American Experience: Season 17, Episode 10

The Carter Family: Will the Circle Be Unbroken (23 May 2005)

TV Episode  |   |  Documentary, History
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 18 users  
Reviews: 1 user

The life and times of The Carter Family, one of the earliest and most-influential group in American country and roots music.


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Episode credited cast:
Herself - Musician
Mary Bufwack ...
Herself - Author
Herself - Musician
Himself - Singer (archive footage)
Janette Carter ...
Herself - Daughter of A.P. and Sara Carter
Joe Carter ...
Himself - Son of A.P. and Sara Carter
Mother Maybelle Carter ...
Herself - Singer (archive footage)
Sara Carter ...
Herself - Singer (archive footage)
Bill Clifton ...
Himself - Musician
Rita Forrester ...
Herself - Granddaughter of A.P. and Sara Carter
Tyler Forrester ...
Quartet Member #4
Himself - Musician
Tucker Jett ...
Teenage A.P.
Justin Justice ...
Quartet Member #1


The life and times of The Carter Family, one of the earliest and most-influential group in American country and roots music.

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23 May 2005 (USA)  »

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[first lines]
Narrator: Their songs of love and lost, desperation and joy comforted a nation in the darkest days of the depression, and brought a rare dignity to rural Appalachia culture.
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User Reviews

Mildly interesting to me...and how much you like it probably has a lot to do with the sorts of music you like.
18 January 2012 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This is another very well made documentary shown on PBS's "The American Experience"--a terrific series of shows about various topics related to American history and culture. Using lots of interviews, lots of recordings of their music, photos and recreations, the folks do a nice job of telling the story of this family.

What I found most fascinating by all this was how important the family's image was molded even back in the good 'ol days. While Mrs. Carter had been cheating on her husband and even moved in with another man, as far as the public goes, they were thought to be a great example of family values and togetherness! So, apparently, spin doctors were important in the 1920s and 30s--just like today! How much you like this one probably has a lot to do with whether or not you like the sort of singing that the Carter family was known for singing. Their tunes were simple harmonies with a guitar for accompaniment--playing music that seemed inspired by folk, country and gospel music. As for me, I'll be honest,...I hate most of that sort of music. Now I am NOT saying it's bad---it's just not what I like. So for me, this was not the same thrill as it might be to many other folks. So, if you love this sort of music, then you probably will love the show even more as their music so greatly impacted and shaped the future.

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