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The Civil War 

A comprehensive survey of the American Civil War.
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2,320 ( 156)

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1  
1990  
Top Rated TV #29 | Won 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 11 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
Sam Waterston ...  President Abraham Lincoln 9 episodes, 1990
Julie Harris ...  Mary Chestnut 9 episodes, 1990
Jason Robards ...  Ulysses S. Grant 9 episodes, 1990
Morgan Freeman ...  Frederick Douglass / ... 9 episodes, 1990
Paul Roebling Paul Roebling ...  Joshua L. Chamberlain / ... 9 episodes, 1990
Garrison Keillor ...  Walt Whitman / ... 9 episodes, 1990
George Black George Black ...  Robert E. Lee 9 episodes, 1990
David McCullough ...  Himself - Narrator 9 episodes, 1990
Arthur Miller ...  William Tecumseh Sherman / ... 9 episodes, 1990
Christopher Murney ...  Pvt. Elijah Hunt Rhodes 9 episodes, 1990
Charles McDowell Charles McDowell ...  Pvt. Sam Watkins 9 episodes, 1990
Horton Foote ...  Jefferson Davis 9 episodes, 1990
George Plimpton ...  George Templeton Strong / ... 9 episodes, 1990
Philip Bosco ...  Horace Greeley / ... 9 episodes, 1990
Terry Courier Terry Courier ...  George McClellan 9 episodes, 1990
Jody Powell Jody Powell ...  Stonewall Jackson / ... 9 episodes, 1990
Studs Terkel ...  Benjamin F. Butler 9 episodes, 1990
Jeremy Irons ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
Derek Jacobi ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
Gene Jones ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
Jerome Dempsey ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
Laurence Fishburne ...  Various / ... 9 episodes, 1990
Betsy Apple Betsy Apple ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
Carol Craven Carol Craven ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
Marissa Copeland Marissa Copeland ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
Halo Wines Halo Wines ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
David Marks David Marks ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
Pamela Reed ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
Ronnie Gilbert Ronnie Gilbert ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
M. Emmet Walsh ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
Hoyt Axton ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
John Hartford ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
Walt MacPherson Walt MacPherson ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
Colleen Dewhurst ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
LaTanya Richardson Jackson ...  Various / ... 9 episodes, 1990
Bradford Washburn Bradford Washburn ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
Jesse Carr Jesse Carr ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
Wendy Tilghman Wendy Tilghman ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
Joe Mattys Joe Mattys ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
Shelby Foote ...  Himself - Writer / ... 8 episodes, 1990
Ed Bearss Ed Bearss ...  Himself - Historian 6 episodes, 1990
Barbara Fields Barbara Fields ...  Herself - Historian 5 episodes, 1990
James Symington James Symington ...  Himself - Former Congressman 4 episodes, 1990
Stephen B. Oates Stephen B. Oates ...  Himself - Historian / ... 4 episodes, 1990
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Storyline

This highly acclaimed mini-series traces the course of the U.S. Civil War from the abolitionist movement through all the major battles to the death of President Lincoln and the beginnings of Reconstruction. The story is mostly told in the words of the participants themselves, through their diaries and letters. Visuals are usually still photographs and illustrations of the time, and the soundtrack is likewise made up of war-era tunes played on period instruments. Several modern-day historians offer periodic comment and insight on the war's causes and events. Written by Eric Sorensen <Eric_Sorensen@fc.mcps.k12.md.us>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It divided a country. It created a nation.


Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 September 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Civil War See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shelby Foote became a celebrity after the success of this mini-series. Foote's phone number was listed in his local phone book, and he received frequent calls from fans. He never removed his number from the phone book, and received calls whenever the mini-series aired for the rest of his life. See more »

Goofs

Contrary to this documentary (and many historians) Winfield Scott never recommended Robet E. Lee for anything more than a "significant command" nor did Lincoln offer Lee command of the Union Army.

An advisor to the President, Francis P. Blair, DID offer Lee command of the Defenses of Washington, via letter, but there are NO records that Lee. An Lincoln ever met in person. See more »

Quotes

Abraham Lincoln: As a nation, we began by declaring that "All men are created equal." We now practically read it, "All men are created equal, except Negroes." Soon, it will read "All men are created equal, except Negroes, and Foreigners and Catholics." When it comes to this, I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty. To Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #19.190 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder
Performed by Bernice Johnson Reagon
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Absolute perfection!
13 September 2004 | by jnwa3See all my reviews

Ken Burns is a genius and we owe him a huge debt of gratitude for making this wonderful documentary on the American civil war. Even though this is several hours long, I have watched it over and over and still never tire of it. Each time I see it I learn something new. The voices doing the various parts are perfect, the pictures are perfect, EVERYTHING IS PERFECT! From the experienced historian to the novice all will enjoy this. So many things touched my soul from the start of the war to that lovely true letter from the soldier, Sullivan Ballough written to his wife when he knew he would die... (many tears were shed at this point) to the end. In my opinion I could comment on this for pages and pages but no matter what I said it could not show my depth of gratitude for seeing this masterpiece. It will go down as the best documentary ever about the civil war.


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