Film cover images for "In Cold Blood", "The Burning Bed", "La Noire De", and "Paris is Burning".

Most of our films and documentaries are in giant aggregations bundled together by vendors. The vendors choose the content for us; a mix of documentaries, made-for-education content, and feature films no longer being distributed through more profitable outlets. These bundles include Proquest’s AVON and Infobase Films On Demand. To quickly meet demand for additional titles we use Swank and Kanopy. Both of these services enable us to acquire titles on an a la carte basis, via 12 month streaming rental licenses. Once we have purchased a license, any member of the John Jay community can watch the films. All of the films below were chosen by an instructor with a particular pedagogical aim, and they also make pretty good entertainment viewing. Here are some of the films faculty have chosen to introduce to their students that you might enjoy watching too. Get to Swank and Kanopy from our video collections list at

Horror: The Shining (1980) Swank license until August 2023; Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963) Swank license until
August 2023; In Cold Blood (1967) Swank license until January 2023.

Court room dramas: Denial (2016) Kanopy license until September 2023; The Burning Bed (1984) Swank license until September 2023; Belly of the Beast (2020) Kanopy license until March 2023.

Foreign Art House: Black Girl / La Noire de… (1966) Kanopy license until August 2023; La Jetee (1963) Kanopy license until September 2023; Tabu (2012) Kanopy license until August 2023; Timbuktu (2014) Kanopy license until June 2023.

Set in New York City: Do the Right Thing (1989) Swank license until August 2023; Los Sures: A Puerto Rican
Barrio in Brooklyn
(1984) Kanopy license until October 2023; My Brooklyn (2012) Kanopy license until April
2023; Paris is Burning (1990) Kanopy license until September 2023; Saturday Night Fever (1977) Swank
license until September 2023.

Our top ten most watched titles so far this semester, on Swank: (defined as July through end October)
The Birds (1963); Fargo (1996); Rosemary's Baby (1968); BlacKkKlansman (2018); Saturday Night Fever (1977); The Silence of the Lambs (1991); Frankenstein (1931); Chi-Raq (2015); Sicko (2007); Glory (1989).

Most watched so far this semester on our Kanopy platform: M (1931); Sueño en otro idioma / I Dream in Another Language (2017); I Am Not Your Negro (2016); La Jetée (1963); Killing Us Softly 4: Advertising's Image of Women (2010); Race - The Power of an Illusion (2003); The Mask You Live In (2015); My Brooklyn (2012); People Like Us: Social class in America (1999); The Bro Code: How Contemporary Culture Creates Sexist Men (2011).

For more films, please see
To request a film, please email

-- Ellen Sexton