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"John Adams"
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"John Adams" More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Humble look at a glorified part of US history

Author: paour from France
23 January 2012

The producers' self-evident intent with this series was to offer a nuanced look at a period of US history which has been so glorified as to occult anything controversial.

Here, the tug of war between Adams and Jefferson and their respective factions is well illustrated, complete with petty recriminations and back-stabbing (how quaint it now seems that the vice-president could have been the general election runner-up!).

Despite my appreciation for this more accurate rendition of history, I was frequently frustrated that the focus on the personal history of John Adams steered the series away of many of the important milestones of the revolutionary period; the Boston tea party is shown only as the tarring and feathering of the commissioner, none of the war of independence battles are more than alluded to, and the war of 1812 is not even mentioned.

The costumes are amazing and even more so the physical aging of the characters.

A few episodes resort to ridiculously crooked camera angles with annoying frequency, but for the most part the camera work is sedate and pleasing.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Read the Book

Author: pl73 from Arlington, Virginia
7 November 2008

Interesting adaptation of McCullough's excellent book. You need to read the book to fill in the gaps the miniseries does not have time to cover. For instance Adams did not spend his entire time in Washington City sitting in a dark corner of the newly built White House. He visited George Washington at Mount Vernon, and attended Congress at the new Capitol building.

Gripping dramatic interpretation, great computer effects, lavish wardrobe.

Excellent location shooting.

Read the book.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Excellent slice of American history with remarkable performances

Author: Indyrod from United States
20 October 2008

This many awards winning 7-part HBO series is one of the best ever mini-series concerning American history specifically the American Revolution era. I started watching this monumental achievement Saturday early evening, and except for the very last episode, pretty much finished it up including the documentaries. The last episode is about Adams life after his term as the second President of the United States. This takes the viewer all the way through the Continental Congress, the Declaration of Independence, the war with Britain, the formation of the American government, and the huge role of John Adams in all of that, and an amazing performance by Paul Giamatti as Adams. Also, Laura Linney as Abigail Adams is brilliant. One of the most stunning character performances is David Morse as George Washington. It knocked me out of my chair when I saw him on screen, because he looks almost identical to Washington. The character casting is absolutely sensational, with superb performances with all the legendary characters involved in those events. I love American history, and this brought to light many things I did not even know happened, and it is supposed to be as accurate as any movie ever on the subject. One of the most bizarre scenes, is John Adams meeting the creepy and probably crazy King George. It seems to me, except for a very few and not including the Queens that ruled Great Britain, that most of the Kings were creepy and mentally ill, to say it in a nice as I can way. Anyway, the long trip to Europe John Adams made to secure alliances, and a nice loan from Holland, and his keeping the US out of a War with France, when they turned from huge friends of ours in defeating the Brits in the Revolutionary war, to aggressors is brilliantly depicted. This is great stuff, and worthy of the many awards it won, and I hope more movies or mini-series about early America can be made with the quality as this one.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:


Author: dvd_tony from United States
15 October 2008

This series was a great reflection of the harsh times that were faced during this era. Sure John Adams was a flawed man but he was a strong, kind hearted man who made a major impact on this country. His ego was definitely at fault for his pompous attitude and even dislike by others, but he meant well and served his country to the fullest. I am completely mesmerized by the depth this mini series portrayed. His family life, his beliefs, and his efforts all contributed to the foundation that America was built on. I felt very much like I was right there with him during his times of turmoil and even ridicule. He was a good man and had a profound life. I am very happy this series was published, it has helped me to see things that history books couldn't quite explain and has left me wanting more.


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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Sad Distortion of John Adams !

