Colditz Castle, a notorious prisoner of war camp in Nazi Germany, was supposed to be escape-proof. But in World War II, a group of British officers dreamt up an escape plan: in a secret attic workshop, they constructed a two-man glider out of bed sheets and floorboards. The plan was to fly to freedom from the roof of the castle, but the war ended before they could put it to the test. Now a team of aero engineers and carpenters rebuilds the glider in the same attic using the same materials and use a bathtub full of concrete to catapult the glider off the roof to find out if the legendary glider plan would have succeeded.
Produced in collaboration with NPR, FRONTLINE presents the dramatic story of a Gitmo detainee released from the controversial U.S. prison after 14 years, and the struggle over freeing prisoners once deemed international terrorists. Also in this hour, FRONTLINE works with Retro Report to explore the untold history of the Guantanamo Bay prison.
This documentary covers Muhammad Ali’s toughest bout: his battle to overturn his five-year prison sentence for refusing U.S. military service. The film traces a formative period in Ali’s life, one unknown to young people and neglected by those who remember him as a boxer but overlook how controversial he was when he first took center stage. When Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali, he found himself caught up in conflicts concerning civil rights, religion and wartime dissent. This film focuses on the years 1967 to 1970, when Ali lived in exile within the U.S., stripped of his heavyweight belt and banned from boxing, sacrificing fame and fortune on principle.
Follow Ye Haiyan, aka Hooligan Sparrow, and other activists across southern China seeking justice for schoolgirls allegedly sexually abused by their principal. Named enemies of the state, the activists face interrogation and prison.
Follow a diverse cast of participants on an emotional journey who use history and science to uncover their fascinating family stories. Each individual’s past is a link to a larger community history, revealing the rich cultural tapestry of America.
Investigate a re-enactor’s Texas roots; learn about Andersonville prison; find out if a black man’s ancestors fought for the Confederacy; and uncover one woman’s link to a prominent Texas figure and another’s connection to the Cherokee Freedman.
The three convicts who escaped Alcatraz in rafts in 1962 were swept out to sea, never to be heard from again. Now, a team of scientists believes the escapees could have made it to dry land – but only if they left at a specific time.
During the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War, as the North Vietnamese Army closed in on Saigon, the South Vietnamese resistance crumbled. The United States had only a skeleton crew of diplomats and military operatives still in the country. With a communist victory inevitable and the U.S. readying to withdraw, many Americans on the ground worried their South Vietnamese allies and friends faced imprisonment or death at the hands of the approaching North Vietnamese. With the clock ticking and the city under fire, a number of heroic Americans took matters into their own hands, engaging in unsanctioned and often makeshift operations in a desperate effort to save as many South Vietnamese as possible. A film by Rory Kennedy.
Matt VanDyke was a recent college grad with a love of video games and action movies when he decided to embark on a “crash course in manhood.” With a motorcycle and a video camera, he set off on a life-changing 35,000-mile odyssey across North Africa and the Middle East that led to his participation in the 2011 Libyan revolution against Muammar Gaddafi and six-month imprisonment in Libya.
As VanDyke worked to reshape himself, he also helped create a stunning portrait of how the ever-present cameras in our “selfie society” not only record our lives, but also craft who we become.
Drawing from more than 100 hours of VanDyke’s videos, director Marshal Curry, with full creative independence in the making of the documentary, has created a riveting film that asks thorny questions about manhood, personal risk and the nature of war in the era of social media.
Standing guard over the city of London for nearly 1,000 years, the formidable Tower of London has been a royal castle, a prison, a place of execution and torture, an armory and the Royal Mint. This program unlocks the doors to secret rooms, talks to the people who do the jobs no one sees and reveals some surprising facts about one of England’s most famous buildings.
Hawai‘i reportedly placed 41% of its inmates in Arizona prisons last year. Now the State says it’s getting ready to send away 250 more prisoners while it replaces push-button technology in its electronic locking system at the Halawa Correctional Facility. With this development and with the prison system considering relocating and re-envisioning the Oahu Community Correctional Center, INSIGHTS ON PBS HAWAI‘I asks, How Should Hawai‘i House Its Prisoners? Daryl Huff hosts this discussion.