Directed by Elia Kazan

Directed by Elia Kazan

11 Episodes

An artist forged on the cutting edge of New York City’s pioneering Group Theatre, director Elia Kazan was instrumental in bringing the modern Method style of acting—and by extension an intensely heightened emotional and psychological realism—to Hollywood cinema. Never one to shy away from controversy, he broke new ground in the depiction of anti-Semitism (GENTLEMAN’S AGREEMENT), racism (PINKY), class struggle (ON THE WATERFRONT), sexuality (BABY DOLL), and media manipulation (A FACE IN THE CROWD) on-screen, along the way guiding then-unknown actors like Marlon Brando and James Dean to career-making performances. Though his personal legacy was forever tarnished by his friendly testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee, Kazan’s body of work continues to electrify with some of the most searing explorations of outsiderhood and injustice in all of American cinema.

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Directed by Elia Kazan
  • Boomerang!

    Episode 1

    Directed by Elia Kazan • 1947 • United States
    Starring Dana Andrews, Lee J. Cobb, Karl Malden

    Shot on location in Connecticut where the events that inspired it actually transpired, this taut true-crime noir unfolds in the wake of the murder of a local priest. Facing pressure to bring in a suspec...

  • Gentleman’s Agreement

    Episode 2

    Directed by Elia Kazan • 1947 • United States
    Starring Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire, John Garfield

    Adapted from Laura Z. Hobson’s best-selling novel, this groundbreaking examination of anti-Semitism centers on a New York reporter (Gregory Peck) who decides to pose as a Jew in order to write a s...

  • Pinky

    Episode 3

    Directed by Elia Kazan • 1949 • United States
    Starring Jeanne Crain, Ethel Barrymore, Ethel Waters

    One of the first Hollywood films to tackle the issue of racism and the then-taboo subject of interracial romance, this controversial drama follows the journey of Pinky (Jeanne Crain), a Black woman...

  • Panic in the Streets

    Episode 4

    Directed by Elia Kazan • 1950 • United States
    Starring Richard Widmark, Paul Douglas, Barbara Bel Geddes

    One night in the New Orleans slums, vicious hoodlum Blackie (Jack Palance, in his film debut) and his friends kill an undocumented immigrant who won too much in a card game. When Dr. Clint Re...

  • Viva Zapata!

    Episode 5

    Directed by Elia Kazan • 1952 • United States
    Starring Marlon Brando, Jean Peters, Anthony Quinn

    The life and times of the legendary Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata are brought to the screen in this powerful biopic written by John Steinbeck. Marlon Brando delivers a riveting portrayal of a...

  • On the Waterfront

    Episode 6

    Directed by Elia Kazan • 1954 • United States
    Starring Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb

    Marlon Brando gives the performance of his career as the tough prizefighter-turned-longshoreman Terry Malloy in this masterpiece of urban poetry. A raggedly emotional tale of individual failure and soc...

  • Baby Doll

    Episode 7

    Directed by Elia Kazan • 1956 • United States
    Starring Carroll Baker, Karl Malden, Eli Wallach

    One of the most controversial films of the 1950s, this scorching black comedy was condemned by the National Legion of Decency and singled out as “just possibly the dirtiest American-made motion picture...

  • A Face In the Crowd

    Episode 8

    Directed by Elia Kazan • 1957 • United States
    Starring Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal, Walter Matthau

    A FACE IN THE CROWD chronicles the rise and fall of Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes (Andy Griffith), a boisterous entertainer discovered in an Arkansas drunk tank by Marcia Jeffries (Patricia Neal), a loc...

  • Wild River

    Episode 9

    Directed by Elia Kazan • 1960 • United States
    Starring Montgomery Clift, Lee Remick, Jo Van Fleet

    Elia Kazan poignantly chronicles a traditional way of life being lost to the steady drumbeat of progress in this evocative slice of Americana, one of the director’s richest and most moving films. Ch...

  • The Visitors

    Episode 10

    Directed by Elia Kazan • 1972 • United States
    Starring Patrick McVey, Patricia Joyce, James Woods

    The penultimate film by legendary director Elia Kazan is a gritty, intensely disturbing independent project shot on 16 mm in and around the Kazan family’s own home. On a snowy winter’s day at their ...

  • The Last Tycoon

    Episode 11

    Directed by Elia Kazan • 1976 • United States
    Starring Robert De Niro, Tony Curtis, Robert Mitchum

    F. Scott Fitzgerald’s final novel—a fascinating tale of studio politics in early Hollywood—is breathtakingly adapted to the big screen by Elia Kazan (in his own swan song) and scriptwriter Harold P...