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American Road [electronic resource]

Cold Chicago Productions
Video; Computer Resource; Online Video; Online
"Afoot and light-hearted, I take to the open road…" Using Walt Whitman's poetry as a touchstone, this fascinating documentary examines the mystique of the road in American literature, art, and music. The film looks at how the motif has manifested throughout the nation's history, inspiring the creation of a lore in which ramblers, hobos, beatniks, and backpackers become iconic representations of the American soul. The wanderings of Mark Twain, Woody Guthrie, Jack Kerouac, and others are contextualized within their work and with historical events, while commentary on the road as a symbol of freedom and transformation is provided by Anne Waldman, John Nichols (The Milagro Beanfield War), J. D. Hall, and historian Adam Green. With Ed Asner as the voice of Walt Whitman.
Release Date
Run Time
106 min.
9 & up
  • Films on Demand is distributed by Films Media Group for Films for the Humanities & Sciences, Cambridge Educational, Meridian Education, and Shopware.
  • Encoded with permission for digital streaming by Films media Group on June 13, 2012.
  • Breaking from Tradition (2:51)
  • Part I:Trespass, please (5:07)
  • Trespass, please: American Speculators (3:26)
  • Trespass, please: Freedom and Agitation (3:34)
  • Trespass, please: Poetry on the Road (3:50)
  • Trespass, please: Property Becomes Sacred (3:22)
  • Trespass, please: Jim Crow Train (2:59)
  • Out of the Hollers (2:44)
  • Out of the Hollers: The Road is a Meeting Place (5:41)
  • Out of the Hollers: Financial Trouble (2:19)
  • Out of the Hollers: Politics are a Type of Religion (4:27)
  • Out of the Hollers: United We Stand (2:02)
  • Out of the Hollers: Unions and Communism (3:59)
  • Out of the Hollers: Freedom? (5:28)
  • Part II: Angel-Headed Hipsters (3:48)
  • Angel-Headed Hipsters: Conformity (1:31)
  • Angel-Headed Hipsters: The Beats (4:52)
  • Angel-Headed Hipsters: On the Road (4:14)
  • Angel-Headed Hipsters: Open Spaces (3:59)
  • Angel-Headed Hipsters: "Beats" (2:59)
  • Angel-Headed Hipsters: Beatnik Success (4:38)
  • Angel-Headed Hipsters: In the Moment (1:49)
  • Angel-Headed Hipsters: Why Don't We Do it in the Road? (1:59)
  • Angel-Headed Hipsters: 1970s Perception (2:16)
  • Angel-Headed Hipsters: Social Changes (6:58)
  • Angel-Headed Hipsters: Interaction in the Streets (4:40)
  • Angel-Headed Hipsters: Sky is the Limit (2:54)
  • Angel-Headed Hipsters: Rucksack Revolution (2:32)
  • Epilogue: American Road (4:16)
  • Credits: American Road (3:15)
New York, N.Y. : Films Media Group, [2012], c2011.
Publisher no.
48260 Films Media Group
Access Restriction
Access requires authentication through Films on Demand.
1 streaming video file (106 min.) : sd., col., digital file.
System requirements: FOD playback platform.
Mode of access: Internet.
Technical Details
  • Access in Virgo Classic
  • Staff View