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Video - Formats - Favorite Documentaries and Miniseries

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    Baseball - A Film by Ken Burns
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    VHS Tape (13 May, 1997)
    list price: $149.88
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    Editorial Review

    After the national success of his 11-hour epic, The Civil War--the highest-rated miniseries in public-television history--many wondered if Ken Burns could capture the same energy and passion with smaller subjects. His reply, the 18-hour history of America's greatest sport, Baseball, not only quieted these worries, it also perhaps surpassed his prior achievement. Massive in scope (it covers more than 100 years), exhausting in detail, and filled with celebrities, journalists, politicians, historians, and the men who played the game, Burns's romantic love letter to the game achieves the impossible: even those who hate baseball can't help but become immersed in it. This is because Burns doesn't just detail the great players and the memorable plays and games; he also presents baseball as a cultural and social mirror, reflecting the beauty and hypocrisy of the nation that created it. Divided into nine innings, two hours each in length, the video examines complex social issues such as segregation, racial inequality (its section on Jackie Robinson, baseball's first African American player, should be required school viewing), labor battles between owners and players, politics, technology and gender conflicts, among others. Then, of course, there's fascinating footage and biographies on the players--troubled icons such as Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb, heroes such as Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle, and tragic figures such as Pete Rose and Lou Gehrig--the men who, despite a rocky and often hypocritical history, constructed baseball's tradition and preserved its invincibility. --Dave McCoy ... Read more

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    Reviews (104)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The American Pastime
    Not much to add to the other reviews, but this is a mere perfect film documentary by Ken Burns.The documentary takes on a life of its own by becoming a loving tribute to Jackie Robinson, Black Baseball and an act of asking forgiveness for baseball's segregation. It is ironic that when the documentary was released in the fall of 1994, Baseball had just went into a major strike and there was no Baseball World Series that year. A minor footnote is that the New York Yankees were on the verge of a major image overhaul in the wake of Steinbrenner's second suspension and were to become contenders again when he was reinstated. Ken Burns should revisit the documentary with a follow-up film to cover the Yankees return to dynastic prominence in the mid to late 90's, the eventual end of the Red Sox so-called 'Curse' in the new millenium along with the loss of Joe Dimaggio, Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle. The documentary focuses in on the Baseball's rich history that is emphasized by the statistics of individuals that are used as a yardstick to measure the performances of upcoming and future players. Lastly, KEN BURNS' BASEBALL is a detailed fountain of information, history, and entertainment from the obscure to the obvious that demands repeat viewings showing why baseball is the 'National Pastime'. Note: Great quote from columnist and television personality George Will on the comparisons of Baseball to Football. George Will states, "Football combines the two worst features of modern American life.It is violence punctuated by committee meetings. In addition, Football demonstrates the manic division of labor that makes life confusing and (I should think)...unsatisfying..."

    4-0 out of 5 stars A problem of scope
    There are two wonderful documentaries contained here.One is the story of New York baseball, from the Giants to Babe Ruth to the Brooklyn "Bums" to the '86 Mets.The other is the story of Negro League baseball and breaking the color barrier.These two separate documentaries come together wonderfully in the chapter on Jackie Robinson.

    The problem is that the film wants to be something more.It wants to be the complete story of baseball, and that ambition comes up short.Many good players and valuable stories were given short shrift because they apparently didn't fit the narrative outline chosen by the film-maker.

    4-0 out of 5 stars For anyone who loves Baseball!!
    I wasn't interested in Ken Burns', the Civil War until just recently.However, I was interested in viewing this film from the begining as I'm a huge fan of the American pastime.I absolutely enjoyed the interview with Buck O'Neill as he tells his adventures with Satchel Paige as well as Bob Costas' observations of the 1986 World Series.What I didn't like was the interviews with historians as I was baffled on their, so called, baseball knowledge.What worked in the "Civil War", didn't work with this film.As with his other documentary, this film will inspire those who love the game and those who would like to know more about the history. ... Read more

    Asin: 6303218725
    Subjects:  1. Baseball   


    The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns (Boxed Set)
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    VHS Tape (03 June, 1997)
    list price: $99.88
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    Editorial Review

    The most successful public-television miniseries in American history, the 11-hour Civil War didn't just captivate a nation, reteaching to us our history in narrative terms; it actually also invented a new film language taken from its creator. When people describe documentaries using the "Ken Burns approach," its style is understood: voice-over narrators reading letters and documents dramatically and stating the writer's name at their conclusion, fresh live footage of places juxtaposed with still images (photographs, paintings, maps, prints), anecdotal interviews, and romantic musical scores taken from the era he depicts. The Civil War uses all of these devices to evoke atmosphere and resurrect an event that many knew only from stale history books. While Burns is a historian, a researcher, and a documentarian, he's above all a gifted storyteller, and it's his narrative powers that give this chronicle its beauty, overwhelming emotion, and devastating horror. Using the words of old letters, eloquently read by a variety of celebrities, the stories of historians like Shelby Foote and rare, stained photos, Burns allows us not only to relearn and finally understand our history, but also to feel and experience it. --Dave McCoy ... Read more

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    Reviews (151)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Documentary Ever Made
    I don't quite know what Gary in Chicago has been smoking. This film is simply the best Documentary ever made. Period. I'd rather not gush as so many of the reviews have done. Suffice it to say that if you own any documentray, this is the one to own. One caveat, however.... Invest in the DVD remstered edition instead of the VHS. The picture and sound are vastly improved.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing
    If you are one of the people who hasn't yet seen this documentary, you MUST see it. It is a MUST for every civil war buff. It is the best way to learn about the war, and as a young teenager it helped spur my interest in the war. I am 26 now, and couldn't wait to purchase it. I love all Ken Burns documentaries, but this is my favorite.

    My favorite part of the whole documentary is the letters from people such as Mary Chestnut, who actually lived through the war.

    I am glad that the installment has finally come out on DVD. My mom had the VHS set, and mine takes up a lot less space on my shelf. It's also easier to access if you want to re-watch a certain battle you have interest in. Typically, after I visit Gettysburg ( as I do annually), I like to watch the time leading up to the battle on the DVD before my trip, and then the actual tape on the battle afterwards. It just intensifies the meaning of the whole experience.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Thorough History Lesson
    It wasn't until 14 years later that I was interested in Ken Burns' epic documentary.The vintage photos, old films, letters, documents and places are just amazing to view.The historians are truly unforgetable as they tell their stories about how life was during that time.But it's the battles and the men that fought them that are the real stars of this movie.There are so many tidbits that I never knew about. This documentary will inspire many who want to know one of the most important events in American history. ... Read more

    Asin: 6301996135
    Subjects:  1. War Documentaries   


    The West (Boxed Set)
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    VHS Tape (09 January, 1998)
    list price: $99.98 -- our price: $94.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Editorial Review

    Since its premiere on PBS in September 1996, The West has rightfully assumed its place as a milestone event in television history, and remains the single most ambitious and authoritative audio-visual history of the American West. Spanning centuries but focusing primarily on the period of 1800 to 1915, when America was virtually redefined by westwardexpansion, this outstanding 12.5-hour film is itself a triumphant effort to redefine Americans' collective understanding of the West and its impact on national identity. Directed by Stephen Ives and executive produced by Ken Burns (The Civil War, Baseball, Jazz), the film follows the theory adopted by previous Ken Burns productions--namely, that "history is biography"--and unfolds through a wealth of personal anecdote and intimate documentation.

    The film's lasting achievement is its interweaving of the two distinct threads of western history--the triumph of westward expansion from the urban areasof the East, and the tragic dispossession of the Native Americans who had populated North America for thousands of years. Where previous historical perspectives tended to emphasize one direction or the other, The West (written by Geoffrey C. Wardand Dayton Duncan) achieves a delicate balance, illustrating how nearly every story of pioneering idealism was countered by incidents of tragic loss and suffering.

    Brilliantly narrated by Peter Coyote, the series gains further depth and authority through interviews with more than 75 historians and experts. Foremost among them is N. Scott Momaday, scholar, historian, and Kiowa Indian, whose contribution to the series is deeply affecting. Other experts include historians Richard White, Patricia Nelson Limerick, and Stephen Ambrose; writers Michael Dorris and Maxine Hong Kingston; Lakota descendant Charlotte Black Elk; former Texas governor Ann Richards; and many others. When viewed in its entirety, this outstanding, truly epic documentary combines all of its separate episodes to form an emotionally involving narrative of astonishing depth and unprecedented accuracy. To say that The West is essential viewing would be an understatement; this film should be considered mandatory to any balanced awareness of America's turbulent and glorious westward movement. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

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    Reviews (15)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Ken Burns Triumphs Again!
    With his exploration of "The West," Ken Burns again proves himself to be among the best historical documentary film makers of the day!As a college history teacher, I find this series to be generally accurate and stunningly captured through both archival stills and gorgeous, modern film.Of course it is a selective history--what survey of history is not selective?The hope is that with this as an interesting springboard, maybe a viewer will be stimulated to dig a little deeper.At least it is a view of the west that is populated with something other than stereotyped "cowboys" and "indians."I use at least two episodes from this series in my US survey classes each semester and for the most part my students seem to enjoy it.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Dreary P.C. stuff
    Yes once more the academic liberals have hijacked what could be an interesting subject and turned it into a P.C rant.There is not much history here and given the biases that are so evident throughout the series, I am guessing that we should take all statements with a great grain of salt.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Selective History
    I looked forward to viewing this, since the history of the west is so rich.It would have been very difficult to present a comprehensive documentary of its history, but it seems that in this case Ives doesn't even try.He is consumed by victimology.It is perfectly appropriate to give a comprehensive account of the Native Americans and the great injustices that were done to them, although much was left out about the different tribes, regions they inhabited, culture, etc..I would expect that this would be a major part of the series, which it was.Unfortunately, the rest is literally drenched with some sort of guilt-driven quest by the director to include every persecuted group of people, and individually outline their plights (blacks, chinese, mexicans, mormons). The message has become terribly boring by now. Whites bad, everyone else good.And only a passing mention of the Donner party?Believe it or not, you get a much better history overall from Kenny Rogers' "The Real West". ... Read more

