The American Experience: Season 23, Episode 4

Panama Canal (24 Jan. 2011)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary | History
7.7
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From PBS and American Experience - On August 15th, 1914, the Panama Canal opened, connecting the world's two largest oceans and signaling America's emergence as a global superpower.

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Stephen Ives ...
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Walter LaFeber ...
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From PBS and American Experience - On August 15th, 1914, the Panama Canal opened, connecting the world's two largest oceans and signaling America's emergence as a global superpower.

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24 January 2011 (USA)  »

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Exceptional...so what else is new?!
1 October 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

In the last couple months, I have watched several dozen PBS documentaries. And, as a result, I have an even greater appreciation for the exceptionally good quality of these shows--far better than the stuff seen on other networks. They are expertly crafted and highly engaging.

This film is about the American building of the Panama Canal--how the land was obtained, the extreme difficulties and dangers in building it and the technology employed to make this engineering feat work. Begun in 1904, it took about a decade to complete and was truly amazing considering the level of technology of the time.

Like most of these films, this documentary about the Panama Canal consists of narration (by Michael Murphy), various interviews, nice music and the extensive use of photos--which, in many cases, as scanned and zoomed in on by the camera to make them seem to come to life (a common technique in Ken Burns' films). It's top-notch throughout and tells this story quite well.


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