The American Experience: Season 14, Episode 13

Ansel Adams: A Documentary Film (21 Apr. 2002)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary | History
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 43 users  
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Few American artists have reached a wider audience, or enjoyed more widespread popularity in their own lifetime, than Ansel Adams. None has had more profound an impact on how Americans ... See full summary »



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Title: Ansel Adams: A Documentary Film (21 Apr 2002)

Ansel Adams: A Documentary Film (21 Apr 2002) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Episode credited cast:
Voice-overs (voice)
Voice-overs (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ansel Adams ...
Himself (archive footage)
Narrator (voice)


Few American artists have reached a wider audience, or enjoyed more widespread popularity in their own lifetime, than Ansel Adams. None has had more profound an impact on how Americans grasp the majesty of their continent, or done more to transform how people think and feel about the meaning of the natural world. A visionary photographer, a pioneer in photographic technique and a crusader for the environment, Adams would take part in an extraordinary revolution: in photography, and ways of seeing what he called "the continuous beauty of the things that are." His greatest photographs would seek to capture "the instant of revelation -- of timelessness" amidst the evanescence of the natural world. Ansel Adams is the intimate portrait of a great artist and ardent environmentalist -- for whom life and art, photography and wilderness, creativity and communication, love and expression, were inextricably connected. ANSEL ADAMS, a ninety-minute documentary film written and directed by Ric ... Written by Joshua Mueller

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Release Date:

21 April 2002 (USA)  »

Box Office


$1,500,000 (estimated)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Oddly, a bit too talky and overlong.
17 March 2012 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This episode of "The American Experience" is about the great outdoor photographer, Ansel Adams. I was very interested in seeing this, as like so many people, I love his work. However, I was surprised that the show was so very talky. The greatness of Ansel Adams' work is that it is sublime---something you really cannot adequately explain in words. Yet, often, folks because waxing quite poetic about him and they talked and talked and talked. To me, understanding Adams is to learn about his life and also just to see his work--it speaks for itself and is VISUAL poetry. I also think this problem was exacerbated by the film being much longer than an ordinary one-hour show (the time format of the series greatly from one hour to much, much longer shows that are multi-part). Had the show focused more on his life and art, it could have been done quite well in one hour. Overall, while there is lots of interesting stuff (such as how he was tempted to throw away his marriage but didn't), too much talk make this one of the hardest of the series episodes to enjoy. My advice, just buy a book or go visit the places he photographed.

By the way, one of the talky things I didn't like was how one guy REPEATEDLY used the word 'evanescent'....huh?!

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