the Pruitt-Igoe Myth, Educational DVD Front

the Pruitt-Igoe Myth

Educational DVD for Classroom or Library Use

Educational DVD Price:
K-12 Schools & Public Libraries: $95
Universities & Other Organizations: $295


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The Pruitt-Igoe Myth Educational DVDs are now available for immediate shipping.

To accommodate the various class lengths, The Pruitt-Igoe Myth Educational DVD contains two versions of the film: the 83-minute theatrical cut and the 53-minute television cut.


This DVD is for educational purposes only. It may only be screened for students, faculty and staff of the purchasing institution. It may not be screened for the general public or for paid admission. Screenings may not be publicized, and may not exceed 100 persons in attendance.


We are very happy to bring the Pruitt-Igoe Myth to your town. Those interested in screenings for the general public outside an academic setting should visit our "Screenings" page for more information, or contact Paul Marchant at for pricing and availability.

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The Pruitt-Igoe Myth, Educational DVD Front Cover

The Pruitt-Igoe Myth, Educational DVD Back Cover

P-I sidebar 01

Urban History / U.S. History

The Pruitt-Igoe Myth directly addresses the sweeping urban changes that took place in the years following the Second World War. At its broadest level, the film is a portrait of the “urban crisis” that beset many American cities – Saint Louis in particular – with physical blight, disinvestment, population collapse and racial tension.

On a smaller scale, The Pruitt-Igoe Myth details the response of individuals to these larger forces. As the film’s narration states, “In the post-War years, the American city changed in ways that made it unrecognizable from a generation earlier, privileging some and leaving others in its wake.” The Pruitt-Igoe Myth, at its deepest level, is about these changes and how they have impacted the cities Americans inhabit.

Topics include:

  • Inner-City Deterioration
  • Mid-Century Urban Planning & Renewal Attempts
  • Urban Depopulation and Demographic Changes
  • Suburbanization
  • Urban Disinvestment/Shifting Tax Base
  • Racial and Economic Segregation
  • De-industrialization of Urban Centers
  • Inner-City Amenity Deserts


Please contact for more information or to book a screening.

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P-I sidebar 02

Architecture / Design

The initial catalyst behind The Pruitt-Igoe Myth was an architectural one. Director Chad Freidrichs first discovered and approached Pruitt-Igoe as the infamous “failure of Modern architecture.” Over time, the focus shifted in an attempt to contextualize the housing project, to view architecture and design as one piece of a larger picture.

The Pruitt-Igoe Myth penetrates the veil of symbolism and mystique, presenting the complex story behind an architectural icon and prompting dialogue about the purposes and possibilities of architecture and urban design.

Topics include:

  • The “Failure” of Modernist Architecture
  • Modernism versus Tenement Housing
  • Large Scale Housing Projects
  • The Limits of Architecture to

    Effect Social Change

  • Mid-Century Urban Planning & Renewal Attempts
  • Maintenance of High Rise Buildings
  • Architecture and Poverty
  • Design and Vandalism/Crime
  • High-Rise Fallacy
  • Psychology of Institutional Appearance

Please contact for more information or to book a screening.

Shipping via First Class Mail. Expedited or Carrier shipping available upon request.


P-I sidebar 03

Public Policy / Political Science

Pruitt-Igoe is situated at the intersection of public social policy and changing conditions in the American city. The famous Pruitt-Igoe implosion footage often has been used in political debates about the merits and feasibility of government sponsored housing in particular, and large social welfare programs in general.

From the massive Northern influx of new migrants from the South to attempts to provide decent housing for America’s impoverished city dwellers, The Pruitt-Igoe Myth outlines the conditions that led to the United States public housing program. While the above factors are well-known, other interests played a major role in shaping federal legislation: slum clearance efforts at the behest of downtown business interests, attempts to stimulate the construction industry and political charges of socialist infringement on the private housing market. The priorities and assumptions encoded into legislation and public policy deeply affected conditions at Pruitt-Igoe and public housing projects across the country.

The Pruitt-Igoe Myth tackles these, and other, policy issues head-on in an attempt to illustrate the enormous impact of government on the shape of American cities.

Topics include:

  • The United States Public Housing Program
  • Public Housing Support and Opposition
  • 1949 Housing Act, Interests and Debate
  • The Urban Renewal Program
  • Funding for Construction and Maintenance of Public Housing
  • Federal Support of Suburbanization
  • Aid for Dependent Children Program
  • The Impact of Pruitt-Igoe on Public Debate

Please contact for more information or to book a screening.

Shipping via First Class Mail. Expedited or Carrier shipping available upon request.


P-I sidebar 05

Sociology / African-American Studies

Race and class are at the very heart of the Pruitt-Igoe story. By the early 1960s, less than a decade after opening, Pruitt-Igoe’s population was entirely African-American, largely poor, with a high percentage of single-parent families.

“It seemed to me that we were being penalized for being poor.”

Jacqueline Williams - former resident of Pruitt-Igoe

These conditions prompted Washington University’s vaunted sociology department to begin an extensive study of life in the projects. Joyce Ladner, author of the seminal Tomorrow’s Tomorrow, was charged with studying the lives of women and girls in Pruitt-Igoe. Dr. Ladner and several of the project’s residents (an often-overlooked perspective) share their experiences, presenting a re-examination of life in the projects. The film attempts to confront the stigmatizing and scapegoating of the urban poor that has dominated much of the discussion surrounding Pruitt-Igoe.

Topics include:

  • Changing Family Dynamics (South/North, Rural/Urban)
  • Aid for Dependent Children Program, Public Welfare
  • Single-Parent Families
  • Social Work
  • Residential Segregation, “White Flight” from Pruitt-Igoe
  • The Formation of the Black Ghetto
  • Comparisons to Prior Ethnic Ghettos
  • Individual & Family Adaptations
  • Vandalism, Petty Crime
  • Tenant Rights, Protest


Please contact for more information or to book a screening.

Shipping via First Class Mail. Expedited or Carrier shipping available upon request.


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