American Experience (1988– )
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Walt Disney - Part 1 

A look at Walt Disney's career from early films to Disneyland to ideas for a new community (EPCOT) that was not realized before his death. A great insight into his motivations and values.

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
Narrator (voice)
...
Himself (archive footage)
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Himself
...
Himself
...
Himself
...
Himself
Sarah Nilsen ...
Herself, associate professor of Film and Television Studies
Steven Watts ...
Himself, historian
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Himself, journalist and author
Eric Smoodin ...
Himself
...
Himself (archive footage)
Edna Disney ...
Herself (archive footage)
Lillian Disney ...
Herself (archive footage)
Carmenita Higginbotham ...
Herself, associate professor, University of Virginia
Michael Barrier ...
Himself, animation historian
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A look at Walt Disney's career from early films to Disneyland to ideas for a new community (EPCOT) that was not realized before his death. A great insight into his motivations and values.

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14 September 2015 (USA)  »

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All About Walt
21 September 2015 | by See all my reviews

American Experience: Walt Disney (2015)

**** (out of 4)

This two-part look at the life and career of Walt Disney certainly has some flaws. I will openly admit that but at the same time there's so much great knowledge and footage here that it's almost silly to complain too much about it.

The first part of the documentary covers Walt's early days and how he got interested in going into show business. We learn about his earliest animated movies and how he ended up broke before finally getting money with the Alice shorts. From here we learn about various issues that happened with his family and how a little mouse would end up saving his career. From here we see the building of Disney Studios as well as him dreaming of doing feature films.

The second portion of the film deals with some of the darker and more controversial moments including various strikes by his workers who felt they were being mistreated. The studio's disappointing box office returns to movies like BAMBI and DUMBO are also discussed but the main focus is Disney Land and how television would help bring Walt's vision to life. We also take a look at some of his latest pictures, which were attacked during a time when people didn't see peace and happiness instead they were seeing shocking images of violence.

The biggest problem with this documentary is that its four hour running time simply isn't long enough to fully get into this man. I will admit that I didn't know too much about his personal story so I found this documentary to be full of wonderful knowledge and there's no question that all the footage from his movies as well as the personal movies were terrific. Even more entertaining was seeing Disney Land being built and just looking at the footage makes it a wonder that the vision ending up coming true. The film certainly is extremely long but it's never boring and it's definitely worth seeing.


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