AN AMERICAN ISM examines the making of America's most notorious demagogue, Senator Joseph R. McCarthy.
McCarthy became one of the most feared and powerful politicians of the 20th century when he exploited the "anti-communist" delirium and fear that blanketed post World War II America.
McCarthy's life story and his unlikely rise to power is told by friends, victims, and politicians. More than just a film biography, AN AMERICAN ISM reveals much about the nature and fragility of America's democratic institutions.
"Fascinating! Mr. McCarthy is remembered at one point as 'a simple hearted country boy who got caught in something over his head.' That evaluation is generous. McCarthyism, the symbol of distrust and suspicion in the 50s, remains a nightmare." - New York Times
1980 Dupont-Columbia University Award for Journalistic Excellence
Red Ribbon Winner, 1979 American Film Festival
"'It could happen again' became a fear and a threat. Perhaps it could, but that seems unlikely as long as [this] film keeps alive the memory of a genuine American horror." - TV Guide