Author: guy-372 from United States
5 November 2015

Now, after reading multiple biographies of the founding fathers and previously becoming an expert on human behavior, I'm sad at the distortions of history, biography, and human behavior perpetrated by this mini-series. This mini-series portrays John Adams as a melancholic, principled, angry man, which is entirely wrong on melancholic and angry, and only partially right on his principles, as these were distorted. It failed to show John Adams as the devoted follower of Samuel Adams and committed to the same cause as Samuel Adams from where the mini-series begins and places John Adams at the edge of all the action, instead of among Samuel Adams' fomenting puppet masters, who never appeared at the riots. This highly fictionalized portrayal highly ignores history's record of who John Adams was and the very deep religiously pious nature of both Samuel Adams and John Adams; portraying Samuel Adams as ostentatious, nobly garbed and an accumulator of wealth, when the opposite was true. John Adams was much more likely to be decked out in fine clothes than Samuel Adams, who despised pretension and ostentatious spending. Moreover, John Adams had by the beginning of this mini-series already been among Samuel Adams' secretive inner circle. Samuel Adams was known to hold unprovoked violence toward persons as reprehensible and unacceptable to his God, thus in Samuel Adams' piety, it was likely Samuel Adams who asked John Adams (the only lawyer among them) to represent the British soldiers after the Boston Massacre. Moreover, the alternating angry and melancholy natures of this portrayal is not only historically in accurate, as John's actual character was more like an enthusiastic irrepressible happy little dog, rather than the universally unlikable character of this angry melancholic portrayal, which never gets a person chosen or elected for anything. From that huge error and others on this mini-series, it this portrayal is doomed to be a highly inaccurate, highly fictionalized portrayal of John Adams, which only historians will recognize, because of the broad ignorance of the masses.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Great miniseries. Very historically accurate.

Author: ccarlson1 from United States
5 April 2008

The people who made this miniseries did their history homework. David Morse portrays George Washington so well and looks just like the real George Washington just stepped off the one dollar bill and into reality. Paul Giamatti is one of the best acclaimed actors in the business. I recommend this miniseries to ALL schools so our children can learn something about the birth of our nation. The subtleties of the everyday items during that time period are portrayed near perfectly. King Louis is excellently portrayed as well as King George. You can almost feel yourself in this time period with the way the costuming is done and the mannerisms. GREAT MINISERIES.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Giamatti is God

Author: bobjohnson994 from United States
11 June 2008

OK, not specifically, but near enough. I have thought him an under-appreciated actor for year and years now, the equal of Anthony Hopkins or Al Pacino.

I also like David Morse, such a likable chap, if you have seen him in other roles like in The Green Mile.

I absolutely felt chills in the first two eps - Franklin, Adams, Jefferson, and Washington, meeting in the garden. The quiet scenes in the continental congress.

As an Objectivist, I am an ardent believer in the right to life, liberty and property. I hope the europeans, who harbor a mistrust of my country, can watch this and understand the magnificence of our founding, which can only be tarnished by unwise men, but not defeated.

America is the oldest functioning democracy in the world. The State encroaches here, as it has already swallowed Europe. Pray that we can turn the tide back to individual rights, end our stumbling towards socialism and brutality, before revolution becomes necessary again.

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An extremely well cast, acted, and produced historic film series from Americans.

Author: oscar-35 from working in Movieland
25 May 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

*Spoiler/plot- John Adams, 2008. Follows the work and exploits of one of the most influential members of the signers of US declaration of Independence and Continent Congress. He later became our second President.

*Special Stars- Paul Giamnti, Laura Linney.

*Theme- Getting to the truth of any movement is always worth while.

*Trivia/location/goofs- TV HBO mini-series. One of their best. Shot on U.S. east coast cities that had colonial cityscapes.

*Emotion- An extremely well cast, acted, and produced historic film series from Americans about USA history. A 'must have' classic adventure series.

*Based On- The life of John Adams of Boston.