    Asin: 6304209908
    Subjects:  1. Documentary   


    $94.98

    New York (7 Episode PBS Boxed Set)
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    VHS Tape (25 September, 2001)
    list price: $99.88 -- our price: $94.89
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Editorial Review

    If you're a fan of Ken Burns PBS documentaries such as The Civil War and Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery, then you'll want to add New York, produced by Ken's brother Ric, to your collection. This exhaustively thorough documentary chronicles the evolution of the city from its time as a Dutch settlement in the early 17th century to its current status as megalopolis extraordinaire. Famous New Yorkers including Martin Scorsese, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Fran Lebowitz, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and former mayor Ed Koch lend their colorful local perspective. In addition, there's commentary by numerous historians and writers, most notably Pulitzer Prize-winning Mike Wallace (not of 60 Minutes fame, but rather author of Gotham) and the late Brendan Gill, who notes the distinctly capitalist foundation of the city. As he succinctly states, "New York was based upon greed." There's no mistaking that this is a Burns documentary; the story is told through the now-familiar mosaic of images, interviews, music, and narrative chronicling past events. However, there are noticeable differences in the two brothers' style. While Ken Burns tends to linger over his subject matter and personalize it, Ric is more focused on the task of recounting the events in chronological order. New York is also more upbeat, as it thankfully does not employ the tiresome, whining violin dirges of which brother Ken is so fond. You don't have to be a fan of New York City to enjoy this PBS production. You just have to enjoy the experience of discovering history through the popular Burns documentary style. --William Carr ... Read more

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    Reviews (49)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting, But Too Long And Too Much Liberal Bias
    As is typical of PBS documentaries, especially those done by a Burns, this one has a not so subtle leftish political agenda.It's so predictable...portray the growth of government as progress, portray labor unions as champions of workers and forget about the notorious violence and corruption, mention "the poor" or "African-Americans" at least once every 30 seconds, go into detail about all the horrors whites perpetrated against blacks but never, ever portray blacks in a negative light. (Black-on-white rapes, muggings, and murders in New York City?Never a problem at all!).This is what political correctness demands and Burns dutifully delivers.

    Historians are supposed to relate history the way it was to those who lived it, not impose present-day liberal values on it.Unfortunately, revisionist presentism infects many parts of this documentary.Burns focuses obsessively (for nearly an hour) on Robert Moses' transportation projects, demonizing him and his expressways over and over again with every pejorative he could think of. This was really over the top and really unprofessional coming from a historian.I don't necessarily disagree with his assessment of Moses, but I'd like to to hear opposing views and a more neutral narration so that I can make up my own mind for myself.

    Building expressways through the city is destructive, according to this documentary, but graffiti "artists" who leave their mark on subways are making the city more beautiful, as one dissheveled interviewee, who appears over and over in the film, explained -- without being rebutted, of course. (Take that Rudy Giulliani!)

    Burns spent so much time attacking Robert Moses that he was never even able to devote a minute of this marathon documentary to professional sports in New York.Do you think maybe the Yankees...maybe Babe Ruth...have had just a bit of significance to New Yorkers over the years?You wouldn't suspect it from watching this!

    Despite these complaints, most of this production is actually well put together, interesting, and informative.It's excessive, though.There are way too many interviews with historians and commentators, who all seem to echo Burns' worldview anyway.It runs a total of 14 hours (even longer with the new episode 8)!Who has that kind of time?Ric Burns should have done more editing and cut it in half to make it more accessible.

    I would recommend this documentary series to people with a serious interest in New York and/or American history who are willing to devote the required time. I would only recommend it, however, to people who are experienced and sophisticated enough to recognize and disregard/challenge as necessary imbedded ideological biases. Students with a long attention span may enjoy this, but if they are not politically astute, they should be debriefed by an objective person as to the biases.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best DVD collection in my library of 2000+ titles
    Ric Burns' New York is the best documentary film to exist - period.

    This insightful work uses incredible interviews, photos and perhaps best of all - a beautiful musical score - to provide everyone who views this the true flavor of The Big Apple.

    Don't forget about Volume 8 that's available seperately - it's a MUST-HAVE to compliment this great set.If there were a way to give this film 100 stars, I would do just that.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Portrait of a City
    There's a great 4-part series in this production.Or eight one-hour episodes.I viewed the series for the first time not on tv but on DVD, and come away with the sense that what may have been effective for the needs of separate airings on television does not translate as well to consecutively-viewed discs.Burns has assembled a handsomely produced, well-researched set of biographies, commentary, and history with the participation of a wide range of writers, historians, and public figures.He underscores interesting facets of the city's development.Photographs and films provide glimpses of past eras to support the script.A carefully thought-out storyline, though not exhaustive, lends a strong theme.

    The pacing of the episodes is, however, extended.The theme of individual episodes is overplayed so that the device of quotations slows the narrative as much as it advances it.Vignettes are played out in excessive detail and repetitiously, so that the pace becomes glacial.What is initially stirring and engaging becomes, through the editing style, anesthetic.The narration tends toward overuse of superlatives. Each time the viewer hears that the upcoming historical event-- be it race relations, the grid pattern of streets, or the effects of the automobile-- will leave the city "forever changed" or subject to its "greatest adjustment" or reeling like "never before," one feels deja vu.This effect is unfortunately emphasized by the excessive use of the otherwise stately and lovely theme music.

    I have a dislike of MTV-driven, ADD style editing that employs rapid pacing, quick cuts, and multiple screens.New York's DVD release would have been strengthened, not by hyperactive editing room techniques, but by cropping the episodes to maintain a steady rhythm.Some of the consultants would be better employed in background narration than talking head shots, the eye-catching qualities of Mike Wallace's pop-eyed, hand-spinning delivery notwithstanding.

    This is clearly a loving portrait of the town, and it provides a viewer with a good lesson in history.There is much of substance-- and much of bloat.A condensed version could contain what is vital and excise what is redundant. ... Read more

    Asin: B00005N900
    Subjects:  1. Documentary   


    $94.89

    Cosmos Boxed Set (Collector's Edition)
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    VHS Tape (08 October, 2002)
    list price: $119.98 -- our price: $113.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Editorial Review

    When Cosmos was first broadcast in 1980, our world--and the context of Carl Sagan's eloquent "personal journey"--was a different place. The late Dr. Sagan would be pleased to witness the cooling of the cold war, the continued exploration of space, and ongoing efforts to curb our destructive dependence on fossil fuels. For Sagan's series is far more than a guided tour through "billions and billions" of stars and galaxies. It remains a profound plea for the unity of humankind, for the recognition that "we are a way for the universe to know itself," with an obligation to know our origin, our place in the universe, and our future potential.

    In the course of 13 fascinating hours, Cosmos spans its own galaxy of topics to serve Sagan's theme, each segment deepening our understanding of how we got from there (simple microbes in the primordial mud) to here (space-faring civilization in the 21st century). In his "ship of the imagination," Sagan guides us to the farthest reaches of space and takes us back into the history of scientific inquiry, from the ancient library of Alexandria to the NASA probes of our neighboring planets. Upon this vast canvas Sagan presents the "cosmic calendar," placing the 15-billion-year history of the universe into an accessible one-year framework, then filling it with a stunning chronology of events, both interstellar and earthbound.

    From the lives of the stars, to creation theories, functions of the human brain, and the ongoing search for extraterrestrial intelligence, Cosmos asks big questions. When appropriate, Sagan offers big answers, or asks still bigger--and yes, even spiritual--questions at the boundaries of science and religion. What's most remarkable about Cosmos is that it remains almost entirely fresh, with few updates needed to the science that Sagan so passionately celebrates. It is no exaggeration to say that Cosmos--for all the debate it may continue to provoke--is a vital document for humanity at a pivotal crossroads of our history. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

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    Reviews (144)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great for the Non-Scientifically Inclined
    Originally I was daunted by the fact that the whole program is 13 hours long, but after I began watching the series, I was hooked. I have never been great in the sciences, nor have I been very enthusiastic about that field. However, this series changed my perspectives.

    Not only does Sagan break down complex science into simple to understand concepts, but he does it with so much infectious enthusiasm. You can't help but feel awe and amazement when you follow his presentations on the greatness of science.

    Sagan also brilliantly shows how chemistry, geography, biology, history, geology, evolution, physics, geometry, and astronomy are all intertwined, and to understand these subjects means to understand the cosmos, and to understand the cosmos means to understand humanity.

    Watching this series, I felt so encouraged and uplifted. I felt that although our global society is in major turmoil, yes, there is hope for change. In the last episode where he speaks about the threat of nuclear weapons, I could see that this is a man who cares so much about humanity.

    Never has a television show given me the type of hope and encouragement that Cosmos did. In our world, with the major difficulties we face, Sagan combats the delusions of our time weilding common sense and reason as his weapons.

    You won't regret your purchase of this set.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Production and totally engaging
    Like many others here, I too watched Cosmos as a child/teenager in Australia where it was broadcast on the ABC, the national public broadcaster here.
    I too was awstruck and totally engaged by Dr Sagan's wonderful presentation style, knowledge and the way he was able to draw the viewer in, young or old, even people for whom this subject doesn't immediately appeal.
    He was a very special person and a great loss to be taken relatively young.
    I have been chasing this series for years, it had been re-broadcast but in a different form, modified and reduced some years later so I was keen one day to get my hands on the whole series in whatever format. The DVD Production is excellent, well packaged and will certainly be shown to my young children once they are a little older (they are very young at present).
    The music chosen for the series is also perfect for the subject matter and doesn't appear dated at all.
    Buy this DVD set, you won't be disappointed.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Cosmos Instructs, Entertains, and Inspires
    Although the boxed DVD set may seem expensive, it is the best DVD investment I have made.I watched this series originally on TV in the early 1980s with my dad.We were awestruck.Now I watch it with my son who is 7 years old.Sam absolutely loves this series and has seen every episode several times.If he only grasps 10% of what Carl is saying, I am well-pleased.Sam is inspired, challenged, and lifted up by Carl Sagan.And I am still awestruck.
    ... Read more

    Asin: B000055ZOC
    Subjects:  1. Documentary   


    $113.98

    Heritage - Civilization and the Jews
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    VHS Tape (11 September, 2001)
    list price: $99.95 -- our price: $94.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Editorial Review

    Over the course of nine hours, this sumptuous PBS documentary from 1984 chronicles the history of the Jewish people from biblical times through the 20th century. This is not, however, a documentary solely about Judaism; it is instead an in-depth look at the history of Jewish interaction with the world at large, a look at how Jews have shaped communities around them and how the communities around them have shaped the Jews. Host Abba Eban, who has served as foreign minister of Israel and Israeli ambassador to the U.N., is authoritative and knowledgeable in his explications. Using paintings, artifacts, modern cinematography of ancient sites, readings, and theatrical music, Eban brings drama and tension to events long past. The spanning of five millennia necessitates at times briefer detail than a viewer may like, yet it also provides a sampling of history that may provoke the viewer into seeking more information. This marvelous set should be experienced by anyone who desires a greater understanding of the Western world and the role of the Jews in shaping it. --Jenny Brown ... Read more

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    Reviews (8)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Recommeded!!!
    It takes 9 hours to watch a complete set and it worths it. It interesting that my 6 years old daughter was watching some parts with me and we both enjoyed. There are a lot of reasons to watch the program. First, it gives a good overview of the western civilization from sumerians. Second, the quality of the material is superb. You'll see a lot of beautiful places around the globe. Third, you'll learn about the jews.

