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From Great Depression to Great Recession

Hard times can bring out the best in filmmakers. Directors such as John Ford and Elia Kazan have used the search for a job as a lens to examine social injustice or societal disruption. But don't discount the comic value of a pink slip, too—as the heroes of Office Space (above) so keenly demonstrated. With the global economy stuck in a rut, here are 15 jobless-themed films, stretching over 80-plus years. Photograph: Courtesy of Everett Collection
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