American Experience: Season 17, Episode 7

The Great Transatlantic Cable (11 Apr. 2005)

TV Episode  |   |  Documentary, History
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The story of Cyrus Field and the creation of the transatlantic telegraph line.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Narrator (voice)
Daniel Czitrom ...
Himself - Historian
Gillian Cookson ...
Herself - Historian
John Steele Gordon ...
Himself - Author of "A Thread Across the Ocean"
Bernard Finn ...
Himself - Smithsonian Institute
Donard De Cogan ...
Himself - Engineer
Colin Hempstead ...
Himself - Engineer
Cyrus Field
Voice of Cyrus Field (voice)
Alex Allen ...
Jonathan Beedell ...
John Berry ...
Martyn Bill ...
Amy Booth ...
Mark Bryan ...


The story of Cyrus Field and the creation of the transatlantic telegraph line.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

telegraph | reenactment | See All (2) »



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Release Date:

11 April 2005 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

An amazing feat!
3 May 2012 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Linda Hunt narrates this installment of "The American Experience". It's all about Cyrus Field and his drive to create a telegraph cable to connect North America with Europe. Considering this means laying a cable on the sea floor from Labrador to Ireland (about 2000 miles), this seems like an insanely impossible task. And, it turns out according to this show it was NOT easy and the task was fraught with problems. All in all, it's one of the more technically interesting shows from the series as even today it's hard to imagine such a difficult task. The show features narration, interviews and quite a few recreations with a guy who actually looked a lot like Field. Well done in all respects, this episode will probably appeal most to scientific types, such as engineers, but I enjoyed it as well for addressing a historical topic seldom mentioned otherwise. Very informative and well made.

By the way, it was never mentioned but I wondered if the original copper cable was able to be used for phone calls or just for telegraphs. I assume just telegraphs but no mention was made of this--but the show did say that several more transatlantic cables were later laid.

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