Lead: As the AIDS pandemic began to spread and claim more lives, the movie industry responded with films that took the level of sophistication to a new height.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: During the 1980s, in response to society’s apparent lack of concern for those suffering from AIDS, activist movies emerged which challenged people indifference and their government’s inertia, such as Target City Hall (1989) and Stop the Church (1990) which criticized the church’s pettiness and sometimes hostility to the victims of the disease. Rockville is Burning (1989) addressed the widespread homophobia which impeded attempts to halt spread of the disease. Sympathy stories such Buddies (1985) and An Early Frost (1985) examined the grieving of the families of AIDS victims as well as creating sympathetic characters in an ‘infected as victim” trope. By the 1990s well-developed characters such as the lawyer played by Tom Hanks’ in the award-winning film Philadelphia (1993) created powerful sympathy for those struggling hopelessly against a disease which had only one tragic outcome.

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