    Some things are quite surpising. The program is focused on dates, places and events. It tells you what happened and where but not much about why. Also it doesn't tell much jewish religion or traditions. If you want to know about jewish holidays, what kosher is etc, you'll need to look for other sources.

    Overall, it's a great history program!

    1-0 out of 5 stars I have got two words to descibes what I thought of this...
    AND THAT IS BORING AND SNOBISH!I watched the first two hours of this and coudn't keep awake.The narritor's voice was monotone. I wanted to shout at his pompous, snobish demeanor SHUT UP!!In my opinion is not the proper way to educate is to entertain at all god's peoples. With the narritor, granted he is educated but does he have to shove his creditals and his attitude from the gecko. When you take people on a educating journey (such as nine hours long) invite them like you would invite into a warm a loving welcoming home. I felt with his demeanor and atitude felt beat up and like I was crawling on my hands and knees through out the first two hours. I am not watching the rest of the seven hours and returning this DVD set back to the library and saying "Check Please".

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
    This nine-part documentary is not only a history of the Jews, it's a history of the western world! Hundreds of thousands of dollars were probably spent in the production of this series. Abba Eban takes the viewer all over the world to examine one of the world's most gifted and intriguing people - the Jews. These tapes will not put you to sleep. The music and images allows the viewer to relive Jewish history. And consequently, come to understand the world we live in today much better. I know the tapes are pricey, but own this documentary if you ever have the chance. You'll never regret it. ... Read more

    Asin: B00005N5UT
    Subjects:  1. Documentary   


    $94.95

    Lewis & Clark - The Journey of the Corps of Discovery
    Director: Ken Burns
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    VHS Tape (08 January, 2002)
    list price: $24.98
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    Editorial Review

    Another reliably well-crafted, generally engrossing documentary from Ken Burns, Lewis & Clark employs the director's now-familiar approach to his subjects, from its elegant juxtaposition of period illustrations and portraits against newly filmed footage of historic sites to Burns's repertory of accomplished actors to provide gravitas for quotes from the key figures. Granted the formula has become familiar enough to allow parody, but Burns knows how to invest his historical investigations with movement and drama, making this four-hour journey a worthwhile trip.

    As narrated by Hal Holbrook, Dayton Duncan's script explicates the agenda presented by Thomas Jefferson to Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, placing it in the context of the young country's gamble in Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase, and the expedition's goals for opening the West. While preserving the heroic scale of the undertaking, Burns also finds time to delve into the politics of the venture and the disparate personalities of the two explorers; in particular, Duncan and Burns look at the career of Lewis, the presidential protégé, his moody demeanor, and hisuntimely death. The film also looks beyond its titular leaders to examine the personalities of their corps of soldiers, their boatmen, and the Indians they met and depended on, most notably their female Shosone guide, Sacagawea. --Sam Sutherland ... Read more

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    Reviews (41)

    1-0 out of 5 stars This is not history
    This is not history.It's nonsense.The Corps of Discovery went out to establish U.S. claims to trade.It was not a particularly noble trip, it was not pure exploration, it had devastating effects for the tribes contacted.Where are the descendants of Clark?Why aren't they in this film?
    They are out there.I've heard them speak at many conferences.Where is Sacagawea's family? They are still around.Why aren't their views represented?What about descendants of other members of the Corps?What of the theft of canoes at the western-most point of the trip (by L&C from the Native Americans living in the region)?What of Charbonneau's abuse of S.? He beat her so badly that three times it was entered into the official record of the trip.An official government record.
    What of the maps that L&C brought with them? What of the French traders already in the area they subsequently claimed for the U.S. based on being the "first" in the area?

    For a more interesting view of the Expedition I recommend the video of Johnny Arlee's pageant titled: Salish and Pend d'Oreille People Meet the Lewis and Clark Expedition"
    This presents a different and more enlightening view of the Corps.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I am watching this for the 10th time.At least.
    Ken Burns has pulled me into this story like nothing else could have.This presentation combines stories told in a most compelling way, readings from the journals, pictures and paintings, and music in a way that makes the Lewis & Clark expedition come alive.It's an adventure story that transcends time.I was so blown away when I first saw it on PBS that I bought the book, the VHS video, and now the CD/book combo.I am watching it now for the 10th time, and I still cry when I get to Grinder's Stand.My son is now writing a report on Lewis and Clark for school, and he is using this DVD as his primary source.He chose the topic, and it's one of the few stories that has captured his attention other than Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.(Thank you, Ken Burns!)This is a real-life adventure story that is expertly told.(I would love to get the soundtrack that PBS used to sell, but they apparently no longer sell it.)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Visually beautiful with fine narration of an important story
    The expedition of Lewis & Clark is one of the great events in American History and is all but unknown today.This wonderful program is a great way to become more familiar with this fascinating story and that great band of explorers (including the woman on our Golden Dollar: Sacagawea).Hal Holbrook is a great narrator and the writing is quite good.The visuals are even better.It is stunning to view and brings some real appreciation to what the Corps of Discovery accomplished.Just taking that boat upstream for so many miles is stunning, let alone all the cataloging they did in the face of a very real struggle for survival.

    It is also amazing to see how many vistas Burns and crew were able to find in such a seemingly pristine state.One of the real shocks to me was to understand how nearly deadly the Great Plains were to the Corps because of the lack of wood.Growing up in Michigan with trees everywhere, we take wood for granted.On that expedition, its lack was a real hardship.

    While not as dramatic as war and without and the lack of contemporary illustrations requires a different presentation style than Burns normally provides, this is still a visual feast and good solid food for the brain.Worth viewing many times for many reasons.

    Don't forget to read Stephen Ambrose's "Undaunted Courage" as well. ... Read more

    Asin: 0780618831


    Walking With Dinosaurs
    Director: Tim Haines, Jasper James
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    VHS Tape (12 February, 2002)
    list price: $4.97 -- our price: $4.47
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    Editorial Review

    Dinosaurs may be extinct, but they still rule the world. When the first episode of the six-part BBC series Walking with Dinosaurs originally aired, an estimated one out of every four Britons tuned in. What they witnessed was dinosaurs brought to life, not in the modern world as in Jurassic Park, but in their original habitats millions of years ago. Revived using computer-generated effects that cost close to $5 million and sophisticated animatronic models, the dinosaurs look barely a day over 150 million years old. The creators present the series in classic nature-documentary style, complete with an authoritative narrator (Kenneth Branagh) to guide the viewer through the footage of dinosaurs mating, fighting, raising their young, grazing, or, in the case of carnivores, hunting. Each episode focuses on a theme, whether it is a particular era, such as the Mesozoic, or a particular type of dinosaur, like those that ruled the oceans. Each part also focuses in on the life of an individual dinosaur or family of dinosaurs. The result is a series of short dramas that both inform and entertain.

    The showis so realistic that some scientists and viewers have criticized its seamless blending of fact and speculation. Those who wish to maintain a healthy skepticism about the theories set forth should watch the exclusive footage from The Making of Walking with Dinosaurs included on the DVD and available via mail-in on the VHS. In it, the scientists freely admit that some educated guesswork was involved and explain how they arrived at the dinosaurs' appearances and behavior. Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with every detail of the re-creation, it is difficult to deny that Walking with Dinosaurs succeeds in providing dinosaur lovers with an experience that can't be matched by mere images of paleontologists and fossils.

    There's an extra 15 minutes of footage on the video that wasn't broadcast on TV, much of it dinosaurs attacking each other. With the violence, plus explanations of mating, cannibalism, and other terrifying things, young kids should skip it. Dinosaur enthusiasts of age 6 and up should be fine; it's far less violent than anything from the Jurassic Park films.--Eugene Wei ... Read more

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    Reviews (155)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Reality Of Prehistoric Life
    This video is fascinating, informative, capturing the imagination.Putting you back with the beasts of early life on Earth, going back to before the real Dinosaurs to the ancient reptilian life, this video is one of my favorites.This has an
    educated touch.Buy it and enjoy.

    5-0 out of 5 stars We love it!
    My 7 year old son has checked this video out from the library more than once and really loves the action and information.It keeps his attention each time he watches it.We are ordering the DVD for him for Christmas - he has it on his list!

    3-0 out of 5 stars The Best 'Dinomentry' Ever
    Walking with Dinosaurs is a documentry on the dinosaurs and there amazing world. Yet far from perfect, the three-hour film is still great (despite the fact I give it only 3 stars). I really like the amazing photo-realistic CGI used in the series - it's so realistic you think you actually were there!

    I must admit, though, the series does have it's faults. First of all, the narration. It's completely full of speculation, and in my opinion, it's totall rubish. Next of all comes all the killing - why do they need almost every scene full of killing? I must also especially complain about all the baby-eating scenes. Couldn't they focus something else than hunting and fighting? If they got rid' of that, I think I would give this film a better review (maybe 4 stars or so).

