Skip to main content Skip to footer site map


Reset Filters
S29 Ep1
Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practice
This portrait of the inimitable magician Ricky Jay delves into the mysterious world of sleight-of-hand and its small circle of eccentric devotees. Jay is also a best-selling author, historian, actor and a leading collector of antiquarian books and artifacts. Told largely in Jay’s own distinctive voice, the documentary traces the story of his achievement and that of other master magicians.
Premiered: 1/23/2015
S28 Ep10
Bing Crosby Rediscovered - Full Film
Bing Crosby (1903-1977) was the most popular and influential multi-media star of the first half of the 20th century. For more than three decades, through radio, film, television and records, he reigned supreme. For this new documentary, Crosby’s estate granted American Masters access to the entertainer’s archives, including never-before-seen home movies, Dictabelt recordings, photos and more.
Premiered: 12/2/2014
S28 Ep8
The Boomer List
The baby boomer generation (1946-1964) has significantly and uniquely changed our world. 2014 marks an important shift in American culture, as the last boomers turn 50. American Masters: The Boomer List, premiering Tues., Sept. 23, 9-10:30 p.m. on PBS, tells the story of this influential generation through the lives of 19 iconic boomers. Directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.
Premiered: 9/23/2014
S28 Ep9
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
American Masters – Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work takes the audience on a year-long ride with Joan Rivers in her 76th year of life; it peels away the mask of an iconic comedian, laying bare both the struggle and thrill of living life as a groundbreaking female performer. The film by Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg premieres September 23, 2014 at 10:30 pm on PBS (check local listings).
Premiered: 9/23/2014
S28 Ep7
Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning
Her photograph Migrant Mother is one of the most recognized and arresting images in the world, a portrait that came to represent America's Great Depression. Yet few know the story, struggles and profound body of work of the woman who created the portrait: Dorothea Lange. Directed and narrated by Lange's granddaughter Dyanna Taylor, the two-hour film premieres Friday, August 29 at 9 pm on PBS.
Premiered: 8/29/2014
S28 Ep6
Tanaquil Le Clercq: Afternoon of a Faun - Full Film
Tanaquil Le Clercq. Photo courtesy Jerome Robbins/Robbins Rights Trust
In this outtake from American Masters - Tanaquil Le Clercq: Afternoon of a Faun, Le Clercq's friend describes the lack of respect the former ballerina was shown, most likely because she was in a wheelchair. Le Clercq used humor as a comeback to set the offender straight about her abilities.
Premiered: 6/20/2014
S28 Ep5
Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself - Full Film
Co-founder of The Paris Review, George Plimpton (1927–2003) was a fascinated and fascinating journalist who lived fully, strangely and incredibly. With George Plimpton’s own narration, the film includes extensive archival footage of his sport stunts and participatory journalism gigs, and interviews with friends, family and contemporaries. Premieres nationally Friday, May 16, 9-10:30 p.m. on PBS.
Premiered: 5/16/2014
S28 Ep4
A Fierce Green Fire - Full Film
American Masters: A Fierce Green Fire is the first big-picture exploration of the environmental movement, spanning 50 years of activism. Chronicling the largest movement of the 20th century, the film tells vivid stories about people fighting – and succeeding – against the odds, from the Grand Canyon to Love Canal, from the oceans to the Amazon. A film by Academy Award-nominee Mark Kitchell.
Premiered: 4/22/2014
S28 Ep3
Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth. Full Film
American Masters - Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth
Examine the dramatic life of writer/activist Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple. Her story is told with poetry and lyricism, and includes interviews with Steven Spielberg, Danny Glover, Quincy Jones, Howard Zinn, Gloria Steinem, Sapphire and Walker herself.
Premiered: 2/7/2014
S22 Ep1
Pete Seeger: The Power of Song
Pete Seeger helped introduce America to its own musical heritage, devoting his life to using the power of song as a force for social change. With his deeply-held beliefs, Seeger went from the top of the pop charts to the top of the blacklist and was banned from American commercial television for more than 17 years. This first and only authorized biography of Seeger premiered on PBS in 2008.
Premiered: 1/30/2014
S28 Ep1
Marvin Hamlisch: What He Did For Love
Marvin Hamlisch
A musical prodigy accepted to Juilliard at age six, Marvin Hamlisch devoted his talents to musical theater and pop music composition. The composer and conductor earned four Grammys, four Emmys, three Oscars, three Golden Globes, a Tony Award, and a Pulitzer Prize. Barbra Streisand, Steven Soderbergh, Quincy Jones, Christopher Walken are among those who admire Hamlisch as a person and a musician.
Premiered: 12/27/2013
S27 Ep4
Billie Jean King
For the first time, American Masters profiles a sports figure: a deliberate woman who has been a major force in changing, and democratizing, the cultural landscape. To commemorate the 40th anniversaries of both the famous Billie Jean King/Bobby Riggs match - the Battle of the Sexes - and the launch of the Women's Tennis Association, the documentary looks back to the 12-year-old southern California girl who played tennis on public courts, observed disparity and unfairness and, as she soared athletically, never stopped trying to remedy both. Her competitiveness on the circuit was matched by her efforts on behalf of women and her commitment to prove there's strength in diversity.
Premiered: 9/10/2013
S4 Ep4
James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket
An encore of James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket (original broadcast August 14, 1989) is scheduled for Friday, August 23 at 9pm on PBS in honor of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington (8/28/1963). This broadcast also coincides with the 25th anniversary of James Baldwin’s death (12/1/1987) and the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation (1/1/1863).
Premiered: 8/23/2013
S27 Ep3
Mel Brooks: Make a Noise
Bernadette Peters on meeting Mel Brooks and the impact of his humor: “As far as he would go with jokes, like in Blazing Saddles…he’ll get away with things because they were truly funny.” Peters was interviewed on September 4, 2012 for American Masters – Mel Brooks: Make A Noise (2013).
Premiered: 5/20/2013


PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.