Watch The Civil War: A Film By Ken Burns Online

The Civil War: A Film By Ken Burns

Where to Watch The Civil War: A Film By Ken Burns

9
The Better Angels of Our Nature, 1865
1990-09-27
In the bittersweet days after the war's end, the Union's triumphs quickly turns to sorrow. Just five days after victory, President Lincoln dies by the hand of John Wilkes Booth, and the nation's story is again changed forever.

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8
War Is All Hell, 1865
1990-09-27
Sherman's legendary "March to the Sea" portends the war's end, searing the heartland of Georgia and the Carolinas. Key Southern cities fall under General Grant's command, and General Lee's troops have nowhere left to flee.

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7
Most Hallowed Ground, 1864
1990-09-26
The presidential campaign of 1864 finds a nation truly divided against itself, and Lincoln seems doomed to defeat. The Union armies have stalled, andpeople have turned against the war.

Watch The Civil War: A Film By Ken Burns Season 1 Episode 7 Now

6
Valley of the Shadow of Death, 1864
1990-09-26
It's a chess game between two masters-- played out on the board of life. The Union's General Grant and the Confederacy's General Lee are a study in contrasts as they vie for victory.

Watch The Civil War: A Film By Ken Burns Season 1 Episode 6 Now

5
The Universe of Battle, 1863
1990-09-25
The turning point of the war is reached at the legendary Battle of Gettysburg, one of the most awesome battles ever waged. While 150,000 men face death in Pennsylvania's fileds, the war spreads westward to Chattanooga and Chickamauga.

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4
Simply Murder, 1863
1990-09-25
Their names are etched forever in history-- Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Vicksburg-- some of the Civil War's stormiest battlegrounds. While life in the South becomes more desperate, Northern opposition to Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation also grows.

Watch The Civil War: A Film By Ken Burns Season 1 Episode 4 Now

3
Forever Free, 1862
1990-09-24
Dark clouds of defeat hover over the Union Army as President Lincoln prepares the landmark Emancipation Proclamation to free the slaves. While Lincoln waits for a victorious moment for this announcement, Union troops lose repeatedly to the brilliant generals Stonewall Jackson and Robert E.

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2
A Very Bloody Affair, 1862
1990-09-24
The war to preserve the Union becomes a war to free the slaves, and political fights become as fierce as those on the battlefield. The chains of slavery begin to crumble while the Confederacy struggles for recognition, and its resourceful army hands the Union critical defeats.

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1
The Cause, 1861
1990-09-23
The stage is set for war as the nation begins to tear apart. Opposition by the North to slavery in the South fuels a bitter debate, and the country wrestles with conflicts between the Union and States' rights.

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The Civil War: A Film By Ken Burns is an award-winning documentary series that explores in depth the vast complexity of the American Civil War. Using the moving images and statistical data from the era, combined with narration and dialogues by stellar voice-over talent like David McCullough, Sam Waterston, Jason Robards, Julie Harris, Morgan Freeman, and more, this magnificent PBS series brings history alive, making it a unique blend of education and entertainment.

The series, which aired in 1990, covers the entire expanse of the Civil War, beginning from its roots with the secession of South Carolina from the Union in 1860, the fiery battles that defined the era, to its eventual end in 1865 with the surrender of Robert E. Lee’s army to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse. Nine episodes span the breadth and depth of the Civil War, each focusing on a specific time and events during the catastrophic conflict.

Ken Burns’s direction and the distinctive storytelling style he brought to the fore back in 1990 is truly ingenious, and it stands as a testament to his genius as a documentary maker. Employing an extensive compilation of photographs, newspapers, maps, archival footage, military charts, and artwork - these historical artifacts serve to tell the tale as integrated visual aids to the narration and dialogues, giving audiences a detailed peek into the past.

The narratives, while informative and deeply engaging, remain neutral in perspective, giving equal voice to the North and the South, letting facts present the scenarios in an unbiased light. That said, the horrors, losses, and the human cost of the Civil War are shown comprehensively - the series does not hold back from showcasing the gruesome reality, loss, and devastation that the Civil War brought about.

Alongside this historical narrative, the series also hosts a stellar ensemble of voice-over talent delivering memoirs, journals, personal letters, telegrams, and historical accounts of soldiers, politicians, and civilians affected by the war. This is where having a cast as diverse and talented as David McCullough, Sam Waterston, Jason Robards, Julie Harris, Morgan Freeman, Garrison Keillor, Arthur Miller, George Plimpton, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Horton Foote, Derek Jacobi, Colleen Dewhurst, Pamela Reed, M. Emmet Walsh, Hoyt Axton, Gene Jones, and Kurt Vonnegut lends a unique soul to this documentary. Hearing their poignant renditions of personal stories against the backdrop of historical footage makes it feel intimate, authentic, and heartfelt.

There's also an enduring focus on the major figures on both sides American Civil War - both renowned and lesser-known - which investigates the political, social, and military forces that motivated them. The series also takes a deep dive into the themes of race, abolitionism, and the scrutiny of the institution of slavery which was at the heart of the conflict.

The meticulously researched script by Geoffrey C. Ward captures not only the military and political aspects of the war but the emotional undercurrents of men, women, and children who lived through it, trapped in a country tearing apart at its seams. It tells a story in which there are no winners or losers, just tales of strife, sacrifice, courage, ingenuity, and struggle for liberation and unity.

The accompanying soundtrack, expertly composed by Ric Burns, further enriches the experience, exuding a raw sense of the epoch that further draws audiences into the historical ambience. The haunting melody of "Ashokan Farewell", which became synonymous with the series, accentuates the emotional depth and an all-encompassing melancholy of the era.

Ultimately, The Civil War: A Film By Ken Burns is an extraordinary lesson in storytelling that has the power to transport audiences back in time, letting them glimpse the Civil War period's complexities, the socio-political climate, the ideologies at conflict, and the forces that shaped the United States. Its commitment to historical accuracy and genuine emotional reach makes it not just a documentary series but a vital part of American television heritage. It's not just about cannons and cavalry, it’s about men and women in the abyss of a bitter conflict, about a nation fighting for its identity, making it a narrative that still resonates today.

The Civil War: A Film By Ken Burns is a series categorized as a canceled. Spanning 1 seasons with a total of 9 episodes, the show debuted on 1990. The series has earned a outstanding reviews from both critics and viewers. The IMDb score stands at 9.0.

Channel
PBS
Rating
9.0/10
Cast
David McCullough, Sam Waterston, Julie Harris
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