Pasadena City College, Home of the PCC Lancers



Click on the headings to sort the list in alphabetical order by title, genre or theme. (

Title Genre Synopsis More information about the film Similar theme in ESL textbook
42 Biography, Drama, Sport The life story of Jackie Robinson and his history-making signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers under the guidance of team executive Branch Rickey. IMDB  
11th Hour Documentary A look at the state of the global environment including visionary and practical solutions for restoring the planet's ecosystems. IMDB
12 Years a Slave Biography, Drama, History In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. IMDB  
60's, the- The Years that Shaped a Generation (PBS) (currently not available) Documentary, History the 1960s history/culture IMDB
Akeelah and the Bee Drama A young girl learns to believe in herself and value her intelligence IMDB
Al Capone Adventure, Drama, Western This factual biography of gang lord Al Capone IMDB
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore Drama, Romance

A recently widowed woman on the road determined to make a new life for herself as a singer.

Alive Action, Adventure, Drama, History, Thriller Plane crash in Andes IMDB

American Beauty (currently not available)



Asuburban father in a mid-life crisis,r decides to turn his hectic life around after developing an infatuation for his daughter's attractive friend.

American History X Crime, Drama A former neo-nazi skinhead tries to prevent his younger brother from going down the same wrong path that he did. IMDB
An Inconvenient Truth Documentary Environment/global warming, Al-Gore's campaign IMDB
Anne Frank Remembered Documentary, Biography, War British documentary offers the most complete biographical account ever compiled of the young Jewish girl diary. IMDB

33B (Level 5) 2 Novels Available

Apollo 13 Adventure, Drama, History True story of the moon-bound mission that developed severe trouble and the men that rescued it with skill and dedication IMDB

420 (Level 1) Penguin Reader

As Good As It Gets Comedy, Drama, Romance Unlikely friendships IMDB
Awakening Drama A doctor finds cure for comatose patients IMDB


Babe Adventure, Drama, Family

Babe, a pig raised by sheepdogs, learns to herd sheep with a little help from Farmer Hoggett.

Backdraft Action, Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller Fire fighting IMDB
Badland (currently not available) Drama Iraq war vetera returns with mental health issues IMDB
Beautiful mind, a



Bend it like Beckham Comedy, Drama, Romance, Sport Soccer IMDB
Big (1988) Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy, Romance IMDB
Blade Runner

Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Future sci-fi in LA IMDB
Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary Documentary Hitler's secretary provides new view on WWII IMDB
Bourne Identity, The (2002) Action, Crime, Mystery Amnesiac discovers that he is skilled at killing IMDB

Level 33A/B (Level 4 & 5) Novel Available

Bowling for Columbine Documentary school violence/guns in the US IMDB
Bridget Jones's Diary Drama, Romance, Western British orphan goes to live with Uncle in India IMDB
Brokeback Mountain Drama, Romance, Western Cowboys/relationships IMDB
Call of the Wild Adventure, Drama, Family

In Montana, a young girl attracts the attention of an evil stranger after she rescues a hurt wolf.

420 (Level 1) Novel Available
Casablanca (1942) Classics ,Drama, Romance, War During World War II American meets a former lover. IMDB
Catch 22 Comedy, War A man is trying desperately to be certified insane during World War II, so he can stop flying missions. IMDB
Chicago Crime, Musical, Drama A chanteuse and tease who killed her husband and sister after finding them in bed together) IMDB
China Rises Documentary Brief history of China/Culture IMDB
China Syndrome Thriller, Drama Nuclear power plant accident + media IMDB
Level 33A/B
(Level 4 & 5) Novel Available
China's Lost Girls Documentary, China/Culture Gender gaps in China  
Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe Adventure, Family, Fantasy

Four kids travel through a wardrobe to the land of Narnia and learn of their destiny to free it with the guidance of a mystical lion.


Novel Series Available

Citizen Kane Classics,Drama, mystery

Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance.

