Go behind-the-scenes of TV's longest-running, most-watched history series, and get to know the filmmakers, producers, historians, and series staff that make history come alive.
Last week we asked our fans on Facebook and Twitter what has been your favorite AMERICAN EXPERIENCE film over the past two seasons. You gave us a great response, and we would like to share the results. Many of the films are streaming for free on our website, so if you have not had the chance to see some of the films listed below, you never know -- you may soon have a new favorite!
Radicals. Agitators. Troublemakers. Liberators. Called by many names, the abolitionists tore the nation apart in order to make a more perfect union. Men and women, black and white, Northerners and Southerners, poor and wealthy, these passionate antislavery activists fought body and soul in the most important civil rights crusade in American history. What began as a pacifist movement fueled by persuasion and prayer became a fiery and furious struggle that forever changed the nation.
Bringing to life the intertwined stories of Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Angelina Grimké, Harriet Beecher Stowe and John Brown, The Abolitionists takes place during some of the most violent and contentious decades in American history, amid white-hot religious passions that set souls on fire, and bitter debates over the meaning of the Constitution and the nature of race.
Learn more on the website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/abolitionists/
Watch videos from Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
From acclaimed filmmaker Ric Burns, Death and the Civil War examines the many ways the staggering death tolls of the Civil War permanently altered the character of the republic, and the psyche of the American people. The work of contending with death on an unprecedented scale propelled extraordinary changes in the inner and outer life of Americans – posing challenges for which there were no ready answers when the war began – challenges that called forth remarkable and eventually heroic efforts as Americans worked to improvise new solutions, new institutions, new ways of coping with death on an unimaginable scale. Based on Drew Gilpin Faust’s groundbreaking book, This Republic of Suffering, the film was broadcast in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of Antietam, the bloodiest day in American history.
Learn more on the website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/death/
The biography of a president who rose from a broken childhood in Arkansas to become one of the most successful politicians in modern American history, and one of the most complex and conflicted characters to ever stride across the public stage. From draft dodging to the Dayton Accords, from Monica Lewinsky to a balanced budget, the presidency of William Jefferson Clinton veered between sordid scandal and grand achievement. Clinton had a career full of accomplishment and rife with scandal, a marriage that would make history and create controversy, and a presidency that would define the crucial and transformative period between the fall of the Berlin Wall and 9-11.
The latest installment in the critically acclaimed and successful series of presidential biographies, Clinton follows the president across his two terms as he confronted some of the key forces that would shape the future, including partisan political warfare and domestic and international terrorism, and as he struggled with uneven success to define the role of American power in a post-Cold War world. Most memorably, it explores how Clinton’s conflicted character made history, even as it enraged his enemies and confounded his friends.
Clinton is part of AMERICAN EXPERIENCE's The Presidents collection.
Watch the film online: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/clinton/player/
Check out the rest of our films that have premiered during the past two seasons. They're all excellent, even if we do say so ourselves...
An intimate portrait of contemporary Amish faith and life, this film examines how such a closed and communal culture has thrived within one of the most open, individualistic societies on earth. What does the future hold for a community whose existence is so rooted in the past? And what does our fascination with the Amish say about deep American values?
Watch the film online: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/amish/player/
A fascinating look at the myth and the man behind it, who, in just a few short years transformed himself from a skinny orphan boy to the most feared man in the West and an enduring western icon.
Billy the Kid is part of AMERICAN EXPERIENCE's Wild West collection.
Watch the film online: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/billy/player/
Like everything else about General George Custer, his martyrdom was shrouded in controversy and contradictions. The final act of his larger-than-life career played out on a grand stage with a spellbound public engrossed in the drama. In the end, his death would launch one of the greatest myths in American history.
Custer's Last Stand is part of AMERICAN EXPERIENCE's Wild West collection.
Watch the film online: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/custer/player/
It would be the "Biggest Thing on Earth," the salvation of the common man, a dam and irrigation project that would make the desert bloom, a source of cheap power that would boost an entire region of the country. Of the many public works projects of the New Deal, Grand Coulee Dam loomed largest in America's imagination during the darkest days of the Depression. It promised to fulfill President Franklin Roosevelt's vision for a "planned promised land" where hard-working farm families would finally be free from the drought and dislocation caused by the elements.
Grand Coulee Dam is part of AMERICAN EXPERIENCE's The Environment collection.
Watch the film online: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/coulee/player/
An absorbing life story of a farm boy who rose from obscurity to become the most influential American innovator of the 20th century, Henry Ford offers an incisive look at the birth of the American auto industry with its long history of struggles between labor and management, and a thought-provoking reminder of how Ford's automobile forever changed the way we work, where we live, and our ideas about individuality, freedom, and possibility.
Watch the film online: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/henryford/player/
The most famous athlete of his time, his stunning triumph at the 1936 Olympic Games captivated the world even as it infuriated the Nazis. Despite the racial slurs he endured, Jesse Owens' grace and athleticism rallied crowds across the globe. But when the four-time Olympic gold medalist returned home, he could not even ride in the front of a bus. The story of the 22-year-old son of a sharecropper who triumphed over adversity to become a hero and world champion, Jesse Owens is also about the elusive, fleeting quality of fame and the way Americans idolize athletes when they suit our purpose, and forget them once they don't.
Watch the film online: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/owens/player/
In 1957, decades before Steve Jobs dreamed up Apple or Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook, a group of eight brilliant young men defected from the Shockley Semiconductor Company in order to start their own transistor business. Their leader was 29-year-old Robert Noyce, a physicist with a brilliant mind and the affability of a born salesman who would co-invent the microchip -- an essential component of nearly all modern electronics today, including computers, motor vehicles, cell phones and household appliances.
Watch the film online: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/silicon/player/
Casey is the Special Projects Assistant for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE.