Frontline is a public affairs television program of varying length produced at WGBH in Boston, Massachusetts, and distributed through the Public Broadcasting Service network in the United States. The program has been on the air since 1983, and is highly respected for producing in-depth documentaries about various subjects, leading to numerous awards. A number of the programs are made by independent filmmakers and shown under the Frontline "brand." A good example of this would be the 1998 film The Farmer's Wife.
Every four years, the series runs a special episode discussing the top contenders for the position of President of the United States. The most recent of these was The Choice 2004, discussing John Kerry and George W. Bush.
Some episodes of the series dealing with the terrorist group Al Qaeda were reportedly viewed by staff at the White House on the evening of September 11, 2001. Frontline had produced some in-depth reports about the organization in the wake of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings. Other episodes have resulted in significant developments on the issues discussed; an example of this is A Dangerous Business.
Most reports are an hour in length, but some are extended to 90 minutes or beyond.
Frontline has made some of its documentaries (50, as of July 2005) available via streaming Internet video, from their website.
Frontline/World is a spinoff series that first aired on May 23 2002. It focuses on issues from around the globe, and uses a "short story" format, where each episode typically has three stories that run about 15 to 20 minutes in length. Its tagline is: stories from a small planet. The format of these episodes in some ways mirror the more well-known CBS television series 60_Minutes.
See also: Full chronological list on PBS/Frontline site.
- The Last Abortion Clinic – The ongoing and incremental legal challenges to abortion by pro-life groups.
- Death of a Princess – 25th anniversary rebroadcast of an extremely controversial 1980 docudrama about the true story of a young Saudi princess and her lover who had been publicly executed for adultery. (synopsis)
- Israel's Next War? – On extremist Jewish militant groups, their ideology, and their opposition to the Gaza pullout plan. (synopsis)
- The Soldier's Heart – The psychological costs of war.
- A Company of Soldiers – The raw daily reality of occupying Iraq.
- House of Saud – History of the Saudi government and its impact on world events.
- Al Qaeda's New Front – Europe under terrorist threat.
- Secret History of the Credit Card – Reading the fine print on the credit card industry.
- Is Wal-Mart Good for America? – Good prices at America's expense.
- The Persuaders – The science that goes into the pervasive advertising of products and politics.
- Rumsfeld's War – Asserting civilian control over military strategy.
- The Choice 2004 – Biographies on John Kerry and George W. Bush.
- Sacred Ground – Debate over designing the Freedom Tower.
- The Plea – Harsh realities of U.S. jurisprudence.
- The Way the Music Died – Business interests controlling creative endeavors.
- The Jesus Factor – The role religion played in Bush's rise to power.
- Son of Al Qaeda – An informant from the inner circles of Al Qaeda.
- Diet Wars – Diets are competing for marketshare, but do they work?
- Ghosts of Rwanda – Accounting for the failure to stop genocide.
- The Invasion of Iraq – Strategies, key battles, surprises, and turning points of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
- Tax Me if You Can – How corporations avoid taxes and who pays as a result.
- Beyond Baghdad – The dynamics of democracy across Iraq.
- Chasing Saddam's Weapons – Hunting for Saddam's WMD's and unanswered questions.
- From China with Love – Philosophy and failure of counter-intelligence in the U.S..
- Who Was Lee Harvey Oswald? – A detailed biography that puts conspiracies in context. (3 hours)
- Dangerous Prescription – Pharmaceutical influence over the FDA drug approval process.
- The Alternative Fix – The big business and questionable science of alternative medicine.
- Chasing the Sleeper Cell – Background of the Lackawanna six and the Patriot Act.
- Truth, War, and Consequences – The consequences of using propaganda in the lead up to war with Iraq.
- Public Schools, Inc. – Edison Schools are trying to run better public schools for profit.
- The Other Drug War – The battle over high priced pharmaceuticals.
- The Wall Street Fix – With the deception of big banks and corporations, can confidence be restored?
- Burden of Innocence – What happens to the wrongly convicted?
- Cyber War! – Counter-terrorism expert Richard Clarke creates defenses for cyberspace.
- Kim's Nuclear Gamble – Nuclear weapons provide North Korea protection and a bargaining chip, but also antagonizes the international community.
- Blair's War – Facing strong opposition in Britain, Tony Blair supports the Iraq war in an attempt to gain access to the Bush administration decision process.
- The Long Road to War – The complicated history of conflict between the U.S. and Saddam Hussein as told by numerous Frontline reports.
- The War Behind Closed Doors – The key people and disagreements over Bush's determination to go to war with Iraq.
- China in the Red – As China reforms their failing economy there are stories of human success and cost, along with unknown political and social consequences.
- Failure to Protect: The Caseworker Files – Discussion with caseworkers, experts and reformers on the failings and possible solutions for the child welfare system.
- Failure to Protect: The Taking of Logan Marr – The death of a five-year old in foster care forces Maine to reexamine its child protection system.
- A Dangerous Business – The McWane iron foundries focus on production and profitability comes at a price.
- Much Ado About Something – Did Shakespeare actually write his plays and poems, or was it Christopher Marlowe?
- From Jesus to Christ – A four hour special documentary on Jesus' life and early Christians. Using the best evidence available and interviews with leading scholars it provides nuance, context, understanding and timeline to the Bible and Christianity. (Original Airdate: April 6, 1998)
- A Class Divided – The day after Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered an Iowa schoolteacher taught her third-grade students about discrimination through first-hand experience. (Original Airdate: March 26, 1985)
- Abortion Clinic: Streaming video – Five weeks in a Chester, Pennsylvania abortion clinic. Winner of the 1983 National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Emmy Award for Outstanding Background/Analysis of a Single Current Story. (Original Airdate: April 18, 1983)
- 88 Seconds in Greensboro: Transcript – What happened at the Greensboro Massacre? (Original Airdate: January 24, 1983)