Clear and Present Danger Action, Drama, Thriller Illegal war between US and Cuba IMDB
Coal Miner's Daughter Drama, Music Country singer Loretta Lynn IMDB
Color Purple, THE Drama Race in the US, slavery IMDB
Crash (2004) Drama, Thriller Racial/socio-economic relations in LA IMDB
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Action, Adventure, Drama Two warriors pursue stolen sword IMDB
Dances with Wolves Adventure, Drama, Western Native american IMDB

Day without a Mexican, A (2004)

Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Mystery

Need for foreign labor


Dead Man Walking Crime, Drama Death penalty IMDB
Dead Poets Society Drama US private school IMDB
Dim Sum Comedy Asian-american IMDB
Do the Right Thing Comedy, Drama Tolerance IMDB
Dogtown and Z-Boys Documentary, Sport Skateboarding IMDB
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb Comedy Cold war hysteria IMDB
Dr. Zhivago Drama, Romance, War Russian revolution IMDB
Easy Rider (1969) Adventure, Crime, Drama

Two counterculture bikers travel from Los Angeles to New Orleans in search of America.

Emma Drama In rural 1800s England things go bad for a young matchmaker after she finds a man for another woman. IMDB

ESL 122 (Level) Penguin Reader

Empire of the Sun Drama, Biography, War Japanese occupation in England IMDB
Evita Argentina/Culture, Biography, Drama Music Evita Duarte IMDB
Fahrenheit 9-11 Documentary, Comedy, history 9-11 terrorist attacks IMDB
Falling Down Drama, thriller Mentally ill or just frustrated? IMDB
Fast Food Nation Documentary, Drama Fast food in the US IMDB
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (currently not available) Comedy, Drama US high school (public school) IMDB
Fidel TV Movie, Drama Fidel Castro IMDB
Field of Dreams Drama, Family, Fantasy, Sport Baseball IMDB
Forrest Gump Comedy, Drama, Romance

Forrest Gump, while not intelligent, has accidentally been present at many historic moments, but his true love, Jenny, eludes him.


ESL 422 (Level) Penguin Reader

French Connection, The Action, Crime, Thriller NYC cops battle drug smuggling op IMDB
Frida Biography, Art, Drama, Romance Frida Kahlo IMDB
Fried Green Tomatoes Drama, Comedy Americana/ friendships IMDB
Fugitive, the Action, Crime Adventure IMDB

ESL 33B (Level 5) Novel Available

Fugitive Pieces Drama Boy escapes from Poland in WWII IMDB
Gandhi Biography, Drama, History The lawyer who became the famed leader of the Indian revolts against the British rule through his philosophy of non-violent protest. IMDB
ESL 456     (Level 1) Penguin Reader
Gattaca Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller A genetically inferior man assumes the identity of a superior one in order to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel. IMDB  
Ghostbusters Comedy, Fantasy Ghost Removal IMDB
Godfather, The Crime, Drama, Thriller Italian mafia, IMDB
Good Will Hunting (currently not available) Drama Math genius janitor discovered by MIT professor IMDB
Gran Torino Drama Disgruntled Korean War veteran Walt Kowalski sets out to reform his neighbor, a Hmong teenager who tried to steal Kowalski's prized possession: a 1972 Gran Torino. IMDB  
Grease Comedy, Musical, Romance American high school IMDB
Great Debaters, The Drama, History African-American debate team/civil rights IMDB
Great Wall, a

Comedy, Drama


Groundhog Day Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

A weatherman finds himself living the same day over and over again.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Drama, Romance Inter-racial romance (1960's) IMDB
Happy Feet
(currently not available)
Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Musical Penguins, animated IMDB
Hearts and Minds Documentary, War Vietnam War IMDB
Higher Learning Drama, Romance, sports Tolerance/ college shooting IMDB
Holes Adventure, Comedy, Drama

A wrongfully convicted boy is sent to a brutal desert detention camp where he joins the job of digging holes for some mysterious reason.

ESL 422     (Level 2) Novel Available
Hunger Games, The Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister's place in the Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to compete. IMDB  
Hunger Games: Catching Fire Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem. IMDB  
Hunt for Red October, the Action, Adventure, Thriller

In 1984, the USSR's best submarine captain in their newest sub violates orders and heads for the USA. Is he trying to defect, or to start a war?