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Holy Mackerel

Author: jcjs333 from United States
12 May 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm 73 At 23, my speech professor 'people no longer can communicate'. An extraordinary and complex film as regards persons and 'historical times'. 'Social media' (Facebook, Cell Phones, This, Linkedin, Twitter) spouts and share near meaningless, lifeless bytes 'look at me look at me' mouthing language and babbled sputters amounting to nothing of substance beneficial to humanity given the big picture. John Adams exalted in emotions making me want to punch Adams in the face. Giamatti is second to none and i often think of Phillip Seymour Hoffman when i think of PG. Morse's 'George Washington' made my toes wiggle in delight. These guys were 'made up' in the directors, actors and writers minds. Perhaps, none of these fellows were as portrayed but had many of the real guys' sentiments. As an elementary school teacher i stood in my classroom and heard loud goings-on in the class adjacent. I peaked in teacher's room and saw the history teacher dressed like the people in the history books acting out history for his students. If i had a teacher like that i'd have taken an interest in history. This show could be taken in a couple times to just get a good history lesson while being jolted by great acting. I imagine , though , the 'facts of the happenings were true which are so complex and so extraordinary to behold answering so many questions yet none, perhaps as John Adams, at the end says 'the more i read and think i know the less i know'. I think that comes with wise old age. The ending blew me away just on the level of i didn't know Adams and Jefferson died on July 4th. I don't know if Adams died saying Jefferson shall prevail but it was a great tough. I do not know if those letters in their old age took place but wonderful stuff. Back to Facebookers and social media. They are 'cookie cutter one dimensional folks so limited in the ability to 'say' anything, to paint anything worthwhile with 'words'. I have to laugh at myself when i hear how my Dad used to talk about how it was when he was a kid and how much better in many ways and 'what is the world coming to'. Well, that's how i feel and this flick only increases those feelings. Back then people could speak painting such depth and breath of life and circumstance with 1 sentence whereas social media couldn't compete if given thousands of words, or books for that matter. There's no prose in modern life not among real people or social media. All prattle to my ears. So, i don't much care anymore. I'll be glad when i'm dead and gone but probably not glad to make that age old journey. I railed at both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Mostly, i got to disliking Adams for being such a hard ass, conceited, cold, heartless, jerk who just loved to hear himself talk. He raised his voice getting all huffy and puffy with no humility putting people down saying whatever contradictory thing came to his head. Lambasting others' ideas with belligerent tones. Knocking his family way to tough and uncaring. Blustering, bragging, boastful show off know it all. But, i started to think i'm projecting. I'm angry because he reminds me of myself and what it's like to be a great and good man such that i am but have to be told by others. Before my Dad died at 97 he told me he respected me. If any of you get a chance to tell your children 'i respect you' , with sincerity, do so. I love you is so trite especially nowadays near meaningless and hardly true or believed. I love everyone, like a few and respect fewer. To be able to respect someone is so great and do know someone respects you is greater. One surely loves and likes many they don't respect or even trust but not the other way around. I can like someone or dislike them while respecting. To love - like and respect , wow. This show dives all the way to the top and bottom of the intricacies of history and humanity as is asks and gives and doesn't give us answers. But, it does show a guy, Adams (and Jefferson), so brilliant in in mind, able to articulate their dark and lighter sides, know their fallibility, their dependencies, the wisdom, their failings, there dual natures. Adams and Jefferson, often at each others throats show how honest men, men of conscience, multi dimensional people with attributes and drawbacks, non cookie cutter guys who could run rings around the likes of the William F. Buckleys putting mere words back to back in such away to build towering ideas and lay them out like a dandy dinner, a feast of idea put to orgasmic words painting emotions and concepts that rocked me to the core. And, lets not forget the women without we'd fall to pieces. Anyhow, men of conscience, honest men are always in trouble and always hated. Good for them.

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admirable work

Author: Kirpianuscus from Romania
29 April 2017

just an admirable work. and useful support for understand the purpose of politic. portrait of great men. and one of the most impressive roles of Paul Giamatti. all seems be impeccable - atmosphere, traits of the lead characters, the fight to build a nation, the vulnerability and the force of the second president of United States. and its great virtue is to be more than an American story. it is a beautiful film about values and sacrifice. about solitude and about a huge team project. about honesty. and about the need to define , in clear way, principles. short, a film who must see. for compare. and for understand. near reality more than the lines of the past.

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