Film Screenings at the National Archives in September 2005
Press Release · Friday, August 5, 2005

Washington, DC. . . In September, the National Archives celebrates Constitution Day (September 17) with special screenings of films and videos related to the U. S. Constitution and also presents the Washington, DC, premiere of Proud, a true story of the only African American crew to take a Navy warship into combat during World War II. Reservations are recommended. Reserve by e-mail ( or telephone (202-501-5000).

All film screenings are free and open to the public. The William G. McGowan Theater is located in the National Archives Building on Constitution Avenue between 7th and 9th Streets, NW, Washington, DC.

September 1–13 -The Constitution: That Delicate Balance

The Charles Guggenheim Center for the Documentary Film at the National Archives and the National Archives present a 13-part series from the Annenberg/CPB Collection that will be screened in one-hour episodes. This 1984 Emmy Award–winning series brings constitutional issues to life and spurs viewers to examine their own understanding, beliefs, and biases. The heated roundtable debates in these programs, including such well-known figures as Ellen Goodman, Archibald Cox, Gloria Steinem, and Bill Moyers, vividly demonstrate the relevance and power of this enduring document. Noon.


Date Episode
1Executive Privilege and Delegation of Powers
2War Powers and Covert Action
3Nomination, Election, and Succession of the President
4Criminal Justice and a Defendant’s Right to a Fair Trial
5Crime and Insanity
6Crime and Punishments
7Campaign Spending
8National Security and Freedom of the Press
9School Prayer, Gun Control, and the Right to Assemble
10Right to Live, Right to Die
11Immigration Reform
12Affirmative Action versus Reverse Discrimination

Friday, September 16 -Constitutional Conversation with Supreme Court Justices

This video screening of a taped broadcast will feature United States Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Stephen Breyer discussing the Constitution with high-school students at the Supreme Court. The Justices take questions from the students and discuss a broad range of constitutional issues with particular emphasis on the need for a constitution, federalism, implicit and explicit rights, and separation of powers. (45 minutes) Noon.

Saturday, September 17 - The American Constitution: The Road from Runnymede

The American Constitution: The Road from Runnymede, a 1992 film narrated by Christopher Reeve, guides young viewers through 600 years of political struggle from the Magna Carta in 1215 to the Philadelphia Convention in 1787. It examines the English roots of our Constitution, highlighting the political turmoil of 17th-century England and showing how such fundamental principles as "rule of law" and "limited government" emerged. Finally, viewers see how these principles were translated into American colonial government and sparked powerful clashes between the colonists and Great Britain, leading to the first attempt at national government, the Articles of Confederation. (57 minutes. Appropriate for ages 12 and up.) Noon.

Wednesday, September 21 -Proud

The National Archives, in cooperation with the Congressional Black Caucus’ Veterans Braintrust and the Foundation for the Advancement of African-American Film, presents the Washington, DC, premiere of Proud, a feature-length motion picture based on the inspirational true story of the only African American crew to take a Navy warship (the USS Mason) into combat during World War II. The film's writer and director, Mary Pat Kelly, used records and footage from the National Archives in the film and in her 1995 book and documentary film, Proudly We Served: The Men of the USS Mason. Proud stars the late Ossie Davis (in one of his final film performances) and Stephen Rea. Joining us to introduce tonight's screening will be Kelly and members of the Congressional Black Caucus’ Veterans Braintrust. Several surviving members of the USS Mason crew are also scheduled to attend. (88 minutes.) 7 p.m.

Now Showing in the William G. McGowan Theater

The National Archives Experience Signature Film

Produced by Discovery (11 minutes)

"Democracy Starts Here"

Daily, every 20 minutes

10:30 a.m.–4 p.m.

The National Archives Experience Special Film

Produced by NOVA (17 minutes)

"Preserving the Charters of Freedom"

Daily at 10:10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

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To verify the date and times of the programs, the public should call the Public Programs Line at: (202) 501-5000, for information, or view the Calendar of Events on our web site. To contact the National Archives, please call 1-866-272-6272 or 1-86-NARA-NARA (TDD) 301-837-0482.

For Press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (202) 501-5526.


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