In America Adventure, Drama Irish family moves to NY IMDB
Into the Wild Adventure, Biography, Drama After graduating from Emory University, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters that shape his life. IMDB  
It's a Wonderful Life Drama, Family, Fantasy, Romance Classic Christmas tale IMDB
JFK Biography, Crime, Drama, History, Mystery, Thriller JFK/politics IMDB
Joy Luck Club, The Cross-cultural exchanges Chinese/Chinese-american family relations IMDB
Journey to America (PBS) (currently not available) Documentary Immigration to the US IMDB
Jungle Fever Drama, Romance Inter-racial romance IMDB
Jurassic Park Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi IMDB

ESL 33A/B (Level 4&5) Novel Available

Kramer vs. Kramer Drama Divorced man battles for child custody IMDB
LA Confidential Crime, mystery, thriller As corruption grows in 1950s LA, three policemen - the straight-laced, the brutal, and the sleazy - investigate a series of murders with their own brand of justice IMDB
LA Story Comedy, Drama, fantasy Satire on LA culture IMDB
Lars and the Real Girl Comedy, Drama, Romance Community/need for companionship IMDB
Last Emperor, the Biography, China History/Culture Emperor of China IMDB
Last of the Mohicans (currently not available) Adventure, Romance, War native american IMDB
Las Vegas - An unconventional history (PBS) (currently not available) Documentary history of Las Vegas PBS
Leading with Kindness Documentaries 5 model companies on leadership in the US, including Google contact
Lean on Me Drama The dedicated but tyrannical Joe Clark is appointed the principal of a decaying inner-city school that he is determined to improve. IMDB  
Like Water for Chocolate Mexico/Culture, Drama, Romance Forbidden love IMDB
ESL 122     (Level 3)     Novel Available
Little Miss Sunshine Drama, Comedy beauty contest IMDB
Little Women (1994) (currently not available) Drama, Family, Romance IMDB
Lord of the Flies Adventure, Drama, Thriller

Stranded on an island, a group of schoolboys degenerate into savagery.

Lord of the Rings Action, Adventure, Fantasy IMDB
Lost in America Comedy travel around the US in mobile home
Lost in Translation Comedy, Drama, romance Americans in Japan IMDB
Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media Documentary Media & Propoganda IMDB
Man Who Knew Too Much, the Classics, Adventure, Mystery, Thriller Hitchcock IMDB
Mao Tse Tung: China's Peasant Emperor Biography, China History/Culture Mao Tse Tung  
Maxed Out Documentary on US themes the credit crisis in the US IMDB
Memoirs of a Geisha Drama, Romance IMDB


Million Dollar Baby Drama, Sport boxing IMDB
Miracle on 34th Street Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy, Romance classic Christmas tale IMDB
Miracle Worker, the (Anne Bancroft) Other Helen Keller's story IMDB
Miss America (PBS) (currently not available) Beauty Contest beauty contests IMDB
Mr Bean series Other good for summarizing past tense
Mr Holland's Opus Drama, Music teacher inspiration/band class IMDB
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) Classics, Drama

A naive man is appointed to fill a vacancy in the US Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down.

Murder on the Orient Express (1974) Crime, Mystery, Drama, Thriller

In 1935, when his train is stopped by deep snow, detective Hercule Poirot is called on to solve a murder that occurred in his car the night before.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding Comedy, romance American marries into Greek IMDB
My Fair Lady (1964) Drama, Family, Musical, Romance A misogynistic and snobbish phonetics professor agrees to a wager that he can take a flower girl and make her presentable in high society. IMDB
Namesake,  the Cross-cultural exchanges Indian/Indian-American family relations IMDB
Naom Chomsky: Rebel Without a Pause Documentary, War Current affairs IMDB
Not Without My Daughter Drama, Thriller American woman in Iran wants to escape IMDB
October Sky Drama, Biography, Family Coal-miner's son, follow dreams of becoming astronaut IMDB
Of Mice and Men Drama IMDB
ESL 33A/B (Level 4 & 5 ) Novel Available
Old Man and the Sea, the Based on literature Hemingway's classic story
ESL 33A    (Level 4)     Novel Available
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Drama Mental health IMDB

