Riding the Rails (1997) - Rotten Tomatoes

Riding the Rails (1997)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

This poignant and carefully-researched documentary takes a stark look at the harsh realities behind the oft-romanticized view of the Depression-era hobo. The filmmakers got their stories from the reminiscences of 10 former vagabonds and archival footage to create an accurate, at times wrenching, view of the wanderer's struggle to survive.

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Critic Reviews for Riding the Rails

All Critics (6)

Gorgeous and moving.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Film Journal International

Audience Reviews for Riding the Rails

Engrossing documentary of youthful hobos. The Great Depression caused many American youth leave home to illegally ride freight trains. An estimated 4 million people rode the rails looking for work. See the official trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOjQFyvqGTg The personal interviews of now older adults is fascinating to hear. Lots of interviews too. Era film showing what one man describes as a dog's life. The CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) were camps that provided relief and the film goes into that extensively. Narrated, with songs of the time. Some towns forbid rail youth. Some would not give any medical care. Homelessness was considered a crime. Camps, called jungles, were established by the kids and adults. The homeless came from everywhere. Some good footage about that too. Times were so bad as one recalled, getting paid was in a few tomatoes after unloading a railcar full of coal. Another man got 15 cents for a day's work, but gave it back thinking the employer needed it more than he. A trip back to a time when suffering was a way of life. As one man remembered, a humilating experience. One man cries on screen just talking about how homesick he got. Some color, mostly black and white, a disturbing reflection of a time no one should live through. Some will find this depressing to watch. Others will find it a heartfelt look back to a time we hope will never happen again. For the film in its entirety, try checking pbs.org. or the trailer only at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOjQFyvqGTg

monsieur rick
monsieur rick
½

A wonderful documentary, effective interviews, excellent footage from the era it is about. Informative, moving and very thought provoking.

James Higgins
James Higgins
½

A wonderful documentary, effective interviews, excellent footage from the era it is about. Informative, moving and very thought provoking.

James Higgins
James Higgins

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