    The series is made of six episodes (New Blood, Time of the Titans, Cruel Sea, Giant of the Skies, Spirits of the Ice Forest and Death of a Dynasty). The first, New Blood, focuses on early species of dinosaur such as Coelophysis and Plateosaurus. It also has some other none-dinosaur reptiles like Thrinaxodon, Placerias and Postosuchus. Then along comes Time of the Titans, which follows the life of a certain young female Diplodocus in the forest of the Jurassic period. Next is A Cruel Sea, which features huge swimming reptiles like Liopluerodon, Cryptoclidus and Ophthalmosaurus along with several dinosaurs and pterosaurs - Eustreptospondylus and Rhamphorynkus. Then comes my favorite episode of all - Giant of the Skies. It focuses on the giant pterosaur Ornithocheirus, an animal as big as an aeroplane. I also liked the design of the raptors. Oh, I musn't miss out Spirits of the Ice Forest - it's another favorite of mine. Ever knew there were dinos thriving in the South Pole? Well, there was - Leallynasaura, Muttaburrasaura and some sought of Polar Allosaurus. Then comes Death of a Dynasty, which features T-Rex. The T-Rex was a bit too fierce for my tastes, but never mind. I also must say I don't know why they chose Torasaurus instead of Triceratops.

    There are also some inacuracies in the movie. For instance, Allosaurus DID NOT have horns above it's eyes, but instead had horns behind the eyes.

    Anyway, come get this film! It's really good fun (despite some flaws, as stated earlier). Look out for my review for it's sequel - Walking with Beasts. ... Read more

    Asin: B00004ZEPU
    Subjects:  1. Documentary   


    $4.47

    Life on Earth
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    VHS Tape (15 April, 1987)
    list price: $39.98 -- our price: $37.98
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    Reviews (17)

    3-0 out of 5 stars OK Intro to Hit Attenborough Show
    I bought this set from Amazon 4 years ago and watched it.It is an extremely edited version of the 13 part tv series by Sir David Attenborough.I wqs disppointed that most episodes were edited down and many neat parts, such as fossil discussions and habitat discussions, were left out.The complete series on DVD is available in the UK, but, unfortunately, not available in the uS.However, a Chinese DVD business sells the complete unedited series on a DVD set along with Living Planet and private Life of Plants.I recently won a copy of the set from E-Bay and will be getting that soon in the mail.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Life on Earth
    The Amazon-UK has this video available in all of its original length and glory.When will we be so lucky?I bought the abridged version out of despersation - it would be good if I didn't know whwat I was missing.

    Please release this DVD/Video for the USA.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Find the ORIGINAL
    If anyone can find the 11 hour series you have found a masterpiece. What a work of art the BBC and Dr. Attenbourough have created. The Blue Planet is also extraordinary. ... Read more

    Asin: 630027134X
    Sales Rank: 3612
    Subjects:  1. Documentary   


    $37.98

    The Blue Planet - Seas Of Life 2 Pack (Part 1 & 2)
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    VHS Tape (14 October, 2003)
    list price: $20.68
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    Editorial Review

    Extraordinary footage and eloquent narration by David Attenboroughhighlight the BBC's remarkable wildlife series, The Blue Planet: Seas ofLife. "Ocean World" begins with astonishing views of a gigantic blue whale--the elusive Holy Grail of undersea photography--and the marvels continue todemonstrate the power, diversity, and profound ecological influence of Earth'soceans. From the surface feedings of dolphins to the pitch-black environs ofdeep-sea predators rarely glimpsed by humans, the oceans are seen as livingentities teeming with nutrients and rejuvenating currents essential to all lifeon Earth. This marvelous portrait of the food chain--from plankton to sharks tokiller whales--continues in "Frozen Seas," examining whales, walruses, penguins,and other creatures under the extreme conditions of the Arctic and AntarcticCircles.

    The next two episodes are even better. "Open Ocean" travels thousands of milesinto the vast "liquid desert," where currents determine how the ocean's diverselife forms will assume their places in the food chain. From manta rays tospinner dolphins, hammerhead sharks, and a plethora of smaller creatures fendingfor their lives, the patient cameramen capture a movable feast with intenseproximity, while narrator David Attenborough brings these forces of nature intoeloquent perspective. More amazing, "The Deep" descends with a state-of-the-artsubmersible to the ocean's abyssal plain and beyond, filming such bizarrecreatures as the fangtooth, bioluminescent jellies, transparent squid, thegiant-mouthed gulper eel, and the never-before-seen hairy angler fish. One ofthe finest wildlife programs you're ever likely to see, The Blue Planet: Seasof Life provides the privilege of visiting a truly alien world teeming withthe rarest wonders of nature. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

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    5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
    It is a magnificent documentary -- perhaps the best I have ever seen on nature.

    The beauty of the scenes is inspiring -- and the sections on feeding and survival, quite moving.The swirling balls of herring and sardine illuminated by the sun are fascinating -- though portends of mortal danger.

    Nature can both generous and ruthless.

    I was impressed once again that whales -- who should be at the top of the food chain -- actually survive on very primitive plant and animal life -- plankton and krill.Most of the rest of the sealife -- not to mention mankind itself -- is not so civilized.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An amazing suspension of belief
    A science fiction fantasy told and presented as reality. Which doesn't seem like much until you realize this *is* reality. Unearthly creations both monstrous and spellbinding, painstakingly caught on video and presented in the comfort of your living room. No prior knowledge of undersea life is necessary to enjoy this visual feast. Even my 5 and 7 year-old children find this video as fascintating as those about dinasours.

    By the way, I brought this DVD series after reading the book of the same name. The book obviously goes into more detail but both are a highly recommended addition to your library.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great series!
    I love it, and my 3-yr old does too. ... Read more

    Asin: B00005YU7G
    Subjects:  1. Documentary   


    Vietnam - A Television History
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    VHS Tape (02 April, 1997)
    list price: $99.95
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    Editorial Review

    Exactly why was America in Vietnam? This remarkable and essential seven-volume series--six years in the making and originally broadcast on public television in 1983--tells the agonizing history of Vietnam's lengthy conflicts with some of the largest powers on Earth. While the primary focus is on the United States' miserable efforts to prop up a porous, anti-Communist government in South Vietnam as a bulwark against Chinese and Soviet expansionism, the series' makers expend no less energy detailing important antecedents to America's intervention. Of vital interest are the first two hours, which tell the compelling story of France's 80-year colonial rule in Southeast Asia and the rise of a European-educated generation of Vietnamese intellectuals turned warriors, chief among them the architect of Vietnam's prolonged revolt against the West, Ho Chi Minh. By the time a viewer comes to understand how and why America shrugged off Vietnamese independence after World War II, it is easier to grasp the tragic context for the disastrous military campaign of the 1960s and '70s. The rest of the series covers the various expansions of America's war in Vietnam through a succession of presidents from Eisenhower to Nixon, carefully explaining the sundry issues that drove each commander-in-chief to send more money, more troops, and more weapons into a seemingly unwinnable and dubious battle. The later volumes take the story into Laos and the horrible siege of Cambodia by a U.S.-supported Khmer Rouge, and examine the history of the antiwar movement in America. No stone is left unturned in this important project, which runs some 13 hours and should be considered one of the most important television series in history. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

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    1-0 out of 5 stars Radical Left Pro-Communist Propaganda
    In the 1980s when I first viewed this PBS series, from Boston's very liberal WGBH and produced/directed by a well-known leftist, I was somewhat ambivalent about it, not fully comfortable with its presentation, but unable to put my finger on what bothered me about it.Today, some 15 years older and wiser, having studied history in some detail and being aware of Communism's 100 million victims during the 20th Century, I decided to take a fresh look.I purchased the series on VHS videotape through eBay, as the DVD version was not then available -- which was a good thing as those videotapes preserved a lot of stuff which was NOT transferred to the DVD version.

    Notably, at the time of the first VHS release, there was some protest against the PBS "documentary", claims that it was highly biased towards the Vietnamese communists, and so the producers added short notes at the end of the videotapes, indicating where one might find those sources of contrary opinion, and rebuttals to the PBS series.Those important end-notes have vanished from the DVD version, which I subsequently purchased to have a better quality reproduction for my historical archive.The DVD version will therefore leave the viewer with the false impression there never was such a loud howl of protest as actually happened.So I will repeat here several of the more important corrective end-notes, as have been censored off the DVD version, and to which the intelligent reviewer will naturally want to consult.

    Firstly and foremost, there is the book "Losers Are Pirates" edited by James Banerian, with contributions from "Vietnamese refugees living in the USA".This book goes through the PBS "Vietnam TV History" series, section by section, stripping away its phoney objectivity, revealing the lies and half-truths, and more seriously the Lies Of Omission (the worst kind of lie, as Orwell noted).For specific example, the PBS-WGBH series hardly informs the viewer of the vast evidence of Ho Chi Minh's deep commitment to Red Fascism, his years of study with communist cells in Paris, and later in Moscow and Beijing.Nor does it educate about Ho's assassination program , which he participated in and later led after his return to Vietnam, during the chaotic years of French colonial rule, exterminating most of the pro-Vietnamese nationalist leaders who held democratic sentiments.Ho wanted a communist totalitarian state from the get-go, but none of the documentation on that is ever presented.Instead, Ho is falsely misportrayed as a "Vietnamese Nationalist", even as he was guilty of assassinating nationalist leaders.Not to blame American leftists entirely, this was the cover story fabricated by the Vietnamese communists themselves. Capitalizing on legitimate Vietnamese nationalist fervor, Ho Chi Minh created a gigantic illusion and lie about himself and his motivations, leading his people into a communist nightmare, leaving behind a trail of corpses,complete with "land reform" programs which basically turned all colonial lands into state lands, abandoning the peasants except to forcibly organize them into communist agricultural communes, complete with thought-control, neighborhood spy systems, village level "people's trials", and with the inevitable firing squads.Mass graves began to fill in Northern Vietnamese regions controlled by the communists, with anyone who dared to object, including whole families who tried to flee to French-held non-communist territory.