ESL 33B    (Level 5 )    Novel Available

Outsourced (2006) Comedy, romance American in India IMDB

Passage to India, a

Adventure, Drama, history



Patch Adams Comedy, Drama doctor uses humor to treat patients IMDB
Pelican Brief, The Based on literature   IMDB
People vs. Larry Flint, the (currently not available) US History/culture free-speech IMDB
Perfect Score, The High school/college in US getting into college - SAT test IMDB
Philadelphia Story, The (currently not available) Other Funny love triangles IMDB
Picture of Dorian Gray (2008) (currently not available) Based on literature
Pieces of April (currently not available) Comedy, Drama family and Thanksgiving IMDB
Planes, Trains and Automobiles Adventure, Comedy, Drama Comedy of friendship on Thanksgiving IMDB
Pride and Prejudice Based on literature
ESL 33A (Level 4) Novel Available
Psycho (currently not available) Horror, Thriller classic psycho thriller (good for Halloween) IMDB
Quinceañera Drama family ties/ growing up IMDB
Rain Man Drama Two brothers travel cross-country IMDB
Raise the Red Lantern Drama Life as one of many wives, China History/Culture, Other IMDB
Real Life Comedy media IMDB
Real Women Have Curves Comedy, Drama 1st gen Mexican-American growing up IMDB
Rebecca (1940) Drama, Mystery, Romance, Thriller IMDB

ESL33A/B     (Level 4 & 5) Novel Available

Rebel without a Cause Drama, Romance Teenager rebellion in the 50s IMDB
Recount (currently not available) Documentary, Drama 2000 US election/civics IMDB

ESL 33B    (Level 5)      Novel Available

Rosa Parks Story (Angela Bassett) (currently not available) Biography, Drama African American/civil rights IMDB
Schindler's List Biography, Drama, History, War Holocaust IMDB

ESL 33A/B     (Level 4 & 5)     Novel Available

Secret Garden, The Other   IMDB
Sense and Sensibility Drama, Romance
Seven Years in Tibet Biography, Adventure, Drama An Austrian befriends Dalai Lama IMDB
Sherlock Holmes Action, Adventure, Crime Detective Sherlock Holmes and his stalwart partner Watson engage in a battle of wits and brawn with a nemesis whose plot is a threat to all of England. IMDB  
Shining, The   Classic psycho thriller (good for halloween) IMDB
Shrek Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Romance IMDB
Sicko Documentary Health insurance in the US IMDB
Slangman Guide, The(currently not available) lang educational American Idioms, slang and culture
Slavery & the Making of America (4-Disc Series) (2004) History Slavery IMDB
Smoke Signals Comedy, Drama Native American, US History/culture IMDB
Soul Man Comedy affirmative action IMDB
Sound of Music, The Musicals governess for von Trapp family in Nazi Austria IMDB
Speed Action, Crime, Drama Bomb on bus IMDB
Spellbound (2002) (currently not available) Documentary spelling bee IMDB
Spiderman Action, Adventure, Fantasy Your friendly, web-slinging, neighborhood Spidey IMDB
Squid and the Whale, The US History/culture family ties/divorce IMDB
Stand and Deliver Drama LA public high school / teacher inspiration IMDB
Straight Story. the Other family / americana IMDB
Supersize Me (currently not available) Documentary, Comedy, Drama fast food in the US IMDB
Swingers (currently not available) Comedy, Drama LA nightlife/male relationships IMDB
Thank you for Smoking Documentary, Comedy, Drama satirical Comedy on Big Tobacco IMDB
Thin Documentaries on US themes obsession with weight IMDB
Titanic US History/culture historical fiction IMDB
To Kill a Mockingbird Based on literature IMDB
ESL 33A/B    (Level 4&5 )  Novel Available
Total Recall Other Virtual Reality IMDB
True Story of Charlie Wilson, The US History/Culture, Biography Charlie Wilson  
Truman Show, the Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi media/propganda IMDB
Vertigo Drama, mystery, Romance, Thriller Hitchcock IMDB
Visitor, the (currently not available) Crime, Drama, Romance Illegal immigration IMDB
We are Marshall Drama, Sport football team IMDB  
West Side Story Musicals, Romance, Drama IMDB
Wetback: The Undocumented Documentary Documentary illegal immigration IMDB
What the Bleep Do We Know Documentary, Comedy, Drama Science and spirituality come together in this mind-bending trip down the rabbit hole IMDB  
When Harry Met Sally (currently not available) Comedy, Drama, Romance relationships IMDB
Who Killed the Electric Car (currently not available) Documentary electric vehicles IMDB
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory(Gene Wilder) (currently not available) Family, Musical, Fantasy, Comedy IMDB
Witness (Harrison Ford) US History/culture Amish community IMDB
ESL 33A/B    (Level 4&5 )  Novel Available
Year of the Yao, the Documentary From China to the NBA. From hero to underdog. The phenomenal journey of Yao Ming IMDB