Ken Burns: AmericaClosed Captioning
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This film collection from Ken Burns offers an anthem to the nation and its people. "Brooklyn Bridge" and "Statue of Liberty" recall the building of two New York monuments. "Empire of the Air" recounts the creators of radio, while "The Congress" depicts a unique American institution. Artist Thomas Hart Benton and politician Huey Long emerge in compelling biographies, while "The Shakers" is a moving tribute to an enduring religious experiment.
|1||Closed CaptioningVideoBrooklyn Bridge||The "Great East River Bridge" was the largest bridge of its era, a technical achievement of unparalleled scope, marked by enormous construction problems, equally ingenious solutions and heroic human achievement. In unexpected and wonderful ways, the Brooklyn Bridge captured the imagination of all Americans, and in the process became a symbol in American culture of strength, vitality, ingenuity and promise. In this Academy Award ® nominated film, Ken Burns captures the physical majesty of this greatest of all achievements of the industrial age, the dramatic story of the larger-than-life men who imagined and built it, and the immense charm this granite and steel structure has exerted on generations of city dwellers.||1:00:28||$4.99||View in iTunes|
|2||Closed CaptioningVideoStatue of Liberty||For more than 100 years, the Statue of Liberty has been a symbol of hope and refuge for generations of immigrants. In this lyrical, compelling and provocative portrait of the statue, Ken Burns explores both the history of America’s premier symbol and the meaning of liberty itself. In interviews with Americans from all walks of life, including former New York governor Mario Cuomo, the late congresswoman Barbara Jordan and the late writers James Baldwin and Jerzy Kosinski, this Academy Award ® nominated film examines the nature of liberty and the significance of the statue to American life.||1:02:09||$4.99||View in iTunes|
|3||Closed CaptioningVideoThe Shakers||They called themselves the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, but because of their ecstatic dancing, the world called them Shakers. Though they were celibate, they are the most enduring religious experiment in American history. They believed in pacifism, natural health and hygiene, and for more than 200 years insisted that their followers should strive for simplicity and perfection in everything they did. The Shakers put their "hands to work and their hearts to God," creating an exquisite legacy of fine furniture, glorious architecture and beautiful music that will remain and inspire long after the last Shaker is gone. Through diaries, archival photographs, music and stunning cinematography, Ken Burns creates a moving portrait of this particularly American movement, and in the process, offers us an unusually moving way to understand the Shakers.||1:01:39||$4.99||View in iTunes|
|4||Closed CaptioningVideoHuey Long||He was a populist hero and a corrupt demagogue, hailed as a champion of the poor and reviled as a dictator. Louisiana's Huey Long built his remarkable career as Governor and U.S. Senator on a platform of social reform and justice, all the while employing graft and corruption to get what he wanted. Long's spellbinding personality and political machine might have taken him to the White House had he not been assassinated in 1935. This finely crafted film by Ken Burns reveals a complex and comprehensive portrait of the man and the era, his politics and the power he so obsessively sought. Extensive archival footage and recollections by Louisianans who knew Long are juxtaposed with candid contemporary interviews with historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.; the late journalist I.F. Stone; and the late author Robert Penn Warren, whose magnificent novel All The King's Men was inspired by the rise and fall of Huey Long.||1:30:24||$4.99||View in iTunes|
|5||Closed CaptioningVideoThomas Hart Benton||His paintings were burly, energetic, and as uncompromising as the midwestern landscapes and laborers they celebrated. "Thomas Hart Benton" depicts a self-reliant America emerging from the Depression. Today his works hang in museums. During his life, Benton preferred to hang them in saloons, where ordinary people could appreciate them in congenial settings. A fierce defender of the aesthetics of realism, Benton took on the art establishment and railed against abstraction. His reputation suffered as his star rose, fell and rose once again. While Benton failed to stem the tide of modernism, his influence can be seen in the works of his master student, Jackson Pollack. Ken Burns uses long-lost footage, penetrating interviews and the magnificent art of Benton to tell the bittersweet story of an extraordinary American artist who became emblematic of the price all artists must pay to remain true to their talents and themselves.||1:28:55||$4.99||View in iTunes|
|6||Closed CaptioningVideoThe Congress||For 200 years, the United States Congress has been one of the country's most important and least understood institutions. In this elegant, thoughtful and often touching portrait, Ken Burns explores the history and promise of this unique American institution. Using historical photographs and newsreels, evocative live footage and interviews with David Broder, Alistair Cooke, Cokie Roberts, Charles McDowell and others, the award-winning film chronicles the personalities, events and issues that have animated the first 200 years of Congress and, in turn, our country.||1:29:25||$4.99||View in iTunes|
|7||Closed CaptioningVideoEmpire of the Air||For 50 years radio dominated the airwaves and the American consciousness as the first "mass medium." In "Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio", Ken Burns examines the lives of three extraordinary men who shared the primary responsibility for this invention and its early success, and whose genius, friendship, rivalry and enmity interacted in tragic ways. This is the story of Lee de Forest, a clergyman's flamboyant son, who invented the audion tube; Edwin Howard Armstrong, a brilliant, withdrawn inventor who pioneered FM technology; and David Sarnoff, a hard-driving Russian immigrant who created the most powerful communications company on earth.||1:54:38||$4.99||View in iTunes|
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This is an excellent short film that borrows heavily from David McCullough's book about the bridge. The photography is beautiful, and the story of the building of the bridge is inspiring.
Watch and Learn.
It is said that American's learn more about American history from Ken Burns' films then any other source, and that couldn't be more true. It is worth watching all of these films. My fav. is Horatio's Drive, the first great American road trip.
Informative, beautiful, slightly dated documentary
An hour-long, informative film with great, enigmatic photography of this beautiful structure and fascinating interviews and footage. Learn about the Roebling father and son team who designed and oversaw the building of this unprecendented structure; discover the origins of Caisson's disease (the bends); get a real glimpse of NYC/Brooklyn in the late 19th century and the continuous effect of the bridge on people's lives; witness the ambitions and courrption present in this burgeoning city at the time. I really felt I knew the "cities", their history and this world famous structure much better after viewing this documentary. I also felt more keenly the spiritual (yep!) effects that architecture's great endeavours can have on people who live near them. The footage does feel slightly dated now in places but this is not really a criticism - it feels like an early 80's documentary which it is. All in all, well worth watching, and Miller's short interview near the end might fill you with the urge to contribute more to this great city and maybe even life in general!