and finance, his achievements are often attributed to his contemporaries Thomas Edison and Guglielmo Marconi. The program draws on Tesla's autobiographical and scientific writings, supplemented by rare photographs and dramatic recreations.
The Buccaneers (DVD 762)
This mini-series, an adaptation of Edith Wharton’s last novel, gives viewers an intimate glimpse of the Gilded Age, contrasting the manners and mores of the American business class with those of the British aristocracy. A bonus disc features a biography of Wharton herself and documents the lifestyle of such New York merchant princes as the Astors and the Vanderbilts.
The Corporation (DVD 1054)
The provocative documentary, written and directed by Jennifer Abbott and Michael Achbar, shows the development of the modern corporation, from a legal entity that originated as a government-chartered institution meant to affect specific public functions, to the rise of the modern commercial institution entitled to most of the legal rights of a person. The second and third chapters (“Birth” and “A Legal Person”) concentrate on the American corporation’s genesis at the turn of the 19th century and highlight the 1886 Supreme Court case in which Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite declared corporations are “persons,” having the same rights as human beings, based on the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The Emergence of Modern America (DVD 8707)
Parts 1 and 2 (“The Gilded Age” and “The Progressive Era”) explain how the plutocratic excesses compelled the federal government to implement sweeping reforms. As the narrator explains, though, the country still faced a dilemma: How could America maintain the material benefits that flowed from the Second Industrial Revolution while bringing the powerful forces creating those benefits under democratic control and managing economic opportunity?
The Image Makers (DVD 6281)
This two-part documentary, written and hosted by Bill Moyers, examines the lives of Ivy Lee and Edward Bernays, the founding fathers of American public relations, who worked hard to redeem the public image of such robber barons as John D. Rockefeller during the first two decades of the 20th century.
The Magnificent Ambersons (DVD 605)
This 2002 remake of Orson Welles’ 1942 classic (see above) might appeal better to students. The acting and cinematography cannot match the original, but the film contains more montages of factories and assembly lines.
The Wizard of Photography: The Life of George Eastman (DVD 5489)
This documentary of George Eastman explains how he invented the Kodak camera and created a mass market for amateur photography. The archival footage is inspiring but the story’s ending tempers triumph with tragedy. Fearing dementia would make him squander money reserved in his will for research and charity, Eastman shot himself in the bedroom of his Rochester mansion.
Thomas A. Edison, Father of Invention (DVD 7316)
This A&E biography nicely balances Edison the inventor and businessman and Edison the master publicist and power magnate. Case studies illustrate the importance of identifying or anticipating markets and the dangers of overconfidence and rigidity born of success.
Mass Production and Mass Consumption
Blowing Bubbles (DVD 7227)
Niall Ferguson examines the causes and consequences of some of history’s worst financial meltdowns, including the Great Crash of 1929.
Death of a Salesman (DVD 3293)
Arthur Miller’s quintessential American tragedy stars Dustin Hoffman, the best Willy Loman of our generation. Although set in 1948, the play’s flashbacks occur in the Twenties and Thirties and show how quickly sky-high optimism can turn into bottomless despair. Many scenes address the meaning of salesmanship and entrepreneurship and their relationship to the American Dream.
Henry Ford (DVD 7810)
This A&E biography does justice to Henry Ford’s Jekyll and Hyde personality. He was both an American folk hero and a monster, a man who paid his workers the highest daily wage at the time and drove them they broke. The most useful sequences discuss Ford’s introduction of the assembly line and the 1908 release of the Model T, the first mass produced car for the masses.
Henry Ford’s America (DVD 7665)
This 1977 documentary, written and directed by Donald Brittain, discusses the impact of the automobile and the Ford dynasty on America. Early segments show the transition from Henry Ford’s standardized Model T to General Motors’ annual design upgrades. Since this film was shot in the wake of the OPEC oil crisis. Retrospective celebration alternates with moments of doubt and anxiety about the auto industry’s future. The camera also takes viewers behind the scenes at Ford corporate headquarters.
It’s a Wonderful Life (DVD 3944)
Frank Capra’s Christmas classic, a nostalgic tribute to an already bygone era when this film was released in 1946, honors the values of American small towns and small businesses on the eve of suburbanization and corporatization. George Bailey’s decency and honesty, learned from working in his father’s building and loan, prevents his community from falling into the talons of Henry Potter, a banker, mill owner, and slumlord. Bedford Falls, George’s home town, is based on Seneca Falls, New York.
Ken Burns America Collection (DVD 6411)
Disc 7 (“Empire of the Air”) documents the early years of radio, America’s first mass medium, and three men most responsible for it: Lee de Forest, who invented the audion tube; Edwin Howard Armstrong, who pioneered FM technology; and David Sarnoff, who created the most powerful communications company on earth (RCA)
Media History (DVD 7437)
This program surveys the history of mass media, using photomation and archival footage and interviews with academic and industry experts. Early segments discuss the invention and impact of the printing press, telegraph, and telephone. Later segments explore radio. During the 1920s and ’30s, radio dominated entertainment and the news and changed America’s social habits.
