The life of George Washington as the first President of the United States of America and his 8 years running his country. The trials he faces dealing with mobs and riots while keeping the country together.
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A crew of African American pilots in the Tuskegee training program, having faced segregation while kept mostly on the ground during World War II, are called into duty under the guidance of Col. A.J. Bullard.
Cuba Gooding Jr.,
First In War, First In Peace, First In The Hearts Of His Countrymen
To take that imposing figure come down to us from Gilbert Stuart's famous portrait and turn George Washington into a flesh and blood human being was quite the achievement. I watched this and the succeeding mini-series about Washington and came away thinking I actually knew the man.
I think the credit goes to two people. First the source of this mini- series is James Thomas Flexner's authoritative biography on Washington. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to know about our first president and what went into the shaping of his character. The book is eminently readable and Flexner writes so that even a non-historian can appreciate Washington.
The second is Barry Bostwick's performance as Washington. It's not easy to make someone who's attained near mythological status into a flesh and blood human being, but Bostwick succeeds brilliantly. His life and loves are told from early manhood through to the end of the American Revolution. Martha Washington is ably played by Patty Duke.
During our revolution at any number of given points the colonial army could have been snuffed out if British commanders had made different and better choices. Washington endured a few victories, some defeats, but he kept his army intact and in being until the advantage that made that final victory at Yorktown in 1781 presented themselves. He also had to endure a lot of criticism of his leadership from some elements of the Continental Congress.
In fact one should see this together with 1776 and get an idea about the American Revolution from both the military and civilian leadership perspectives.
In the supporting cast I enjoyed James Mason in one of his final roles as British General Braddock who Washington served under during the French and Indian War. It's there where Washington got his baptism of fire in the woods of western Pennsylvania. This is the 18th century equivalent of what the Indians did to General Custer. Washington was lucky to escape that day and Mason does in good job in portraying a very brave, but incredibly stupid general.
I would also single out Jaclyn Smith as Washington's first love, Lady Fairfax and Jose Ferrer as Virginia colonial Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie who gave Washington his first military command in the French and Indian War.
George Washington is good drama and good history. Anything you want to know about the first American president can be learned here.
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