What Is The Draw Of The Lone Hero?09:39
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Tom Hanks as the titular character in the film, "Captain Phillips." (Columbia Pictures)
Tom Hanks as the titular character in the film, "Captain Phillips." (Columbia Pictures)

Recent films have included isolated protagonists: an astronaut cast into outer space, a sea captain kidnapped by pirates, a free black man kidnapped and sold into slavery, a lone sailor marooned on the open seas.

Sandra Bullock is the astronaut in "Gravity." Tom Hanks is the titular "Captain Phillips." And Chiwetel Ejiofor is Solomon Northup in "12 Years A Slave." Robert Redford as the marooned sailor in "All Is Lost."

This commonality between the films got Ty Burr, the film critic for the Boston Globe, thinking about the long literary tradition of the hero who finds him or herself alone in a desperate situation, and what it might say about our current cultural moment.

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This segment aired on October 17, 2013.

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