Mildred Pierce (DVD 8329)
During the Depression, a divorced California housewife turns her talent for making pies into a lucrative restaurant chain, but her ambition and drive spoil and corrupt her daughter, who plots to destroy her. This noir classic stars Joan Crawford.
Modern Times (DVD 1008)
Charlie Chaplin’s 1936 satire on the American industry, his last silent film, simultaneously ridicules the frenetic brutality of Taylorism and the contrived optimism of the New Deal.
Pennies from Heaven (DVD 7429)
This cult comedy vivisects Horatio Alger and Busby Berkley. During the bleakest year of the Great Depression, Arthur Parker, a Chicago sheet-music salesman, vainly tries to start his own business. Chronic failure unhinges him, and he fantasizes that his life is an MGM musical. One early scene, in which he launches into a song and dance routine while asking for a loan, is disturbingly funny.
Taken for a Ride (DVD 7914)
This PBS documentary investigates General Motors’ conspiracy to buy up and then dismantle streetcar and electric train systems in many American cities during the Depression.
The 1930s (DVD 7787)
This five-part documentary, part of the PBS American Experience series covers the Great Depression from Black Tuesday and the CCC to the Dust Bowl and the Hoover Dam.
Part 1 (“The Crash of 1929”) covers the last feverish year of American prosperity and basks in the glow of such Wall Street stars as Jesse Livermore, Michael J. Meehan, Charles Merrill, Charles Mitchell, and Dean Witter, whose surviving descendants describe their privileged and glamorous childhood with aching nostalgia. Economist John Kenneth Galbraith plays ironic Greek chorus.
The Emergence of Modern America (DVD 8707)
Part 2 (“The Roaring Twenties”) documents the rollercoaster prosperity of the Jazz Age and examines the marriage of Big Business and the Republican Party.
Part 3 (“The Great Depression”) treats the anti-business backlash following the Stock Market Crash and the radical experimentation of the New Deal.
The Great Gatsby (DVD 5289)
Francis Ford Coppola’s adaption of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, stylish as a Pierce-Arrow racer, captures the giddiness and glamour of the Jazz Age. The film stars Robert Redford as Gatsby, Mia Farrow as Daisy Buchanan, and Sam Waterston as Nick Carraway. The best scene occurs early in the film. Nick observes Gatsby’s liveried staff prepare for an elaborate party that Nick later attends. His lyrical voiceover comes straight from the novel.
The American Way
Barbarians at the Gate (DVD 4008)
This made-for-TV movie dramatizes the disastrous leveraged buyout of R.J. Nabisco. Besides satirizing the egotistical bidding war between F. Ross Johnson and Henry Kravis, the film also pokes fun at the company’s questionable R&D and marketing.
Cars that Changed the Automobile Industry (DVD 6267)
This documentary contains entertaining and analytical case histories of classic cars that defined and embodies postwar American prosperity, such as the Thunderbird, the Mustang, and the Bel Air Station Wagon.
Executive Suite (DVD 1368)
This drama, based on the best-selling novel by Cameron Hawley (former marketing director of Armstrong Cork), depicts the internal struggle for control of a furniture manufacturing company after the unexpected death of its CEO. The climactic boardroom scene, literally a battle for the organization’s soul, presents two diametrically opposed visions of American capitalism: one based on management theory and financial control, the other on enterprise and innovation.
Hamburger Macprofit (DVD 5239)
This classic documentary includes an extended interview with James McLamore, co-founder of Burger King and father of the Whopper, who summarizes the history of the American fast-food industry and analyzes its evolution.
How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying (DVD 5181)
This wickedly funny musical satirizes business during the go-go Sixties and contains the most outrageous pitch presentation ever filmed.
In Search of Excellence (DVD 6670)
This documentary, based on Tom Peters’ and Robert Waterman’s book, defines and analyzes entrepreneurship through eight case studies. Six features such major companies as 3M, Apple, Dana Corporation, Disney, IBM, and McDonald’s. The program’s introduction explains the research team’s goals and methods.
Lee Iacocca (DVD 1992)
This 1989 interview with Phil Donahue shows the Chrysler chairman in rare form. He provides an unusually candid assessment of the American auto industry and criticizes the excesses and hypocrisies of the Reagan era.
Mad Men, Season 1 (DVD 5331)
The premiere season set the benchmark for this Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning series, which reconstructs the business and advertising culture of the 1960s with uncanny fidelity:
Episode 1 (“Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”): Don Draper wins the Lucky Strike account with a campaign that describes how the company produces its product. “Everyone else’s tobacco is poisonous,” he explains to the client. “Your tobacco is toasted.”
