A film for the Emmy-winning PBS series, featuring profiles of two Irish-Americans bred in New England: Eugene O’Neill and Joe Kennedy. The film investigates what gave each of these men an insatiable craving for recognition and what made them continue to pursue it long after they had found fame and fortune. The main focus of the film is the Boston Irish in the years after World War II and the story of how they were finally able to move out of the Irish ghetto and join a new secular, homogenized, and middle‑class America. It also shows the changes that accompanied the jump from working class to middle class, including the loss of cultural ties and Irish identity. These personal stories of Irish families ambivalent about making the “move over” to the mainstream, giving up old patterns and core values, offer a rare look at the price of American “success” and the pain of assimilation. The film concludes with JFK’s ascent to the presidency and what his myth represents to the Irish in America. With a soundtrack by The Chieftains and Elvis Costello.
– Premiered on PBS
– Produced for the Lennon Documentary Group, Disney, & WGBH