Frontline

1983, TV Show

Full Episodes(127)

Latest Episode: Firestone and the Warlord

Nov 18, 2014 Season 33 Episode 3 watch on (Paid)

FRONTLINE and ProPublica investigate the relationship between Firestone and the infamous Liberian warlord Charles Taylor. Based on the inside accounts of Americans who ran the company's Liberia rubber plantation, and diplomatic cables and court documents, the investigation reveals how Firestone conducted business during the brutal Liberian civil war.

The Man Behind the Mosque

Sep 27, 2011 Season 29 Episode 20

It became the most controversial building in America, a mostly derelict property in lower Manhattan made infamous overnight as the Ground Zero Mosque. Going beyond frenzied media portraits at the time, FRONTLINE tells the inside stories of Sharif El-Gamal, a real estate developer, and of the victims' relatives and anti-Islam activists who helped turn his project into a continuing battle over faith, values, and the meaning of being American. Also in this hour: Adam Davidson of NPR's "Planet Money" returns to Haiti to meet a man with an unlikely plan to help turn around his country's economy through tourism.
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The Interrogator

Sep 13, 2011 Season 29 Episode 19

In a rare interview with Ali Soufan, the FBI agent who was at the center of the 9/11 investigations, FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith uncovers an insider’s view of the “war on terror.” One of only eight Arabic-speaking FBI agents, Soufan explains why he believes the attacks on the World Trade Center could have been prevented and how the use of torture failed to produce actionable intelligence. Also in this hour: Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Dana Priest investigates the terrorism-industrial complex that grew up in the wake of 9/11. In “Are We Safer?,” Priest explores the growing reach of homeland security, fusion centers, battlefield technologies and data-collecting into the lives of ordinary Americans.
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Top Secret America

Sep 06, 2011 Season 29 Episode 18

In the years after September 11th, FRONTLINE produced more than 45 hours of award-winning films documenting the 9/11 attacks and America's response to them. Now on the tenth anniversary of September 11th, FRONTLINE Producer Michael Kirk-Bush's War, The Torture Question, and Cheney's Law-teams up with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Dana Priest, to investigate the dramatic changes that have reshaped America in the last decade. The program examines the history of the secret side of America's "war on terror." From the creation of black site prisons abroad and super-secret facilities here in America, to targeted killings and covert wars waged by special forces, and the creation of a multibillion-dollar terrorism-industrial complex, FRONTLINE and Dana Priest ask how a decade of fighting terrorism has reshaped the country and whether it has made us any safer.
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The Pot Republic

Jul 26, 2011 Season 29 Episode 17

FRONTLINE's primetime monthly newsmagazine returns with three new stories, leading with a timely report from the frontlines of marijuana legalization in California. The bulk of the marijuana consumed in the United States used to come across the border from Mexico, Canada, and elsewhere. Now, more than half of it is believed to be home grown in California, where an enormous black market has emerged under the cover of the state's medical marijuana law. With more than a third of all states now experimenting with some form of legalization and decriminalization-and several California counties attempting to openly regulate pot production-FRONTLINE and The Center for Investigative Reporting team up to investigate the country's oldest, largest, and most wide-open marijuana market. Is the federal government now moving to shut it down? Also this hour: New Yorker writer and surgeon Atul Gawande reports on a doctor in Camden, New Jersey, who actually seeks out the community's sickest-and most expensive-patients. Dr. Jeffrey Brenner and his team are pioneering a practice called "hotspotting," in which medical care is focused on the hardest-to-treat to improve their health and dramatically reduce costs.
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The Child Cases

Jun 28, 2011 Season 29 Episode 16

When a child dies under suspicious circumstances, abuse is often suspected. That's what happened in the case of six-month-old Isis Vas, whose death was deemed "a clear-cut and classic" case of child abuse, sending a man named Ernie Lopez to prison for 60 years. But now a Texas judge has moved to overturn Lopez's conviction, and new questions are being asked about the quality of expert testimony in this and many other similar cases. In this joint investigation with ProPublica and NPR, FRONTLINE correspondent A.C. Thompson unearths more than 20 child death cases in which people were jailed on medical evidence-involving abuse, assault, and "shaken baby syndrome"-that was later found unreliable or flat-out wrong. Are death investigators being properly trained for child cases? Also in this magazine hour: Correspondent Martin Smith (College Inc.) continues to investigate for-profit colleges, this time focusing on their aggressive recruitment of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. Are the for-profits making promises that they can't keep?
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WikiSecrets