    None of this is detailed in the series, however.Similarly not described, the repeated communist violations of treaty agreements made with the "capitalist enemy" of the south -- the Geneva Accords, the Paris Accords, and minor truces of all sorts -- were nearly immediately violated by the North Vietnamese, and their created Viet Cong cadres in the South.The evidence for the Viet Cong being fabricated, controlled and by the North Vietnamese communists also is never detailed.While many discontented Vietnamese nationalists joined the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces, often as not, after being exposed to their propaganda and methods, the flow of desertions in the other direction was just as brisk.But none of the testimony from Vietnamese officials or citizens on this important issue is revealed.No hint of dissention on such issues ever appears, which are nearly uniformly cast as "fact" purely on the basis of testimony or claims from communist sources -- revealing how the PBS producers were NOT interested in objetivity, presenting both sides, but only that which would support the communists, and misportray the French and USA as villans.Likewise, the NVA/VC terrorism in South Vietnam always exceeded, by perhaps a factor of 10, anything ever done by the USA during Operation Phoenix.Viet Cong massacres of entire families of South Vietnamese officials, with public beheadings and disembowlments in the nature of the Fallujah criminals,are never mentioned, even though this was a major terror tactic of the Viet Cong -- and one of the pre-existing factors which led to the creation of Operation Phoenix, which aimed to assassinate Viet Cong leaders.Likewise, the massacre at Hue -- where NVA and VC forces executed something between 3-5000 civilians in cold blood -- is but one of many similar examples which are glossed over in the Vietnam TV History series.Old communist thugs, sneering with pride at their butchery, are interviewed in such cases, without identifying who they really are, and it is misportrayed as if "ordinary civilians" are being interviewed, rather than high-up communist party officials, or spies who lived in Hue only to emerge after the NVA forces took over, helping after to "round up" the government workers and their families who would be shot in the head and dumped into pits in the jungle.And so on. "Losers Are Pirates" is filled with documentation and eye-witness testimony on the events NOT covered in this phoney PBS "TV history", which was a heart-break for all the refugees who survived the nightmare of communist aggression in SE Asia.

    Events DURING and AFTER the fall of South Vietnam are likewise obliterated from open discussion. For example, the full-scale NVA invasion (who were fully equipped with Soviet and Chinese tanks, artillery, troops, etc., in total violation once again of every treaty agreement) are NOT covered in the DVD version, supporting the overall lie that a communist victory was inevitable, and no treaty violation was worth to mention if that violation brought the communists closer to power. In fact, the entire last segmentof the PBS series, titled "Legacies" which appeared in the VHS version, is NOT repeated on the DVD version.Why would the PBS-WGBH producers leave out an entire segment of the original production?Because "Legacies" was produced late in the series, after the first segments had been shown on USA television and after those segments had triggered the legitimate outrage from so many American military and Vietnamese refugees, who had lived through all those terrible events, and knew what was being lied about, and omitted.So, "Legacies" was created to present at least some of the "dark side" of the communist victory.It detailed some aspects of the miserable Boat People, hundreds of thousands of "liberated" Vietnamese risking death on the high seas just to escape the communist paradise.You can still buy "Legacies" on VHS, separately, but even this small begrudging admission of communist crimes (white-washed as they were in "Legacies") was "too much" for PBS to include today."Legacies"also details the communist genocide in Cambodia -- sort of -- like Noam Chomsky, they cannot quite bring themselves to admit that millions were massacred by the communists, and of course they try to blame it all on the USA, even though it was communists who were pulling the triggers, and strangling victims in every case.

    The facts of Pol Pot's totally communist origins, his links to the Vietnamese communists and hence to Moscow and Beijing, is again glossed over and distorted, with emphasis placed on his much later disagreements and power-struggles with fellow Vietnamese communists.Likewise, Sianouk's hate for democratic America, and love of the dictatorial communists is totally ignored. Even "Legacies" fails to mention such "small details" as the tens of thousands of ordinary Vietnamese who were slaughtered during the last months of the war, in Vietnam, being deliberately machine-gunned and pounded by artillery as they fled along narrow roads leading south, away from the advancing NVA military.The "Highway of Terror", where one had to carefully step over the corpses of women and children scattered mile after mile along the roads -- perhaps 50,000 dead civilians within a few days... but really, the photos of that atrocity are buried in North Vietnamese archives, never released to the public.Much easier to point to Mai Lai. But... this is "ancient history", and nobody wants to hear it today.

    Vietnam TV History instead displays numerous interviews with self-righteous communist cadres and old war-criminal Vietnamese generals, who give their "heroic" side of things, always with the smear against the USA and French, and distortion of fact and events -- as if only North Americans are liars, while Vietnamese communists can always be trusted to tell the truth --but the producers don't even make the slightest attempt to counter their bald propaganda byinterviews with non-communist Vietnamese leaders, or by US generals or troops, except in ways that are calculated to make them appear as evil, stupid, cowardly, sadistic, and so forth.No such prejudicial treatment is afforded to the communists, however!Even the occasional racist or rapacious statement by a communist official is translated into English so as to "tone it down", always to make them appear as "rational", "feeling", "knowledgable" and "honest".Only native Vietnamese-speakers will pick up on this, which is where "Losers Are Pirates" educates.Exactly the opposite treatment is given by the PBS directors to American and South Vietnamese officials.

    The producers even use old East German and NVA propaganda movies, without identifying them as such, as if they are "real" battle-scenes!And of course, how heroic the VC and NVA appear -- one never hears Ho Chi Minh roaring that "he" would willingly sacrifice the entire generation of Vietnamese Youth, and fight for 20 or 30 years if necessary, to secure a Red Fascist communist paradise., much as Hitler or Stalin screeched from their podiums, nor do we see any quotes from Chairman Ho praising Stalin and his cruel methods.And one also never hears much about Laos, which was gobbled up by the Vietnamese communists, nor about the very many good things of South Vietnam -- its chaotic but vital democracy, the freedom of speech and of the press which existed, the higher GNP, food production, standard of living, etc., etc., which they held over the communist North... all that is distorted as well, as the South Vietnamese are misportrayed as drug-pushers, prostitutes, parasites living off American military encampments, secretly sympathetic to the communists, and cowards on the battlefield.One wonders why the Tet offensive failed so miserably, as NOT ONE South Vietnamese city rose up to join the communist forces against the Americans -- perhaps because the VC during Tet had the bad habit of shooting rockets and mortar shells into residential neighborhoods of the cities they wanted to "liberate"? -- and even after the fall of the South, so many Vietnamese took to boats or fled on foot, to escape what everyone knew was coming when the communists took over.Many died in the escape attempts, and others who were caught trying to escape also faced death. Death camps (excuse me, "re-education camps"), totalitarianism, controls over press, speech, thinking, actions, work, neighborhood spys, restrictions on travel, listening to foreign radio, etc., etc."Vietnam TV History" mentions nothing of any of this.Any wonder why ordinary Vietnamese often behave so friendly towards Americans who visit Vietnam?

    Ho Chi Minh is always misportrayed as a gentle old fellow, loving of his countrymen, in his heart wanting a Jeffersonian democracy for Vietnam, but thwarted by those mean old Americans --- one wonders how it went so wrong, how Cambodia slipped into genocidal butchery, and so forth with so many well-intentioned enlightened communists being in control, and all the evil capitalist being driven out.Of course, this is balderdash, and the butchery which gripped SE Asia after the fall of non-communist South Vietnam is totally the responsibility of the victorious communist forces, who after the war could have shaped events however they wished.And they did, which is why genocidal butchery occurred!That is what they wanted!History shows, that is fairly standard practice whenever communists take over.

    Another rebuttal documentary is the VHS production "Television's Vietnam: The Real Story" and "Televisions's Vietnam: The Impact of the Media", which detail how our major news figures -- such as Walter Cronkite -- basically repeated the communist propaganda, helping to seal the fate of the South Vietnamese.Don't believe it?Get these documentaries and judge for yourself.Both are available on a single VHS casette from Accuracy In Media www.aim.org. This VHS, and the "Legacies" VHS, and the "Losers Are Pirates" book are necessary reading, assuming you want the facts.

    Don't take my word for anything, but don't believe the "standard lies" of the left-wing on this subject either. Educate yourself, by reading the penetrating analysis as given in these rebuttals.Digdeeper than the shallow propaganda presented in this PBS series. That is, assuming fact and truth hold meaning for you.For the producers of this PBS series, fact and truth meant nothing.

    1-0 out of 5 stars PBS Diatribe
    Vietnam, A History:Not even close.This compliation "documentary" is no more than typical PBS diatribe.Very little if any factual information is conveyed.The only redeeming quality of this series are the film footages although these are highly edited to give the anti-American stances of PBS and Stanley Karnow.

    Is this DVD set worth your money?I am glad I borrowed it and not purchased it.

    1-0 out of 5 stars journalism and not history
    This is the usual journalistic mixture of important, trivial, direct falsehoods, and falsehoods of omission.It is the usual flash, trash, hype, and jive.Rare events are featured which gives the viewer the impression that they were common.Here is a hypothetical example.A police officer kills an innocent person on purpose.The program then implies that this is commonly done and is the official policy of the police agency and the US government advisors and the reason you never heard about these widespread killings was that there was an official government coverup.The most useful thing you can do with this is to compare the information presented with the memoirs of Henry Kissinger and the books listed below.This should cure you of ever believing what is presented in the news.
    Here is one example of the misrepresentation in the program.You may remember the famous photo of the captured person being shot in the head.This program calls him a Vietcong.In reality this person was a regular North Vietnamese Army officer whose assignment was to kill the family members of South Vietnamese officials.The Geneva Convention on Land Warfare requires combatants to wear distinctive uniforms.It allows the killing of captured members of the other side who were not wearing distinctive uniforms.

    Another example of stupid comments is on one operation where the Marines went into an enemy stronghold to destroy the supplies and tunnel complexes and then leave.The narrator makes the stupid comment that the enemy soldiers returned to the area after the Marines left as if the Marines had not accomplished their mission.

    It is common for government heads to say one thing in speeches and do another in private.Saudi Arabia is an example in the recent middle east war.Public speeches said that they would not help the US forces.In private they allowed use of their bases.This program shows similar speeches without commenting on what happened in private.Cambodia is an example where they wanted out help against the North Vietnamese presence but gave speeches to the opposite.

    The Pentagon Papers
    A Rumor of War
    Decent Interval
    Decision for Disaster

    You will learn from The Pentagon Papers that President Johnson was quite aggressive in escalating the war against the advice of the CIA and other agencies and that he would make decisions on his own without consultation.This program gives the false inference that President Johnson was pulled into the war reluctantly and by others.

    The book Decision for Disaster is by an insider on the Bay of Pigs invasion.You will learn about how unskilled the Kennedy white house staff and appointed state department officials were.This same poor judgement carried over into the administration's policy in Vietnam.

