Tonight, tonight won’t be just any night. Tonight is when the American Masters Rita Moreno documentary airs on PBS. Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It makes its television debut as part of the PBS documentary series. If you didn’t get the chance to see it when it was out in theaters, now’s your chance to see Moreno’s life story told by her and the artists she’s influenced. Here’s everything you need to know about how to watch the Moreno documentary ahead of its nationwide TV premiere.
‘American Masters’ Rita Moreno documentary details the actor’s career highs and lows
The documentary will show Moreno’s rise to fame. From being born into poverty in Puerto Rico to the heights of fame, the film will cover it all. But it won’t all be pretty. Moreno had to push against intense racism and sexism throughout her career, even after reaching the peaks of success.
Moreno is one of the few people to EGOT, aka win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. And to this day, she’s still the only Latina to win an an acting Oscar. She won Best Supporting Actress in 1962 for her performance as Anita in West Side Story, making her a trailblazer for Latinx artists.
Before starring in the movie musical, Moreno was frequently cast as in roles that perpetuated harmful ethnic stereotypes. She finally played a Puerto Rican woman in West Side Story, but even then she had to wear makeup that darkened her skin.
How to stream Rita Moreno documentary
Moreno was an open book about the good and the bad of her life in interviews for the film. And her candor clearly impressed Sundance and theater viewers — the film has a 96% critics rating and 93% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Among the positive stories she shares of her life in Hollywood, Moreno also speaks honestly about her tumultuous relationship with Marlon Brando and the sexual assault she experienced from her talent agent. At an August panel promoting the film, the icon said honesty was the only policy for this project.
“I think it’s probably one of the reasons, if not the reason, that this documentary has gotten such praise, because there’s no bull poop,” she said, according to Deadline. “I knew that was very, very important for me, for my own self-respect.”
PBS has the rights for the documentary’s TV distribution. Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided To Go For It airs nationwide at 9 p.m. EST on Oct. 5 on PBS. It will stream simultaneously on the PBS Video app for subscribers. It’s also available to rent or buy on Amazon Prime Video.
Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It was directed by Mariem Pérez Riera and is part of PBS’ Hispanic Heritage Month programming. Stars like Justina Machado, Morgan Freeman, George Chakiris, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Gloria Estefan, and more also make appearances. Its runtime is 1.5 hours.
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