Episode 3 (“Marriage of Figaro”): Don and retailer Rachel Katz collaborate to change the image of her father’s old fashioned department store.
Episode 6 (“Babylon”): Representatives from the Israeli Tourism Bureau ask Don’s agency to turn their country into a glamorous vacation spot for American Wasps. If a blue-eyed Paul Newman can star in Exodus, anything is possible.
Episode 13 (“The Wheel”): While discussing the etymology of the word nostalgia, Don pitches an ad campaign for carousel slide projectors to Eastman Kodak. The projector shows snapshots from his family album. Memories are made of these.
Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (DVD 5217)
This film adaptation of Sloan Wilson’s 1955 novel captures America’s postwar corporate era. Gregory Peck stars as Tom Rath, a former paratrooper officer, who is torn between conformity and ambition. Some scenes seem lifted from such contemporary sociological studies as C. Wright Mills’ White Collar (1951), David Reisman et al’s The Lonely Crowd (1950), and William White’s The Organization Man (1956).
Media History (DVD 7437)
This program surveys the history of mass media, using photomation and archival footage and interviews with academic and industry experts. Later segments explore television. The advent of broadcast TV in the 1950s and the rise of the Big Three networks reshaped American culture. In the ’80s and into the ’90s, broadcast TV audience share has declined due to cable and satellite television, VCRs, and Nintendo, and broadcasting has yielded to narrowcasting. Today, globalization and technological convergence are redefining the boundaries of communications.
Merger Between Disney and ABC (DVD 7312)
This half-hour news show examines one of the largest corporate takeovers in American history. On July 30, 1995, the Walt Disney Company bought Capital Cities/ ABC Inc. for $19 billion, forming at the time the world’s most powerful media and entertainment conglomerate. The new company united America’s most profitable television network and its ESPN cable service with Disney’s Hollywood film and television studios, the Disney Channel, its theme parks and its repository of well-known cartoon characters and the merchandise sales they generate.
Mickey Mouse Monopoly (DVD 5822)
This documentary traces the evolution of the Disney Company and examines its impact on U.S. culture, particularly the way its films and products influence American children and shape their expectations and understanding of race, class, and gender.
Network (DVD 1610)
Paddy Chayefsky’s Swiftian satire, released during the American Bicentennial, attacks what it considers the unholy alliance between Big Media and Big Business. Late in the film, a network chairman converts a mad-newsman-turned-populist prophet to the gospel of global capitalism, a world without borders or government regulation.
Oprah Winfrey Show: 20th Anniversary Collection (DVD 3456)
Disk 1 of this five-part collection begins with Oprah’s biography and identifies and explains the personal and professional factors that lead to her success.
Disc 2 leads with what she calls her “light-bulb moments,” breakthrough thinking on and off the set that lead to insight or innovation.
Other People’s Money (DVD 763)
Wall Street shark Larry “the Liquidator” Garfield attempts to buy out New England Wire & Cable, headed by old-fashioned Yankee CEO Andrew “Jorgy” Jorgensen. During an exploratory meeting, Garfield runs the numbers and insults Jorgensen by showing that the company financially is worth more dead than alive. Their final debate at the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting, a parody of the Funeral Oratory Scene from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, shows how much traditional American business values changed during the 1980s
Patterns (DVD 6899)
This film adaptation of Rod Sterling’s television screenplay is every bit as powerful but offers more nuanced performances and better production values. At a Manhattan industrial firm, a young engineer with executive ambitions is caught in the crossfire between his immediate superior and mentor and the company president, who convincingly justifies his ruthless tactics even after his opponent suffers a fatal heart attack.
Pirates of Silicon Valley (DVD 3593)
This docudrama revolves around the rivalry between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, primarily from Apple’s point of view. Early scenes show how Jobs’ waged guerilla warfare with IBM.
Prophet Unheard (DVD 2313)
This profile of consultant William Edwards Deming, the father of Total Quality Management, traces his career in postwar Japan and his belated impact on American companies, particularly in the auto industry.
Television History (DVD 8349)
This half hour educational film explains television’s development and measures its impact on postwar American society and culture.
The Hudsucker Proxy (DVD 4088)
This screwball comedy, written and directed by the Coen Brothers, charts a cockeyed optimist’s improbable rise at a postwar toy company. Three useful sequences:
Chapter 13 shows business journalists trying to profile the young CEO
Chapter 25 shows the development, production, and distribution of the hula hoop.
Chapter 26 shows its marketing and promotions.