    I was an army lieutenant in Vietnam and what is presented in this program is nothing near what I saw and did. ... Read more

    Asin: 6304462522
    Subjects:  1. War Documentaries   


    From the Earth to the Moon
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    VHS Tape (01 August, 2000)
    list price: $69.92 -- our price: $66.42
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    Editorial Review

    Originally broadcast in April and May of 1998, the epic miniseries From the Earth to the Moon was HBO's most expensive production to date, with a budget of $68 million. Hosted by executive producer Tom Hanks, the miniseries tackles the daunting challenge of chronicling the entire history of NASA's Apollo space program from 1961 to 1972. For the most part, it's a rousing success. Some passages are flatly chronological, awkwardly wedging an abundance of factual detail into a routine dramatic structure. But each episode is devoted to a crucial aspect of the Apollo program. The cumulative effect is a deep and thorough appreciation of NASA's monumental achievement. With the help of a superlative cast, consistent writing, and a stable of talented directors, Hanks has shared his infectious enthusiasm for space exploration and the inspiring power of conquering the final frontier.

    NASA's complete participation in the production lends to its total authenticity, right down to the use of NASA equipment, launch locations, and even spacecraft. The re-creation of the lunar landscape is almost as impressive as the real thing and is further enhanced by the use of helium balloons to lighten the actors playing moon-walking astronauts. (These and other backstage details are revealed in the "making of" featurette, along with a wealth of supplemental materials, on a bonus disc in the miniseries' DVD package.)With a fictional, Walter Cronkite-like TV reporter (Lane Smith) serving as the dramatic link for all 12 episodes, this ambitious production may not be a great work of art. But as a generous and definitive example of nonfiction drama, it's full of the same kind of awe, inspiration, and humanity that led to "one giant leap" in the all-too-short history of 20th-century space exploration. --Jeff Shannon ... Read more

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    3-0 out of 5 stars Only buy it if you own a rental store...
    This whole TV-series-on-DVD phenomenon's getting a bit nuts. Maybe I'm picky, or maybe I'm cheap, but I can't see myself shelling out the money to own anything unless I plan on watching it five or ten times. And although this series is enjoyable and impressive, I just can't picture myself popping it in the DVD player a second or third time. (OK, maybe a second time. But not for every episode.) And I'm a huge fan of all things Apollo.

    Perhaps if I'd watched this before reading Andrew Chaikin's "A Man on the Moon" (the main basis for this series), I'd have enjoyed it more. The nation may have only paid attention to Apollos 8, 11, and 13, but the rest of the program contained drama aplenty--Apollo 12's lightning strike, Alan Sheperd's triumphant return to space on Apollo 14, and the spectacular Lunar Rover explorations on Apollos 15, 16 and 17, to name but a few. Everyone knows that Apollo 13 didn't land on the moon; few know how close Apollos 12, 14 and 16 came to sharing the same fate. Chaikin's book excellently retells all of Apollo's forgotten epics, and "From the Earth to the Moon" attempts to bring that retelling to vivid life.

    It partially succeeds.

    Unfortunately, the meaty source material has been chopped up and pureed into TV-friendly nuggets; many of the best and most vivid recollections from the Chaikin book are absent or barely hinted at here. Presentation also suffers--the performances and the dialogue are solid and workmanlike, but rarely do the scenes provide enough information about the individual astronauts to really get inside their heads. After reading the book, one gets a feel for the distinct personalities of every astronaut who made the voyage, but after watching the movie, some of them come across as little more than empty spacesuits.

    Many of the creative minds involved in this production (Tom Hanks, Ron Howard, and Brian Grazer) are victims of their own successes on Apollo 13--that movie did such an excellent job of recreating zero-G (by filming in actual zero-G conditions on NASA training aircraft) that these mini-movies suffer in comparison, feeling like, well, mini-movies. By clever use of helium baloons, this series gives its actors the "bounce" real moonwalkers had in 1/6th gravity, but it looks like they either didn't have the time or the budget to rent NASA's "Vomit Comets" again to duplicate zero-G for the orbital portions of the miniseries.

    HBO did spend a decent amount of money on CGI, though, and it shows--perhaps too much. For a television series, the special effects are great. But some of the CGI scenes are just too crisp, too razzle-dazzle. If they'd been dirtied up just a touch, they'd have looked a lot more convincing; instead, they remind the viewer that they are watching something rather than living it.

    Anyway, the amazon.com police might not like that I'm saying this, but don't buy this, unless you really, really, really, must own all Apollo stuff, or unless you want to sweeten Tom Hanks's wallet ever-so-slightly with whatever residuals he might be getting from this DVD set. Instead, buy Andrew Chaikin's book (if you don't already have it) and then, if you're still not satisfied, make the brave voyage from the earth to the video store.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Docu-drama - not history
    You know those TV shows that say 'based on actual events' - but not really the facts? This is one of those. Tom Hanks brings his over the top acting style to directing giving us a very soapy version on NASA history. The first DVD gives 10 minutes to Shepard's flight and a brief mention of space walking and docking - docking being one of the MOST important achievements. The remaining hour + is about the Apollo fire, showing supposed 'behind the scenes' arguments about safety vs staying on schedule, the publics right to know vs NASA keeping their game face. The show spend a disproportionate amount of time on what in reality was a small setback in the space race and it tells us nothing about the science and enginering that went into getting to the moon.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Great filmmaking - terrible transfer
    The storytelling is excellent. The subject matter is fascinating and inspirational. Truly incredible filmmaking. Unfortunately, the DVD transfer is just terrible! The image quality is shockingly bad with distracting levels of pixelization. As much as they spent producing this series, you'd think they could make the stunning visuals transfer to DVD without these kinds of artifacts. They dropped the ball on the last step on this one. ... Read more

    Asin: 6305372411
    Subjects:  1. Feature Film-drama   


    $66.42

    Triumph of the Nerds
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    VHS Tape (01 April, 1996)
    list price: $49.95 -- our price: $49.95
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    Reviews (33)

    1-0 out of 5 stars What a horrible Butcher Job of a Masterpiece!!!!!
    So there I was......browsing through Amazon.com and on "the page I made" up pops, guess what? Triumph of the Nerds on DVD. Seeing this, I was just reaching for my credit card to snap up a copy of it when BAM! I read one of the reviews......


    Still a great show, but the Ambrose edition is not complete!, October 28, 2004
    Reviewer:Sean Breazeal (Mt. Pleasant, UT USA)

    I immediately checked with Bob, and Yes, sure enough, several minutes had been cut from the original US release for "space" requirements.
    In his defense, Bob had no input on this. Were it me? I'd be hopping mad.

    Instead of the publisher, Ambrose, using this opportunity to create a new and valuable product by adding deleted scenes, extended version, and extras, they chose to go on the cheap and cut to fit rather than make a product worth purchasing.

    Bob Cringely is a genius and is thorough in all he does. Had they used this chance to extend what was probably the best compilation of the modern 'net age and add what I'm sure was hours of extra content Bob had to cut, I'd have been the first guy willing to pay retail to buy it. Having purchased 3 copies of the boxed video set (1 lost to a fire, 1 lost to a non-returning friend) there would have been NO hesitation to this. In fact, I'd have watched it straight through on receipt.

    What a HORRIBLE, horrible mistake Ambrose has made.
    FIX IT!!!!

    Don't walk, RUN from this edition. I know it's Old school, but do yourself a favor and buy the video tape version. You'll thank me later.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Still a great show, but the Ambrose edition is not complete!
    Triumph of the Nerds is still one of the best public level documentaries about the origins and development of personal computers from their beginnings in the mid-70's on through the IBM/Apple years and into the mid-90's with the launch of Windows 95. It is dated somewhat, especially at the end with the forecasts about the future growth of the internet and what it would mean to PC and Mac development and the world. Nothing was truer then than remains today, predicting the long-term future of the computer and internet industry is simply impossible.

    What troubles me with this edition by Ambrose is that they have apparently sacrificed bits and pieces here and there for some unfathomable reason. The main points are all still there, but some of the side stories and flavors have been cut. Examples include Steve Wozniak's description of his early interest in electronics in finding an old AT&T phone company manual to learn to hack into the phone system to call the Pope. It cuts Steve Jobs' description of his early experiences with Bill Gates, saying that the original version of Word was "just terrible but they kept at it...", and someone whose name I can't remember describing the early mainframes and trying to use one as "you were lucky if your entire city had one mainframe, and, if your company had it, there would only be one."These are the ones I noticed right off, I'm sure there are others and they are minor things, but it's troubling that a company buys the rights to a show and edits it for whatever reason rather than simply giving us the whole deal.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Collection for PC Enthusiasts
    This DVD contains only 1 disc with 3 episodes and approximately runs total of 165 minutes. No special features nor any extra production notes. The only feature is english subtitles. Period. As close to US$50, this seems abit costy. However, no other documentaries have done a better job than Robert Cringely's "Triumph of the Nerds". Yes, it's expensive but you will not regret to own a copy.
    Robert Cringely's done a terrific job, he played back the entire history and revolution of PC industry to you with a relaxing and entertaining way. You can simply sit and enjoy of this three hours show non-stop without finding it boring. Cringely interviewed lots of key players in the PC industry and let them to tell you what they did and how they influenced and kept in leading position in the PC industry. Steve Job said in his interview: "Good artist copy, great artist steal...." to describe his time in the PC revolution and how he's done great jobs for Apple. If you're one of the PC enthusiasts, this is a MUST-HAVE collectible item. ... Read more

    Asin: 6304170408
    Sales Rank: 1363
    Subjects:  1. Documentary    2. Computers   


    $49.95

    Russia's War - Blood Upon the Snow
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    VHS Tape (08 July, 1997)
    list price: $69.98
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    Reviews (21)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Russia's two wars.
    This very fine PBS broadcast details Stalin's War against the Russian People and the German War against the Soviet Union.It seeks to detail these two wars and how it combined cost the Soviet Union 45 million people.Why does it matter?Because in today's world, the Germans are scorned for what they did to the world, but very little is said about what Stalin did to the peoples of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.That is why it matters and why this film series shows Stalin and his henchman for what they really were.This film is not for the weak of heart, as it shows some very disturbing scenes and talks about some very revolting subjects.I watched in amazement as people gloated over a person being hanged.
    This is a true horror film starring Stalin and Hitler.It shows mans inhumanity to man.This is very much worth watching.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Best!
    I learned so much from this series! You will want to keep it forever so you can watch it periodically. There is so much info here you will have to watch it more than once to catch it all. The creators of this series really tell it like it was.

