Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery (1997)

TV Special  -   -  Documentary | Adventure | Biography
8.4
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 620 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 2 critic

The story of the most important American exploration expedition in American history and the participants in it.

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Cast

Credited cast:
John Logan Allen ...
Himself - Geographer
Stephen Ambrose ...
Himself - Historian (as Stephen E. Ambrose)
...
Gerard Baker ...
Himself - Mandan-Hidatsa
...
John Ordway (voice)
...
(voice)
Tim Clark ...
(voice)
...
Patrick Gass (voice)
Dayton Duncan ...
Himself - Writer
Erica Funkhouser ...
Herself - Writer
Murphy Guyer ...
William Clark (voice)
Ken Little Hawk ...
(voice)
William Least Heat-Moon ...
Himself - Writer
...
Narrator (voice)
...
Joseph Whitehouse (voice)
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Storyline

This film documents the exploration expedition led by Meriwether Lewis William Clark into the interior of North America in the early 19th century. We follow the Corps of Discovery as they winded their way across the unknown territory gained in the Louisana Purchase by the United States in their futile search for the legendary Northwest Passage. Along the way, they discovered wonderous new things as they depended on the aid of Native Americans like their adept guide, Sacagawea, as they conducted the most important exploration mission in American history. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@home.com>

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4 November 1997 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Poorly researched
2 December 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan are excellent film makers, but their focus on relying on still photography and reenactors in this documentary left much to be desired.

The lack of research is obvious. Images used throughout the film are of the post expedition period, at times decades after the event. Why the lack of period images? Hundreds, if not thousands of artifacts from the era, including drawings and paintings were ignored.

Historical accuracy of the reenactors left much to be desired, they are not clothed in the accoutrements issued by the U.S. Army nor correct civilian attire of the time frame. This is clearly evident by anyone wishing to review documentation produced by The Company of Military Historians, who published information on the 1st U.S. Infantry back in 1951. Lewis and Clark reenactors are notorious for their lack of historical accuracy.

Interviews with some historians (friends of the film makers) left much to be desired and did much to lesson the impact of this film.

Overall, it was an interesting endeavor but one which suffered from too much emotionalism. If you want to learn about the U.S. Army's Corps of Discovery, read the original journals.

Nothwithstanding the celebrity endorsements and hype, the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Celebration has become a monumental flop.


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