Hungry Hearts

USA, 1922, 80 minutes, B&W
Silent with English intertitles
Directed by E. Mason Hopper

DVD includes original musical score composed, performed and recorded by musicians from the USC Thornton School of Music under the direction of David Spear

with New English Intertitles by
The National Center for Jewish Film

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Public Exhibition Formats: Beta, 16MM (Silent version only)

One of the 100 Greatest Jewish Films —Tablet Magazine:

"Goldwyn Pictures’ 1922 silent-movie adaptation of Anna Yezierska’s classic novel of the Lower East Side is a landmark document: a Jewish-immigrant-dominated film industry’s first serious depiction of the Jewish-immigrant experience."


Restored by the National Center for Jewish Film
with the cooperation of Samuel Goldwyn Pictures and the British Film Institute

Based on the short stories of Anzia Yezierska, the first writer to bring stories of American Jewish women to a mainstream audience, Hungry Hearts focuses on the members of the Levin family who emigrate from Eastern Europe to New York City's Lower East Side. Abraham, the pious father learned in religion but uninterested in business, has difficulty making a living and adjusting to life in America. The daughter Sara scrubs floors in the tenement in order to earn money and "become a somebody." The mother Hannah, a noble matriarch, scrimps and saves to paint her dingy kitchen white only to have her landlord raise the rent because of the improvements.

This early silent film was produced in a Hollywood studio but the street scenes were shot on location on the Lower East Side in New York City. This bittersweet classic captures the hopes and hardships of Jewish immigrants in the New World.

Selected Screenings

Montreal Jewish Public Library (2015)
Yiddish Book Center (2015)
Goethe Institut - Porto Alegre & Sao Paulo, Brazil (2014)
Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space (MoRUS) Film Festival (2014)
Barbican Centre Silent Film Series, London (2013)
UK Jewish Film Festival, London (2012)
The JCC in Manhattan (2012)
OC Film Fiesta (2012)
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (2010)
Yiddish Book Center (2010)
Hartford Jewish Film Festival (2010)
Berg Orchestra (2009)
Austria Film Archive (2009)
Jewish Museum of Prague (2009)
Jewish Culture Festival, Cracow, Poland (2008)
Jewish Film Festival, Vienna (2007)
New York Jewish Film Festival (2007)
Montreal Jewish Film Festival (2005)

NCJF Film Restoration

Restoration was completed with funding from Lorraine and Martin Beitler in loving memory of their parents Jean and Sol Weiner and Anna and Michael Beitler.

1978 Restoration © The National Center for Jewish Film
Producer Sharon Pucker Rivo
Director Henry Felt
Subtitles David Fishman
Prologue Michael Swirsky
Production Assistants Miriam Saul Krant, Fredda Band Lowenstein
Animation Edward T. Joyce
Camera Phred Churchill, Jeffery Liberman, Anne Schaefer


Director E. Mason Hopper
Producer The Samuel Goldwyn Company
Screenplay Julien Josephson
Based on the Book by Anzia Yezierska

With E.A. Warren, Rosa Rosanova, Helen Ferguson, Bryant Washburn,
A. Budin, Edwin B. Tilton, George Siegmann, Otto Lederer and Bert Sprotte

Critical Acclaim

"Hungry Hearts may be more of an entertainment than a social film, but its slice-of-life approach gives it unusual value. The picture of downtrodden Jews may border on the sentimental, but the feeling is right."
- Kevin Brownlow, Behind the Mask of Innocence

Purchase the Film

Home Use DVD: $29.95

Does not include Classroom or Library Use Rights or Public Performance Rights. More Information


Classroom/Library Use DVD: $250

Does not include Public Performance Rights. More Information

Digital Site Licensing (DSL) available - Contact us

Step down pricing for K-12 & public libraries may be available - Contact us

Arrange a screening - Contact us

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