    5-0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT!Defintely Worth the Money!
    As a teacher of history I can say with a high degree of certainty that this is THE BEST historical documentary I have come across.Here in North America we tend to have the opinion that we saved Europe on D-day; in fact, 80% of the Nazi casualties were inflicted on them by the Red Army.This tape goes some ways in addressing the historical imbalance that we see.

    On the down side, they could have found someone more relevant than (and better than) Henry Kissinger to introduce the video.While he may be America's foreign policy "Guru", he is not a historian. ... Read more

    Asin: 6304547188
    Sales Rank: 19159
    Subjects:  1. War Documentaries   


    The Revolutionary War - The Complete Set
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    VHS Tape (10 February, 1998)
    list price: $49.98
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    4-0 out of 5 stars A must purchase for any student of the American Revolution
    An excellant effort to portay the events and circumstances surrounding this period of American History.This 3 volume set is on par and I believe equivalent to the PBS Series titled Liberty, which I also own.However,this production appears more focused on the military strategies and ensuingbattles. Indeed, most of the historians interviewed for the series containa sound military knowledge.If you want to study the political environmentsurrounding the American Revolution, purchase Liberty, if yourinterest ison the major battles of the war, then purchase The Revolutionary War. ... Read more

    Asin: 6304882009
    Sales Rank: 44044
    Subjects:  1. War Documentaries   


    Brooklyn Dodgers Box Set
    VHS Tape (01 October, 1996)
    list price: $69.99
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    Asin: 6304209495
    Sales Rank: 71747
    Subjects:  1. Baseball   


    American Experience: The Presidents Collection, Vol. 2
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    VHS Tape (10 February, 1998)
    list price: $59.98
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    5-0 out of 5 stars Fabulous in every way
    The American Experience series is one of the stellar viewing experiences on television. When they focus on the Presidents, the show assumes even more gravity. These two volumes focus on Theodore Roosevelt and FDR, two of the greatest Presidents of the 20th century. The T.R. documentary is particularly strong in his younger years and the photography is gorgeous, especially around Sagamore Hill, his Long Island home. David McCullough's narration is, as always, masterful.

    The FDR segment is oustanding. They open with the radio flash of Roosevelt's death and for those of us who were not yet born, it's as if we are magically transported back to April 12, 1945. Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin is a joy throughout, as she weaves her commentary and perspective into the fabric of the narration. For all of us who revere Franklin Roosevelt, this is the quintessential documentary on his life and times. The music is buoyant, poignant and memorable - it mirrors Franklin Roosevelt in every way. The two best American Experience Presidential profiles are undoubtedly this one on FDR and their 1990 look at LBJ, also available on Amazon. ... Read more

    Asin: 0780618750
    Sales Rank: 22576
    Subjects:  1. Documentary   


    The World At War - 9 Volume Gift Set
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    VHS Tape (06 November, 2001)
    list price: $99.92
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    Editorial Review

    Sir Jeremy Isaacs highly deserves the numerous awards for documentaries he has earned: the Royal Television Society's Desmond Davis Award, l'Ordre National du Mérit, an Emmy, and a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II. His epic The World at War remains unsurpassed as the definitive visual history of World War II.

    The Second World War was different from other wars in thousands of ways, one of which was the unparalleled scope of visual documents kept by the Axis and Allies of all their activities. As a result, this war is understood as much through written histories as it is through its powerful images. The Nazis were particularly thorough in documenting even the most abhorrent of the atrocities they were committing--in a surprising amount of color footage. The World at War was one of the first television documentaries that exploited these resources so completely, giving viewers an unbelievable visual guide to the greatest event in the 20th century. This is to say nothing of the excellent, comprehensible narrative. Some highlights:

    • A New Germany 1933-39: early German and Nazi documentation of Hitler's rise to power through the impending attack on Poland
    • Whirlwind: the early British losses in the blitz in the skies over Britain and in North Africa
    • Stalingrad: the turning point of the war and Germany's first defeat
    • Inside the Reich--Germany 1940-44: one of the most fascinating documentaries that exists on life inside Nazi Germany, from Lebensborn to the Hitler Youth
    • Morning: prior to Saving Private Ryan, one of the only unromanticized views of the Normandy invasion
    • Genocide: this film is one of the most widely shown introductions to the Holocaust
    • Japan 1941-45: although The World at War is decidedly focused more on the European theater, this is an important look into wartime Japan and its expansion--early 20th-century history that lead to Japan's role in World War II is superficial
    • The bomb: another widely shown documentary of the Manhattan Project, the Enola Gay, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki

    The World at War will remain the definitive visual history of World War II, analogous to Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. No serious historian should be missing The World at War in a collection, and no student should leave school without having seen at least some of its salient episodes. Rarely is film so essential. --Erik J. Macki ... Read more

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    5-0 out of 5 stars What a remarkable accomplishment
    This series tells the story of World War II primarily from a British perspective, but the story it tells is powerful and compelling.The musical score, the graphics, the interviews and the narration from Sir Lawrence Olivier combine to make this one of the finest documentaries ever made.Looking back with great appreciation to the producers of this documentary getting first hand interviews with such people as Doenitz, Kleist, and other nazis as well as telling the story of civilians who suffered such tremendous losses and went through such incomparable hardships.

    War footage from the Soviet Union and obtaining interviews during the cold war with Russian survivors of the war is a remarkable accomplishment that leaves their account available and accessible for future generations to understand the conflict and how it shaped the modern world.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Anglophobia?
    I purchased this DVD set because I wanted to see a good WWII documentary and this one was so highly rated. It is a good documentary, maybe a great one. But it has a troubling Anglo bias that ends up being a severe character flaw.

    Am I being phobic here, or is America's role in the European war severly under-represented in this film? Examples abound: We become intinmately familiar with British generals Montgomery, Alexander and Horrocks. Montgomery is shown in many situations including a long-ish speech excerpt before a civilian group. Horrocks (British 30 Corps commander) is given lengthy screen time to explain how Eisenhower missed a golden opportunity to end the European war in 1944 by not putting all the Allies' weight behind Monty in the North.

    Meanwhile, only 4 American generals are mentioned in the whole European war part of this series: Eisenhower, who gets the bare minimum of screen time for a supreme commander, Bradley is in one scene for one second, Clark's failure in Italy is covered in copius detail, and Stilwell is shown as head of Allied forces in Burma. Notice any names missing? How the heck do you talk about the European war and not even use the word "Patton"? I dunno, but this film manages to do that. So Patton doesn't even get mentioned, but we are treated to several long interviews with Lord Avon (who the heck is that you may ask--I have no idea--I never heard of him either). Anyway, whoever he was, Lord Avon gets more screen time than all the US generals put together.

    Sour grapes, you say. This guy is an Anglophobe. He is too sensitive and too proud of his American heritage. Well, check me on this: If you were making a documentary about WWII, would you give the predominately British war in Burma the same amount of screen time as the ENTIRE war with Japan? No? Well, that is the "balance" assumed by World at War. The skimpy coverage of the Japanese war does not even mention Guadalcanal and covers only one of the huge Pacific naval actions--the Marianas Turkey Shoot.

    Another whole reel is devoted to the U-boats and the British "Battle of the Atlantic". Never mind that the US submarine war in the Pacific, that sent nearly all Japanese ships, freighters and warships alike, to the bottom, was probably the single most successful application of naval power ever. That brilliant naval victory is not even mentioned.

    The only "Home Front" covered on the Home Front episode is England!

    The reel about the atomic bomb focuses on diplomacy, never even mentions the incredible scientific triumph that was the Manhattan project, and perversely squeezes in the implication that it was Truman's failed diplomacy with Russia that lost Poland to the Soviets! Paul Tibbets is made to seem like a mass murderer, dropping the bomb in the face of overwhelming evidence that Japan wanted to surrender. The footage of Tibbetts is deliberately drawn out to make it appear that he felt casual and matter-of-fact about dropping the first nuclear weapon. The Japanese diplomat Kase is shown saying that the atomic bomb was "unnecessary". Well, he's right about that--the whole doggone Pacific war was unnecessary starting with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria.

    The funny thing about the anglo bias of this film, is that the Russians and their war are well covered. Stalin and his generals get big screen time. This is as it should be, given the overwhelming Russian role in the European war. So why is the USA's role almost deliberately downplayed? At one point, Sir Lawrence narrates to the effect that Churchill wanted one big British victory "before the Americans came to dominate the war effort". I guess my point is that American domination of the western allied war effort did eventually come. But you'd never know it from watching this film.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Important, insightful
    When I was recently recuperating from surgery at home, this series was the first that came to mind as more of a study than a diversion. From the narrative to interviews, it is unforgettable. Mr. Olivier's understated delivery was even at release of this series, imitated (early Dan Akroyd on Saturday Night Live), and such lines as in the "Stalingrad" episode where he quotes Hitler "...we've got it really..." at a very late stage of this battle, are simply definitive. It is clear that a great deal of pain-staking effort went into this series, and is like a favorite movie (though hardly a movie); it can be viewed repeatedly, almost poetic. ... Read more

    Asin: 0783107986
    Subjects:  1. War Documentaries   


    Eyes on the Prize Giftset
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    VHS Tape (24 October, 1995)
    list price: $149.88
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    Editorial Review

    One of the essential documentary series from 20th-century television,Eyes on the Prize is an extraordinary, grassroots history of the civilrights movement in 1950s and '60s America. Leaving punditry and debate toothers, this six-hour program concerns itself with the individuals who were there, who participated on the front lines, who witnessed and survived totell about the crusade's tragedies and victories. Starting with a pair ofmid-'50s heroic actions in the South that helped galvanize black and white activism against institutional racism (actions that included Rosa Parks'srefusal to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama),the series winds its way through the exponential growth of the movement tothe passage of the Voting Rights Act and beyond. The epochal battle between states-rights advocates and federal authorities is well-covered, as are themany sacrifices made and enormous risks taken by Mississippi Freedom Riders and advocates of black voter registration. Also in this boxed set is theseries' sequel, Eyes on the Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads1965-mid 1980s. An equally stirring, eight-hour history of the post-civil-rights years, in which hard-won political power manifested itself both insideand outside elected government offices, this follow-up traces the fracturingof a unified civil rights community into numerous missions and agendas.Driven by interviews and archival footage, the series takes a clear look at such historical chapters as the rise of black separatism, the election ofCarl Stokes to Cleveland's Office of the Mayor, and the turmoil of schooldesegregation. Both the original series and sequel are an absolute must for acontemporary understanding of racism in America. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

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    5-0 out of 5 stars Return of Eyes
    This series is the difinitive piece on the history of the Civil Rights Movement from 1954 to the mid 1980's. Anyone looking to understand the struggle for freedom and democracy in the U.S. must see this series. It should be required viewing as part of the curriculum of high schools, and available in every college, and university library.

