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The Civil War 

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A comprehensive survey of the American Civil War.
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1,940 ( 83)

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1  
1990  
Top Rated TV #19 | Won 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 8 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
...  President Abraham Lincoln 9 episodes, 1990
...  Mary Chestnut 9 episodes, 1990
...  Ulysses S. Grant 9 episodes, 1990
...  Frederick Douglass / ... 9 episodes, 1990
Paul Roebling ...  Joshua L. Chamberlain / ... 9 episodes, 1990
...  Walt Whitman / ... 9 episodes, 1990
George Black ...  Robert E. Lee 9 episodes, 1990
David McCullough ...  Himself - Narrator 9 episodes, 1990
...  William Tecumseh Sherman / ... 9 episodes, 1990
...  Pvt. Elijah Hunt Rhodes 9 episodes, 1990
Charles McDowell ...  Pvt. Sam Watkins 9 episodes, 1990
Horton Foote ...  Jefferson Davis 9 episodes, 1990
...  George Templeton Strong / ... 9 episodes, 1990
...  Horace Greeley / ... 9 episodes, 1990
Terry Courier ...  George McClellan 9 episodes, 1990
Jody Powell ...  Stonewall Jackson / ... 9 episodes, 1990
...  Benjamin F. Butler 9 episodes, 1990
...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
...  Various / ... 9 episodes, 1990
Betsy Apple ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
Carol Craven ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
Marissa Copeland ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
Halo Wines ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
David Marks ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
Ronnie Gilbert ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
John Hartford ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
Walt MacPherson ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
...  Various / ... 9 episodes, 1990
Bradford Washburn ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
Jesse Carr ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
Wendy Tilghman ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
Joe Mattys ...  Various 9 episodes, 1990
...  Himself - Writer / ... 8 episodes, 1990
Ed Bearss ...  Himself - Historian 6 episodes, 1990
Barbara Fields ...  Herself - Historian 5 episodes, 1990
James Symington ...  Himself - Former Congressman 4 episodes, 1990
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, letters, and 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:

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Details

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Release Date:

23 September 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Az amerikai polgárháború története  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

George Plimpton, the voice of George Templeton Strong, is the great-great-grandson of General Benjamin Franklin Butler, voiced by Studs Terkel. 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

[Reacting to the Confederate Government's move to have African American Slaves serve as soldiers in the Army]
Senator Howell Cobb: You cannot make soldiers of slaves, or slaves of soldiers. The day you make a soldier of them is the beginning of the end of the Revolution. And if slaves seem good soldiers, then our whole theory of slavery is wrong.
See more »

Connections

Followed by The Era of Colonization (1585-1763) (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder
Performed by Bernice Johnson Reagon
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User Reviews

 
Broke new ground, still unsurpassed.
2 January 2005 | by See all my reviews

Contrary to the only other comment so far, I found this inspiring and elevating. I understood the civil war in a way nothing else in 17 years of formal education did. Burns was trying to tell what is perhaps the most compelling story since this country was founded. He had no footage, and was not interested in dramatizing the battles (which is notoriously difficult to to without boosting one side). Instead, he found a way to take the still images and remnants of the war and the stories of individuals and make them more real than any movie could do. Eleven hours of reenactments would have been interminable - and silly - as vaunted as the reenactors are, they get away with it because they are romanticized - can you imagine reenacting Ardennes or Khe Sanh? In a world where TV viewership is measured in 5-minute chunks if you're lucky, Burns kept viewers' attention for 11+ hours - and with no commercials - quite a feat.


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