May 24, 2011 Season 29 Episode 15

It's the biggest intelligence breach in U.S. history-the leaking of more than half-a-million classified documents on the Wikileaks website in the spring of 2010. Behind it all, stand two very different men: Julian Assange, the Internet activist and hacker who published the documents, and an Army intelligence analyst named Bradley E. Manning, who's currently charged with handing them over. Private Manning allegedly leaked the secret cables-along with a controversial video-in the hope of inciting "worldwide discussion, debates and reforms." Assange's stated mission has been to force the U.S. and other governments into maximum transparency through his whistle-blowing website. Through in-depth interviews with Manning's father, Assange, and others close to the case, veteran FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith tells the full story behind the leaks. He also reports on the U.S. government's struggle to protect national security information in a post 9/11 world.
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Kill / Capture

May 10, 2011 Season 29 Episode 14

Behind the strike that killed Osama bin Laden was one of the U.S. military's best-kept secrets: a covert campaign that officials have credited with taking out thousands of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters. A six-month investigation by FRONTLINE has gone inside the military’s “kill/capture” operations to discover new evidence of the program’s impact -- and its costs. Under the command of Gen. David Petraeus, U.S. forces are carrying out an unprecedented number of targeted raids using highly classified intelligence, aerial drones and Special Operations Forces. But is the tactic working? In interviews with Gen. Petraeus, his senior commanders and, in rare footage with Taliban leaders and fighters, FRONTLINE producers Dan Edge (The Wounded Platoon) and Stephen Grey (Extraordinary Rendition) explore the logic behind the kill/capture policy and its consequences. Traveling into the lawless border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan, FRONTLINE tells the story from the perspective of Afghan civilians, U.S. troops and the Taliban militants they are pursuing. After almost 10 years of fighting, this film examines the question: will kill/capture help end the war in Afghanistan?
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Fighting for bin Laden

May 03, 2011 Season 29 Episode 13

In the aftermath of the killing of Osama bin Laden, FRONTLINE presents two inside views of the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban. First, Afghan journalist Najibullah Quraishi -- who reported last year’s award-winning FRONTLINE film "Behind Taliban Lines" -- once again journeys deep inside enemy territory. This time, he gains extraordinary access to a band of militants and foreign fighters in Afghanistan who say they’re loyal to bin Laden and are readying a Spring offensive against the U.S. Then, FRONTLINE crosses the border into Pakistan, where correspondents Stephen Grey and Martin Smith go inside “The Secret War” against the militants. They uncover new details of a CIA “private army” of militiamen launching kill raids against al Qaeda and the Taliban inside Pakistan. They also find new evidence of covert support for elements of the Taliban by the Pakistani military and its intelligence service, the ISI. At a safe house not far from where bin Laden was killed, they make contact with one mid-level Taliban commander who tells FRONTLINE, “If they really wanted to, [the Pakistanis] could arrest us all in an hour.”
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The Silence

Apr 19, 2011 Season 29 Episode 12

Producer Tom Curran and reporter Mark Trahant examine a little-known chapter of the Catholic Church sex abuse story: decades of abuse of Native Americans by priests and church workers in Alaska. The isolation of the villages and the absolute authority of the church over the Native population created an atmosphere where molestation could go unchecked and unreported. Also in this hour, a re-airing of “Flying Cheaper,” a January 2011 investigation into the outsourcing of major airline repair work to lower-cost independent maintenance operations in the U.S. and abroad. Closing the hour, a news update on “Flying Cheaper” from correspondent Miles O’Brien, as well as a follow-up on the story of Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei, who was taken into custody by government authorities days after FRONTLINE’s March 29 newsmagazine profile of him, as part of a larger crackdown on artists, bloggers and human-rights advocates.
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Football High

