Filmed in panoramic Cinerama, this star-studded, epic Western adventure is a true cinematic classic. Three legendary directors (Henry Hathaway, John Ford, and George Marshall) combine their skills to tell the story of three families and their travels from the Erie Canal to California between 1839 and 1889. Spencer Tracy narrates the film, which cost an estimated 15 million dollars to complete. In the first segment, "The Rivers," pioneer Zebulon Prescott (Karl Malden) sets out to settle in the West with his wife (Agnes Moorehead) and their four children. Along with other settlers and river pirates, they run into mountain man Linus Rawlings (James Stewart), who sells animal hides. The Prescotts try to raft down the Ohio River in a raft, but only daughters Lilith (Debbie Reynolds) and Eve (Carroll Baker) survive. Eve and Linus get married, while Lilith continues on. In the second segment, "The Plains," Lilith ends up singing in a saloon in St. Louis, but she really wants to head west in a wagon train led by Roger Morgan (Robert Preston). Along the way, she's accompanied by the roguish gambler Cleve Van Valen (Gregory Peck), who claims he can protect her. After he saves her life during an Indian attack, they get married and move to San Francisco. In the third segment, "The Civil War," Eve and Linus' son, Zeb (George Peppard), fights for the Union. After he's forced to kill his Confederate friend, he returns home and gives the family farm to his brother. In the fourth segment, "The Railroads," Zeb fights with his railroad boss (Richard Widmark), who wants to cut straight through Indian territory. Zeb's co-worker Jethro (Henry Fonda) refuses to cut through the land, so he quits and moves to the mountains. After the railway camp is destroyed, Zeb heads for the mountains to visit him. In the fifth segment, "The Outlaws," Lilith is an old widow traveling from California to Arizona to stay with her nephew Zeb on his ranch. However, he has to fight a gang of desperadoes first. How the West Was Won garnered three Oscars, for screenplay, film editing, and sound production. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi
The most successful public-television miniseries in American history, the 11-hour Civil War didn't just captivate a nation, reteaching to us our history in narrative terms; it actually also invented a new film language taken from its creator. When people describe documentaries using the "Ken Burns approach," its style is understood: voice-over narrators reading letters and documents dramatically and stating the writer's name at their conclusion, fresh live footage of places juxtaposed with still images (photographs, paintings, maps, prints), anecdotal interviews, and romantic musical scores taken from the era he depicts. The Civil War uses all of these devices to evoke atmosphere and resurrect an event that many knew only from stale history books. While Burns is a historian, a researcher, and a documentarian, he's above all a gifted storyteller, and it's his narrative powers that give this chronicle its beauty, overwhelming emotion, and devastating horror. Using the words of old letters, eloquently read by a variety of celebrities, the stories of historians like Shelby Foote and rare, stained photos, Burns allows us not only to relearn and finally understand our history, but also to feel and experience it.
Contentsdisc 1. episode 1. Cause, 1861
disc 2. episode 2. Very bloody affair, 1862. episode 3. Forever free, 1862
disc 3. episode 4. Simply murder, 1863. episode 5. Universe of battle, 1863
disc 4. episode 6. Valley of the shadow of death, 1864. episode 7. Most hallowed ground, 1864
disc 5. episode 8. War is all hell, 1865. episode 9. Better angels of our nature, 1865. Special features: Behind the scenes, the Civil War reconstruction
Ken Burns, making history
A converstion with Ken Burns
Civil War challenge
Civil War biographies
Military art and science -- History.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Causes.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Campaigns.
Confederate States of America -- History, Military.
Video recordings for the hearing impaired.
|Publisher|| [Alexandria, Va.?] : Burbank, Calif. :PBS DVD ;2002
Distributed by Warner Home Video,
Ward, Geoffrey C.
McCullough, David G.
Moore, Allen, 1952-
Barnes, Paul, 1951-
WETA-TV (Television station : Washington, D.C.)
PBS DVD (Firm)
PBS Home Video.
Warner Home Video (Firm)
Narrator, David McCullough ; voices, Sam Waterson ... [et al.].
Cinematographers, Ken Burns, Allen Moore, Buddy Squires ; editors, Paul Barnes, Bruce Shaw, Tricia Reidy ; senior creative consultant David McCullough ; music, Jacqueline Schwab.
MPAA rating: Not rated.
"PBS DVD Gold."
Originally produced as a television mini series in 1990.
DVD, NTSC, Region 1; 5.1 Dolby surround sound.
5 videodiscs (679 min.) : sound, color with black and white sequences ; 4 3/4 in.