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America: A Call to Greatness (1995)

TV Movie  |   |  Documentary  |  8 November 1995 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 9 users  
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A documentary chronicling in story, drama and music the narrative of America from its founding inception to its rise to greatness.



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Title: America: A Call to Greatness (TV Movie 1995)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Deborah Winters ...
Steve Geyer ...
Rutherford Cravens ...
James Black ...


America: A Call to Greatness, relates the story of the American Nation from its founding through it's rise to greatness. It reflects the historical roots of the United States as the program tugs at the nation's heartstrings. This patriotic special features many distinguished hosts as well as notable political figures from both sides of the political aisle also appear. Fourteen large-scale patriotic music numbers are showcased. Gene Autry, former cowboy, businessman, film and recording star makes a special appearance. In what was to be his final performance, Autry introduces the first song since his retirement in 1994. Using heavily researched historical re-creations, special moments in American history are captured with the look and feel of the period. A careful analysis of original period sculptures, drawings, photographs and paintings, helped create a 3-D "likeness" of each individual portrayed in the production. Through the magic of film and prosthetic makeup, important Americans ... Written by Charles L. Davidson

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Release Date:

8 November 1995 (USA)  »

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$4,500,000 (estimated)

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Feature a new song by 'Gene Autry', his first since his retirement from film in 1964. See more »

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America: A Call to Greatness
9 May 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"America: A Call to Greatness" may possibly be the most moving patriotic motion picture ever made. Filmed at the Disney/MGM studio and around the nation, Paige-Brace Cinema made the most of the scenic locations in which it was filmed.

Charlton Heston, Mickey Rooney and Deborah Winters lead an all-star cast in a poignant tribute to America's founding and progress toward the nation it was to become. Peter Graves and Rita Moreno are quite effective in their roles – presenting various sides of a growing nation, sometimes in conflict and turmoil. It is notable that Gene Autry makes what was to be his final acting appearance in the film and nearly steals the show in his touching tribute to America.

The music is outstanding – truly remarkable. There were some 14 very large production numbers set in New York and other scenic locales around the country. It is notable how well the music fit into the drama – adding to the story of America – and not detracting from it. Set in 1990, Lee Greenwood sings the notable "God Bless the U.S.A." in what may have been one of his first performances of that number. The classic "Imperials" along with the ever-popular "Point of Grace" and Phil Driscoll lend their considerable talents to the production. Sandi Patty close the film with an enormous production of "The Star Spangled Banner" filmed on location in Disney's Magic Kingdom.

Notable character actors portrayed famous Americans in this production. Their portrayals are made even more believable by the authentic locations used for the picture. Blue Deckert as George Washington – Suzanne Savoy as Abigail Adams – and Rutherford Cravens as Benjamin Franklin are particular effective in their quintessential American roles. The film's most touching moment came as actor Ray Baker delivered a definitive performance as Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln scene begins at Gettysburg, transitions through all the American conflicts, ending at the tomb of the unknown solider. Words cannot describe the emotional impact this evolving setting has on the viewer. It is breathtaking.

Warren Chaney wrote, produced and directed "America" as well as writing several of the original songs used in the picture. In less capable hands, this would have been just another talking heads documentary with a few songs. Instead, "America: A Call to Greatness" became the classical docudrama of the last century. Looking backwards, the early 90s filming lacks the slickness of today's high definition cinematography. However, the film's message and its heart more than compensates for the period in which it was shot.

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