A panoramic view of American history from the Pilgrims to 1950 utilizing archival footage.


(narration written by)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


Cast overview:
Marvin Miller ...
Narrator (voice)
Himself (archive footage) (as Franklin Delano Roosevelt)
Chester W. Nimitz ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Admiral Nimitz)
George S. Patton ...
Himself (archive footage) (as General Patton)
George C. Marshall ...
Himself (archive footage) (as General George Marshall)
Himself (archive footage) (as General Eisenhower)
Henry H. Arnold ...
Himself (as General 'Hap' Arnold)
Douglas MacArthur ...
Himself (archive footage) (as General Douglas MacArthur)
Harry S. Truman ...
Himself (archive footage) (as President Truman)


Using archival footage from Technicolor shorts and features as well as newsreels, the sweep of major events of American history is condensed into this two-reeler. The landing of the Pilgrims, the Revolution, the Civil War, continental expansion, the Monroe Doctrine, the Gold Rush, the Spanish American War, both World Wars, and the creation of the U.N. are among the many topics touched on. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

17 February 1951 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Vitaphone release #2032A. See more »


The narration claims that the plane carrying the first atomic bomb took off from Okinawa. This statement is incorrect - it took off from Tinian in the Marianas. See more »


Narrator: We are a bigger, a stronger, a greater America than ever before. We have been victorious in six bitter wars in defense of our birthright. Let those who would destroy us read our history well and take warning.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Credited narrator Marvin Miller identifies the remaining credited cast members as they appear on screen, See more »


Edited from Frontier Days (1945) See more »

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User Reviews

Very Brief History of the USA
3 September 2014 | by (Rhode Island, United States) – See all my reviews

This short, composed of stock footage in Technicolor, is a very brief narrative of the history of the USA from the landing of the Pilgrims on Plymouth Rock in 1620 (note the Pilgrims stepping on the rock!) to the formal Japanese surrender at the end of World war II on the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay (2 September 1945). Its obvious purpose is patriotism: both to review what made America great and to note her victories in six wars. Actually what made the USA superior was abundant resources, hard work, geographic location, and immigration. This nationalistic film will come to no surprise to anyone who has watched Hollywood shorts and newsreels from the 1920s through the 1940s. The USA was flush with a victory in the most damaging war in history; thus the movie's ending message is that our land, sea, and air defenses stand ready to defend the nation against the latest threat (the USSR and China).

Famous historical American personages are duly mentioned, like George Washington, John Hancock, Betsy Ross, Abe Lincoln, Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and especially the winning generals of the Second World War. It should be noted that the intention of the film is NOT to list negatives, viz., that not all Americans were then getting all of society's benefits. Even so, one might add that, this being America, the situation has long since changed. Although haters of most things American will despise the film, it is nevertheless of historical significance.

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