Apr 12, 2011 Season 29 Episode 11

High school football has never had a higher profile, with nationally televised games, corporate sponsorships and minute-by-minute coverage on sports websites. In northwest Arkansas, FRONTLINE examines one ambitious high school team working its way towards national renown. With a superstar quarterback at the helm, tiny Shiloh Christian is striving to join the ranks of the country's best high school teams-teams whose workout schedules, practices, and styles of play increasingly imitate the pros. But as high school players grow bigger, faster, and stronger, there are growing concerns about the health and safety of these young players-with rising rates of concussions, career-ending injuries, even death. In Arkansas, FRONTLINE documents a tragic story of heat-stroke injuries that reveal how weak regulation has created a crucial lack of athletic trainers at most high schools. It all raises a critical question: has the amped-up culture of high school football outrun necessary protections for the boys who play the game?
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Money and March Madness

Mar 29, 2011 Season 29 Episode 10

FRONTLINE continues its new monthly magazine program with the lead story “Money and March Madness,” an inside look at the multi-billion dollar business of the NCAA and its brand of amateur college sports. In this investigation, correspondent Lowell Bergman gains access to Sonny Vaccaro, a former marketing executive at Nike, Adidas and Reebok, who helped bring about the rapid commercialization of college basketball. Vaccaro’s success made coaches, administrators and companies rich. But the players remain at the mercy of the NCAA, which, despite a new $10.8 billion contract for its basketball tournament, has continued to insist that the athletes don’t get paid. Now, Vaccaro has left the business world, and he’s spearheading a class-action lawsuit that aims to ensure that players get a piece of the action. Also in this hour: a portrait of a man who’s sometimes called China’s Andy Warhol-Ai Weiwei. He’s a global art star who’s now using his international renown, along with a video camera and a growing underground Twitter following, to push the boundaries of freedom in today’s China. Later in the hour, as the fall-out from WikiLeak’s continues, an exclusive interview with Private Bradley Manning's father, who speaks out for the first time about his son's upbringing and troubled youth, Manning's time in the Army, and why he still believes his son did not hand over the largest cache ever of classified documents to the whistle-blowing site.
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Revolution in Cairo

Feb 22, 2011 Season 29 Episode 9

FRONTLINE dispatches teams to Cairo, going inside the youth movement that helped light the fire on the streets. We follow the "April 6" group, which two years ago began making a bold use of the Internet for their underground resistance -- tactics that led to jail and torture for many of their leaders. Now, starting with the "Day of Rage," we witness those same leaders plot strategy and head into "Liberation Square" to try to bring down President Mubarak. Also in this hour, veteran Middle East correspondent Charles Sennott of GlobalPost lands in Cairo for FRONTLINE to take a hard look at Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood -- the most well-organized and powerful of the country's opposition groups -- as a new fight for power in Egypt begins to takes shape.
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The Silence [HD]

Feb 15, 2011 Season 29 Episode 8

From PBS and Frontline - Producer Tom Curran and reporter Mark Trahant examine a little-known chapter of the Catholic Church sex abuse story: decades of abuse of Native Americans by priests and church workers in Alaska.
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Post Mortem

Feb 01, 2011 Season 29 Episode 7

Every day, nearly 7,000 people die in America. And when these deaths happen suddenly, or under suspicious circumstances, we assume there will be a thorough investigation, just like we see on CSI. But the reality is very different. In over 2,000 counties across America, elected coroners, many with no medical or scientific background, are in charge of death investigations. Nationwide there is a severe shortage of competent forensic pathologists to do autopsies. The rate of autopsies—the gold standard of death investigation—has plummeted over the decades from fifty percent of those who die to less than six percent. As a result, not only do murderers go free and innocent people go to jail, but the crisis in death investigation in America is also a threat to public health. FRONTLINE correspondent Lowell Bergman reports the results of a joint investigation with ProPublica, NPR, and the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley.
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Are We Safer?

