American Experience: Season 7, Episode 1

FDR: Part I (12 Oct. 1994)

TV Episode  |   |  Documentary, History
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Polio at age 39, president at age 50. Explore the public and private life of a determined man who steered this country through two monumental crises: the Depression and World War II. FDR ... See full summary »



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Episode credited cast:
Himself (archive footage)
David McCullough ...
Herself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage) (as Franklin Delano Roosevelt)
Joseph Stalin ...
Himself (archive footage)
Harry S. Truman ...
Himself (archive footage)
Geoffrey C. Ward ...


Polio at age 39, president at age 50. Explore the public and private life of a determined man who steered this country through two monumental crises: the Depression and World War II. FDR served as president longer than any other, and his legacy still shapes our understanding of the role of government and the presidency. A film by award winning filmmaker David Grubin. This is the second of four parts. Written by Anonymous

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12 October 1994 (USA)  »

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Birth up until he assumes the presidency.
2 October 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This is the first part of a PBS documentary from "The American Experience" concerning the life of Franklin Roosevelt. It covers his life from birth up until he boards the train for Washington to assume the presidency.

Like many episodes of the series, it's narrated by historian/writer David McCullough. In addition, it's made up of various interviews, photos and stock film. Together, with some appropriate music, it made for a very well-done documentary.

Much of what I saw I already knew. After all, I am a retired American and World History teacher. However, I liked the film because it still packed a few surprises. For example, although it's common knowledge NOW that he was paralyzed from polio, I had no idea that he spent 2/3 of his fortune building a rehabilitation facility for other victims of the disease. And, while I am aware of the tricks he used to make it appear as if he could walk, seeing the footage and hearing exactly how he did it was pretty interesting--and pretty sad that they had to worry about folks who might hold his disability against him. All in all, the story was very well told and I am looking forward to part two. A bully good, wait...that's the wrong Roosevelt.

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