Films: 1951 - 1960

Browse the entire American Experience series featuring over 250 films. Watch full films online, download teacher’s guides, go behind the scenes, and learn more about your favorite films.


American Experience

Adam Clayton Powell : 1 hr

A civil rights leader in Harlem before entering politics, Powell was one of the most charismatic black leaders of the 20th century.


the amish

The Amish : 2 hrs

Their intense faith and strict adherence to 300-year-old traditions have by turn captivated and repelled, awed and irritated, inspired and confused America.


Ansel Adams

The life of the legendary photographer, known best for his black and white images of the wilderness of the American West.


A Brilliant Madness

Mathematician and paranoid schizophrenic John Nash's work became a foundation of modern economic theory.


A Class Apart

A Class Apart : 1 hr

From a small-town Texas murder emerged a landmark civil rights case that successfully challenged Jim Crow-style discrimination against Mexican Americans.


Cold War Roadshow

Cold War Roadshow : 1 hr

In September 1959, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev made an unprecedented visit to America, creating a media circus as he traveled from coast to coast.


American Experience

Daley, the Last Boss : 2 hrs

For 21 years, Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley ruled the city, building the Sears Tower and O'Hare Airport.


Dwight D. Eisenhower

Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower was one of America's least understood presidents. Part of the award-winning Presidents collection.


eleanor roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt supported the President's New Deal and advocated for civil rights, becoming one of the 20th century's most influential women.


Eyes on the Prize

This acclaimed 14-hour series covers all of the major events of the civil rights movement from 1954-1985, tracing African Americans' struggle for equality and justice.


Fidel Castro

Cuba's Communist leader defied the odds, surviving his Soviet benefactors, the wrath of U.S. presidents, two diplomatic crises and assassination attempts.


American Experience

French Dance Tonight : 1 hr

French settlers in Louisiana merged with African Americans, Afro-Caribbeans and others to create Cajun and Zydeco musical traditions.


God in America

God in America : 6 hrs

For the first time on television, God in America will explore the historical role of religion in the public life of the United States.


Portrait of the Kennedy family

The Kennedys : 3 hrs

A saga of ambition, wealth, family loyalty and personal tragedy.


Kinsey

With data compiled from tens of thousands of sex questionnaires, Alfred Kinsey changed America's views about sex with the Kinsey Reports.


Las Vegas: An Unconventional History

Originally settled as a mail stop, Las Vegas changed from an Old West vacation town, to a mafia haven, to the "Atomic City" and "Sin City."


The Living Weapon

The Living Weapon : 1 hr

The international race to develop biological weapons during the 20th century.


MacArthur

General Douglas MacArthur led American troops in World Wars I and II before being fired by President Harry Truman during the Korean War.


Malcolm X - Make It Plain

Malcolm X, a man who both terrified and inspired, expressed the anger and struggle of black people for freedom in the 1960s.


Miss America

The country's oldest beauty contest has become a battleground and a barometer for the position of women in society.


 The Mormons

The Mormons : 2 hrs

From Joseph Smith's discovery of gold tablets to persecution, migration, and settlement in Utah, the film explores the history of the most American of religions.


The Murder of Emmett Till

The acquittal of the murderers of Chicago teen Emmett Till mobilized the civil rights movement.


 new orleans

New Orleans

From Reconstruction to the 1960s, this film offers a portrait of New Orleans that reflects the best and the worst in America.


New York: A Documentary Film

The history of New York City and the people and forces that have shaped it over the past 400 years is told in a seven-part 14.5-hour series.


The Nuremberg Trials

The story of the dramatic post-World War II tribunal that brought Nazi leaders to justice and defines trial procedure for state criminals to this day.


The Pill

The story behind the development of the oral contraceptive that put women in control of birth control.


The Polio Crusade

The Polio Crusade : 1 hr

The story of the polio crusade pays tribute to a time when Americans banded together to conquer a terrible disease.


The Quiz Show Scandal

Television game shows became an instant national phenomenon in 1955, but four years later contestant Charles van Doren admitted they were a scam.


Race for the Superbomb

The U.S. and the Soviet Union race to build the hydrogen bomb during the Cold War, thus beginning the nuclear arms race.


Race to the Moon

The historic journey of Apollo 8 captivated the world in 1968 -- a bright spot in a year marked by political assassinations, race riots, and the Vietnam War.





Producer Picks

Triangle Fire

Triangle Fire : 1 hr

Triangle Fire is one of three AMERICAN EXPERIENCE documentaries to be honored with a win at the 71st Annual Peabody Awards.


Stonewall Uprising

Stonewall Uprising : 90 mins

Triangle Fire is one of three AMERICAN EXPERIENCE documentaries to be honored with a win at the 71st Annual Peabody Awards.


Relevant Now

The Abolitionists

The Abolitionists : 3 hrs

January 1, 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.