    The first series (6 episodes) focuses on the period from 1954-1965 and looks at issues such as desegregation, voting rights, bocotts, sit-ins, and marches. The series was nominated for an Oscar in 1987. The second series (8 episodes) focuses on the period from 1965 to the mid-80s. It is very diferent in tone than the first series as it explores more controversial issues such as power, law enforcement, distribution of wealth, and poverty. Nonetheless, all of these stories are handled well and are intertwinded in compelling and fascinating history telling.

    Currently copyright law has made the series unavailable for distribution (which is why you cannot get the series on DVD). However, there are efforts to re-clear the rights and we may see these incredible programs again in another year or two. Until then hold on to your copies if you have one. Hampton's archive (which has all the materials used in the series) is held at Washington University in St. Louis.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Licensing Rights
    It is tragic that the makers of this documentary are unable to re-release it ( or PBS re-air it for that matter ) because of the exorbitant cost of the licensing rights.The government should put its often-misused power of eminent domain to good use and place this material in the public domain.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Less a review than a plea...
    ...to PBS Home Video to (re-)release this remarkable set on accessible, affordable DVD.This is one of the most intelligent, affecting, & stimulating things I've ever seen on television.I had taped the original programs onto homemade VHS tapes when it was first aired, but, as quality TV has not, technology has advanced and many viewers would snap this series up in a heartbeat on DVD.Rent it from your local library, show it to your children, show it in schools--- and then let's get 'em to make 'em on DVD so we can own 'em!Shout it out loud! ... Read more

    Asin: 6303674992
    Subjects:  1. Documentary   


    The Beatles Anthology Collector's Set
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    VHS Tape (05 September, 1996)
    list price: $129.99
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    Editorial Review

    Initially broadcast as a TV miniseries to go with the series of threeAnthology double-CD albums, this set of eight documentary tapes has theheft and scope of one of KenBurns's expansive projects. Still, unless you are either a historian or atruly committed fan, you'll find yourself with way more material--particularlyabout the Beatles' early lives as lads in Liverpool--than you'll want to watch.The documentary material is copious, including early performance films andtapes, at the point before they found their true voices. The actual Beatlemaniayears--beginning in 1963 and concluding in 1970--feature extensive performancefilms, as well as home movies and archival material. The best parts, of course,are the interviews with the Beatles themselves, who produced the entire thing.Along with reworking two previously unreleased John Lennon tracks as "newBeatles songs," the Anthology includes some unseen Lennon interview tapesso that his acerbic voice can be heard as well. This stands as a comprehensivedocument of that heady period, the second coming of rock & roll, as the Beatlestook what Elvis had started and expanded upon it exponentially. The tapes give asolid sense of the historical context and the way these four musicians changedthe world around them in the 1960s. --Marshall Fine ... Read more

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    Reviews (223)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The official documentary of the legendary Beatles
    Many Beatles fans who own the three double-disc Anthology CD's,and of course the original releases of their albums,own VHS or DVD copies of the official documentary of this rock 'n roll legendary band. Paul McCartney,Ringo Starr and George Harrison tell all their fans about how they made it big in their native Liverpool,the rest of England,America and other countries as well. When they came along,it was Goodbye,Elvis. Too bad John Lennon didn't live to tell stories also. Here is the life histories of all four Beatles. Well,until the band broke up. Many believe that Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and McCartney's first now-deceased wife Linda Eastman broke up the Beatles. George and Ringo were married men themselves at the time of the break-up. This is definitely a revision and update of the 1964 Capitol Records album THE BEATLES STORY. Ringo became the Beatles drummer after Pete Best was fired. Previously,Ringo was the drummer for Rory Storme and the Hurricanes. John,Paul and George performed together under several different names such as John & The Moondogs and Silver Beatles and then The Beatles. John told a story about how he and Paul met in the 1988 Warner Bros. documentary IMAGINE-THE DEFINITIVE PORTRAIT OF JOHN LENNON. The Beatles became teen idols just like their American Capitol Records labelmates The Beach Boys. Their fame and fortunes led to a short film career,making the films A HARD DAY'S NIGHT,HELP! and MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR. Controversy arose in 1966,when Lennon told an audience that the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus Christ". This outraged many fans,inspiring a bonfire in Alabama. Fans placed their Beatles memorabilia into the bonfire and saying things like "The Beatles are dull and ordinary.". Lennon later apologized for the outrageous comment. Lennon meant no harm in saying that. So the Beatles quit touring and spent all their business time in the studio,experimenting with new sounds. Harrison,joined forces with an Indian man named Ravi Shankar and studied the sitar. He developed an interest in Indian music and culture. Hey,he took an Indian woman to be his second wife. His first wife,Patti Boyd dumped him for his best friend Eric Clapton. Lennon married his college sweetheart Cynthia Powell and had a son,Julian now aged 42 and a rock star himself. In '68,John and Cynthia divorced and John romantically hooked up with Tokyo-born Yoko Ono(John and Yoko first met in '66 when Yoko was married to her second American husband). In '69,John and Yoko married several days after Paul and Linda Eastman tied the knot. Ringo married now-deceased Maureen Cox in '65. They were divorced long before Ringo married actress Barbara Bach in 1981. Ringo is an actor also,appearing in a few films over the years. The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein died of a drug overdose in 1967 and the band were negotiating on who will replace him. Paul McCartney suggested his father-in-law manage the group and the other three Beatles suggested Allen Klein. George Martin continued to produce the band's music through 1970 when the band broke up. Since the break-up all four Beatles have had successful solo careers. Paul formed Wings with Linda and some new people. John,who was murdered in 1980 at age 40 in New York City where he last lived,has formed a short-lived Plastic Ono Band,with Yoko of course. George co-founded the Traveling Wilburys with Jeff Lynne,Bob Dylan,Tom Petty and the late Roy Orbison. Ringo formed his All-Starr Band with various musicians joining and leaving. Harrison succumbed to lung cancer in 2001 at age 58. I dedicate this item to the memories of Lennon and Harrison. Lynne,formerly the frontman for the Electric Light Orchestra,produced the two most recent Beatles' songs,FREE AS A BIRD and REAL LOVE. Those songs were both 75% original,with Lennon's previously recorded vocal,circa 1977. Also,many Beatles fans own the literary "coffee table" counterpart,authored by all four Beatles.

    5-0 out of 5 stars PAUL REALLY IS A MUSICAL GENIUS
    I just watched the Anthology again, and I realize even more the vast extent of Paul's talent. I know, I know John Lennon was great, they all were.John was always my favorite, and still is for some emotional reason which I still don't understand!BUT there is no doubt that Paul McCartney just freaking oozes musical talent, he was the most musically talented Beatle.The guy could sing great, write great music, great lyrics, plays bass better than anyone, plays great piano, also could play lead guitar (listen to him play "Blackbird" in the Anthology), excellent drums ("Ballad of John and Yoko"), and who knows what-all else.All you people who think it's cool to put Paul down, you just don't know what you're talking about.Plus, he's a great performer who loves to perform and loves his audience, a great family man, a loyal husband, always a positive outlook, PLUS not to mention he was about the best-looking guy in the world!I love and admire Paul more and more as time goes on.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Perspective
    I can't review this from the perspective of someone who lived through the Beatles era. I'm just too young. However, I think it is that perspective which will give everyone a better understanding of the significance and intrigue of "Anthology".
    As a person in their late teens, I started to really appreciate the Beatles a couple of years ago. Starting of with "1" and "Sgt. Pepper's" I became very interested in not only the Beatles' music but also their history. There is only so much that you can learn from classic rock radio stations. Later I would buy "Magical Mystery Tour" "Please Please Me" "With The Beatles" and "Lennon Legend". However, I felt I needed a much better understanding of the group. After all, the booklets in the CD cases don't contain any info at all save "Sgt. Pepper's".
    And so, I decided to buy this DVD set. I can't even convey the amount of knowledge and appreciation for the Beatles that I took away from this collection. In watching the documentary I learned more about the Beatles than my parents, who had lived through that era, even knew. Now I'm not saying that a Beatles fan since the beginning would learn a lot of new stuff from this documentary. And I'm not saying that they wouldn't. I just don't know. I do know, however, that this documentary got me so enthused about the Beatles that I eventually collected all of their available albums, compilations, "Anthology" albums and even some of their solo albums.
    The documentary itself was put together so brilliantly that it had a great deal of clips from live performances, promotional videos (such as "Revolution" "Hey Jude" "Paperback Writer" "Penny Lane" "Hello Goodbye"). The documentary combined those clips with fantastic interviews with Paul, George and Ringo, some great sound bytes from John and a significant amount of music. How many people under 20 could say that some of their favorite Beatles songs include "For No One" and "Golden Slumbers"? This documentary triggered a great response from me, personally, and inspired me to take a much greater appreciation of the wonderful music produced by the Beatles in just 7 years.
    I'd recommend this set to anyone, if only for the music. I'd say that some of the bonus features are lacking, maybe because after watching the eighth and final episode you want more. They aren't too bad though. There are 8 episodes that make up the documentary, unlike the shorter version seen in America on ABC in 1995. These episodes are taken from the longer version, aired on the BBC a couple of weeks later.
    The highest praise I could possibly give to this collection is this: After watching it, you will learn a great deal about the band and thirst for more music and information about the Beatles. ... Read more

    Asin: 630416923X
    Subjects:  1. Documentary   


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