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Mark Twain (2001)

A biographical film about the acclaimed American humourist and author.


Ken Burns
1 win. See more awards »




Cast overview:
Keith David ... Narrator (voice)
Kevin Conway ... Mark Twain (voice)
Philip Bosco ... Other Voices (voice)
Blythe Danner ... Olivia 'Livy' Langdon Clemens (voice)
Tim Clark Tim Clark ... Other Voices (voice)
Carolyn McCormick ... Other Voices (voice)
Amy Madigan ... Other Voices (voice)
Cynthia Nixon ... Other Voices (voice)


Ken Burns, the premiere documentarian of Americana, tackles the life of Mark Twain, the first writer with a uniquely American voice. In this installment in Burns' "American Lives" series, the two 2-hour episodes explore a side of Twain that is unfamiliar to many. Widely regarded as the funniest person of the 19th century, Twain suffered through severe personal tragedies and lack of business sense that brought him to the brink of financial ruin on several occasions. Includes interviews with writers William Styron and Arthur Miller and actor Hal Holbrook (who has portrayed Twain in a one-man play each year for over 50 years). Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Mark Twain: I was born the 30th of November, 1835, in the almost invisible village of Florida, Monroe County, Missouri... The village contained a hundred people and I increased the population by one per cent. It is more than many of the best men in history could have done for a town... There is no record of a person doing as much, not even Shakespeare. But I did it for Florida, Missouri, and it shows I could have done it for any place - even London, I suppose.
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Featured in Ken Burns: America's Storyteller (2017) See more »


Ricketts's Hornpipe
Performed by The 2nd South Carolina String Band (as The 2nd Street South Carolina String Band)
Courtesy of Palmetto Productions
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User Reviews

Great Documentary
19 August 2016 | by Hollywood_YodaSee all my reviews

By far, a great documentary about a truly great American. I never knew there was so much more to Mark Twain than just a few books and a name. From a humble Christian beginning in Florida, Missouri; to a world known presence by his end, Twain was a remarkable human being.

Ken Burns couldn't have picked a better, single person or subject to do a documentary. Mark Twain had great humour, and Burns was able to capture this with powerfully wonderful stories and photos. Twain's life was not always humorous, it was filled with tragedy, both personally and financially.

He was humble though, until the end. We need more men like him.

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Release Date:

14 January 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

American Lives: Mark Twain See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Florentine Films, WETA See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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