Tomorrowland: Disney in Space and Beyond (DVD 4927)
This two-disc collection of Cold War propaganda showcases the Walt Disney’s fervent faith in in the American Way, his visionary belief in globalization, and his patriotic commitment to science, technology, and space exploration. Archival footage includes “Mars and Beyond” and “Eyes in Outer Space,” two science programs from The Wonderful World of Disney’s first season, and a half-hour promo for Disneyworld, including Walt’s original pitch and blueprint for EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow).
Triumph of the Nerds (DVD 8046)
This documentary chronicles the rise of the personal computer/home computer, beginning in the 1970s with the Altair 8800, Apple I and Apple II and VisiCalc. It continues through the IBM PC and Apple Macintosh revolution through the 1980s and the mid-1990s, ending at the beginning of the Dot-com boom with the release of Windows 95.
Tucker (DVD 5312)
Francis Ford Coppola’s tribute to Preston Tucker, the postwar independent auto manufacturer who was squashed by the Big Three, celebrates American entrepreneurship. Later scenes show how bureaucracy, protectionism, and bean counting wrest control from Tucker. America’s new postwar corporate culture has no place for old-fashioned entrepreneurism.
Wall Street (DVD 2239)
Oliver Stone’s business drama both celebrates and reviles corporate raider Gordon Gekko, a composite of several players from the 1980s: Ivan Boesky, Cal Icahn, Dennis Levine, and Michael Milken. Gekko’s speech at the Teldar Paper stockholders meeting would become the creed of the Reagan era: “Greed is good!”
Woodstock for Capitalists (DVD 1815)
This documentary examines the cult of Warren Buffet as it covers the annual Berkshire Hathaway stockholders meeting.
Current Trends and Future Directions
Business Studies: Enterprise and Entrepreneurs (DVD 8095)
Freeserve founder Ajaz Ahmed, a shop owner, a software developer, an inventor of a better children’s toothbrush, and others share their experiences, insights, struggles, and breakthroughs in the marketplace. This educational program is divided into four parts:
“Motives and Traits” describes what makes an entrepreneur.
“Risks and Rewards” tells how entrepreneurs find balance amidst the chaos of a start-up. “Developing Business Plans” explains key elements such as the market profile, sales forecast, and income and cost statement.
“Sources of Information and Guidance” discusses who to turn to for help.
Ford: Rebuilding an American Icon (DVD 9105)
This CNBC documentary goes behind the scenes at the Ford Motor Company to illustrate its astonishing comeback just a few short years after a near collapse. Viewers meet Ford’s CEO, Alan Mulally, who in 2006 mortgaged all of the company’s assets in his quest to steer it back from the brink—a controversial maneuver at the time, but one that proved sensible when Ford rescued itself without a government bailout (unlike rivals General Motors and Chrysler).
Granted remarkable access to the company’s inner workings, CNBC’s introduces viewers to an unlikely pair of engineers charged with breathing new life into a legendary but tarnished Ford nameplate, the Explorer. The program also profiles the Ford family, which—unlike many other famous clans in American business—keeps a firm grip on its corporate birthright.
The Hudsucker Proxy (DVD 4088)
This screwball comedy, written and directed by the Coen Brothers, charts a cockeyed optimist’s improbable rise at a postwar novelty company.
Chapter 25, which shows the development, production, and distribution of the hula hoop, closely follows Steven Wheelwright’s and Earl Sasser’s arguments in “The New Product Development Map”
Tom Peters: Radically Reengineering Business (DVD 9464)
For Tom Peters, “change” is too tame of a word to describe his vision of what businesses should do to remain competitive in an age when uncertainty is the only certainty. In this dynamic seminar, the world-renowned consultant builds a strong case for implementing radically innovative management approaches. Case studies include four global businesses:
Asea Brown Boveri (ABB), which slashed staff to get closer to its customers
Oticon, which pioneered “spaghetti organization”
Imagination, which operates under the principle that nothing is impossible
The Lane Group, which does business using open-book accounting
Business Ethics: The Bottom Line (DVD 776)
Is today’s corporate culture, characterized by exorbitant CEO salaries, downsizing, and benefit reductions, alienating employers from employees? What moral obligations do companies have to the people who work for them, and to the communities they serve? In this program, a group of business experts examine these issues, and discuss how companies can do "the right thing" and still improve their bottom lines. Experts include the president and CEO of a large corporation, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a former executive committee member of Johnson & Johnson.
Risky Business (DVD 7932)
Joel Goodson, high-school student and aspiring business major, has been accepted to Princeton University. During the film’s final sequence, Joel and his girlfriend discuss their dreams of making as his fellow Future Enterprisers present their products at a commencement rally.
Tucker (DVD 5312)
Francis Ford Coppola’s tribute to Preston Tucker, the postwar independent auto manufacturer who was squashed by the Big Three, celebrates American entrepreneurship. Tucker loses his company but saves himself from going to jail. His passionate closing statement at his trial, a paean to enterprise and innovation, sums up the seminar’s theme and subject.