Jan 18, 2011 Season 29 Episode 6

FRONTLINE launches its new monthly magazine program with three reports, led by "Are We Safer?" In this first story, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Dana Priest investigates the terrorism-industrial complex that grew up in the wake of 9/11. Against a backdrop of recent mail bomb threats from Al Qaeda in Yemen and growing concerns about homegrown terrorists, Priest explores the growing reach of homeland security, fusion centers, battlefield technologies, and data-collecting into the lives of ordinary Americans. The second is Flying Cheaper - FRONTLINE examines another growing trend: the outsourcing of major airline repair work to lower-cost independent maintenance operations abroad and here in the U.S. Finally, FRONTLINE Correspondent Martin Smith interviews Afghanistan’s former chief of intelligence, Amrullah Saleh, at his home in the Panjshir Valley, to ask him about his defection from the Karzai administration.
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Battle For Haiti

Jan 11, 2011 Season 29 Episode 5

Last year, in the chaos of the earthquake that devastated Haiti, thousands of the country's worst criminals seized the opportunity to stage a mass escape from the National Penitentiary. One year later, the gang leaders are re-asserting control in the capital, threatening the country's stability. With unique access to the police units trying to hunt down the gangsters-and revealing encounters with the gangsters themselves-FRONTLINE examines the uphill fight to rebuild Haiti in the face of deep-rooted corruption and intimidation. The film also offers intimate portraits of the fearful lives many Haitians are living, as the central government and judicial system routinely fail to maintain order. "Haiti is a nation that committed collective suicide some time ago," the chief of the UN mission tells FRONTLINE. If the gangs are not defeated, many now believe a new Haiti cannot be born.
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Facing Death

Nov 23, 2010 Season 29 Episode 4

How far would you go to sustain the life of someone you love, or your own? When the moment comes, and you’re confronted with the prospect of pulling the plug, do you know how you’ll respond? FRONTLINE examines the complicated reality of today’s modern, medicalized death, and offers an unusually intimate portrait of patients facing the prospect of dying in ways that they might never have wanted or imagined.
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The Confessions

Nov 09, 2010 Season 29 Episode 3

Why would four innocent men confess to a brutal crime they didn’t commit? FRONTLINE producer Ofra Bikel ("Innocence Lost," "An Ordinary Crime") investigates the conviction of four Navy sailors for the rape and murder of a Norfolk, Virginia, woman in 1997. In interviews with the sailors, Bikel learns of some of the high-pressure police interrogation techniques, including the threat of the death penalty, sleep deprivation and intimidation, that led each of the "Norfolk Four" to confess, despite any evidence linking them to the crime. All four sailors are now out of prison — one served his sentence and the other three were granted conditional pardons last summer — but the men were not exonerated as felons or sex offenders. The case raises disturbing questions about the actions of the police and prosecutors, who relied on the sailors’ often contradictory confessions for their convictions, and disregarded DNA evidence that pointed to a lone assailant who would later confess to the crime himself while serving prison time for another rape.
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The Spill

Oct 26, 2010 Season 29 Episode 2

Long before the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf, BP was widely viewed as a company that valued deal making and savvy marketing over safety, a “serial environmental criminal” that left behind a long trail of problems -- deadly accidents, disastrous spills, countless safety violations -- which many now believe should have triggered action by federal regulators. Could the spill have been prevented? Through interviews with current and former employees and executives, government regulators, and safety experts, FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith joins with the investigative non-profit ProPublica to examine the trail that led to the disaster in the Gulf. From BP’s vast oil fields in Alaska to its refineries in Texas and its trading rooms in New York and London, the film raises new questions about whether BP’s corporate culture will finally be forced to change.
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Death By Fire

Oct 19, 2010 Season 29 Episode 1

Did Texas execute an innocent man? Several controversial death penalty cases are currently under examination in Texas and in other states, but it’s the 2004 execution of Cameron Todd Willingham — convicted for the arson deaths of his three young children — that’s now at the center of the national debate. With unique access to those closest to the case, FRONTLINE examines the Willingham conviction in light of new science that raises doubts about whether the fire at the center of the case was really arson at all. The film meticulously examines the evidence used to convict Willingham, provides an in-depth portrait of those most impacted by the case and explores the explosive implications of the execution of a possibly innocent man.
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