Distributor:  Bullfrog Films
Length:  30 minutes
Date:  1977
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: 7-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
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Living the Good Life

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A portrait of the daily life of America's most famous back-to-the-landers.

Living the Good Life

A much-loved film about a remarkable couple. During the Great Depression, Helen and Scott Nearing quit city life and moved to Vermont. He was a brilliant economist, she a concert violinist. Together they made Forest Farm synonymous with the ideal homestead. In the noble tradition of Thoreau, Scott was an influential figure in American life for nearly 70 years. Scott died in 1983 shortly after his 100th birthday, Helen lived into her 90's.

Filmed in 1976 when Helen was 74 and Scott 93, the Nearings are seen still growing their own food, cutting firewood for fuel, and putting the finishing touches on a large stone home built by hand.

Through their books, public appearances, and by the example of their lives, the Nearings remain an inspiration.

'I found it terribly moving. A highly significant film for our times dealing as it does with an individual's search for autonomy.' Studs Terkel, author of Working

'The maverick couple make excellent subjects; the film vividly presents their lifestyle and ideal...It would spark interesting discussions for the whole system of agriculture in this country and of how one or two people can make a difference.' Green Gems: The Environmental Film Guide

'A fascinating story of two 'elderly' people carrying on an active, fulfilling life.' Social Education

'His laugh and her singing make it magic.' Robbie Fanning, Menlo


CINE Golden Eagle
Silver Plaque, Chicago International Film Festival
Silver Cindy, IFPA
American Film Festival
Certificate of Excellence, Audubon International Environmental Film Festival
U.S. Representative, Nyon (Switzerland) Film Festival


Main credits

Hoskyns-Abrahall, John (filmmaker)
Nearing, Helen (interviewee)
Nearing, Scott (interviewee)
Naughton, David (narrator)

Other credits

Photographed by Robert Elfstrom.

Distributor credits

Bullfrog Films

John Hoskyns-Abrahall

Bullfrog Films
John Hoskyns-Abrahall

Docuseek2 subjects

Organic and Sustainable Agriculture
Aging and Geriatrics
American Studies
Late 20th Century (U.S. History)
American (U.S.) Studies

Distributor subjects

American Studies
Environmental Ethics
Social Psychology
Voluntary Simplicity


aging, Helen Nearing, Scott Nearing, Forest Farm; "Living the Good Life"; Bullfrog Films

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