The story of the renowned American polymath.

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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »


Series cast summary:
Richard Easton ...
 Benjamin Franklin 3 episodes, 2002
 Franklin as a young man 3 episodes, 2002
 Narrator 3 episodes, 2002
 Paul Wentworth 3 episodes, 2002
Matthew Bentley ...
 Benjamin as a child 3 episodes, 2002
Michael Bentley ...
 Benjamin as a child 3 episodes, 2002
Carol Berkin ...
 Jane Franklin Mecom 3 episodes, 2002
 Silence Dogood 3 episodes, 2002
Anthony Cochrane ...
 King George III 3 episodes, 2002
John Curless ...
 William Strahan 3 episodes, 2002
Peter Donaldson ...
 John Adams 3 episodes, 2002
 Catherine Ray 3 episodes, 2002
 Joseph Galloway 3 episodes, 2002
 Joseph Priestley 3 episodes, 2002
 Le Comte de Vergennes 3 episodes, 2002
 Jonathan Austin 3 episodes, 2002
John Christopher Jones ...
 Ephraim Eliot 3 episodes, 2002
 Thomas Penn 3 episodes, 2002
Eddie Korbich ...
 Jared Ruggles 3 episodes, 2002
 Deborah Read Franklin 3 episodes, 2002
 Elkanah Watson 3 episodes, 2002
Edmund Morgan ...
 Robert Whittington 3 episodes, 2002
Natacha Roi ...
 Mme. Brillon de Jouy 3 episodes, 2002
Andrew Seear ...
 British Government Official 3 episodes, 2002
 Cotton Mather 3 episodes, 2002
 William Franklin 3 episodes, 2002
Michael Zuckerman ...
Ralph Archbold


In American history, few people have cut a more impressive figure than Benjamin Franklin. Beginning with his successful journalism and publishing careers, Franklin began a life of extraordinary achievement and variety. This series covers the multifaceted man whose life included public service, diplomacy, science, inventing and political action that would help redefine a world. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (

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Release Date:

19 November 2002 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(3 episodes)


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Did You Know?


Franklin invented the US Postal Service. See more »

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User Reviews

Clever and Entertaining
20 September 2005 | by See all my reviews

I cannot speak to the entire series, as I saw only "The Chessmaster". However, I saw enough to get a sense of what the creators were trying to do. In addition to the period images shown with 'Ken Burns effect' and commentaries by historians, there are soundbites from the historical figures (played, of course, by actors). Some of their texts these actors speak are clearly from diary entries or letters, and others are probably built from scholarship.

It is, in my opinion, a very clever way of presenting history to people who are used to modern biopics with their interviews and all those 20th Century War shoes on the History Channel which can interview survivors. Engaging, well done, although undoubtedly too sedate for many.

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