Ken Burns: The Civil War – Commemorative Edition

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Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
Sam Waterston as President Abraham Lincoln
Jason Robards as Ulysses S. Grant
Morgan Freeman as Frederick Douglass
Garrison Keillor as Walt Whitman
Arthur Miller as William Tecumseh Sherman
George Plimpton as George Templeton Strong
Horton Foote as Jefferson Davis
George Black as Robert E. Lee
Philip Bosco as Horace Greeley
Derek Jacobi as Various
Jeremy Irons as Various
David McCullough as Narrator
Charles McDowell as Sam Watkins
Christopher Murney as Elijah Hunt Rhodes

Special Features:
From The Archive: Shelby Foote Interviews
Interview with Ken Burns
Commentary by Ken Burns
Additional Interviews with Shelby Foote, George Will, Jay Ungar, Molly Mason and Stanley Crouch
Biography Cards
Battlefield Maps
Civil War Challenge

Other Info:
Fullscreen (1.33:1)
5.1 Surround Sound
Running Time: 11 Hours

Synopsis:
The following is from the official description of the film:

“Ken Burns’ Emmy Award-winning documentary brings to life America’s most destructive – and defining – conflict. The Civil War is the saga of celebrated generals and ordinary soldiers, a heroic and transcendent president and a country that had to divide itself in two in order to become one. The 150th Anniversary Six Disc DVD set includes never-before-seen special features including new interview with Ken Burns, Shelby Foote interview outtakes, and a bonus 16-page collector’s booklet featuring a selection of photos and battle details.”

“The Civil War – A Film By Ken Burns” is not rated.

Mini-Review:
Ken Burn’s landmark mini-series on the Civil War is released again on DVD. It has had several releases in the past, but this time they placed a sticker on the box saying “Commemorative Edition: 150th Anniversary.” Burns tells the story of the Civil War through vintage photographs, paintings, and letters from actual Civil War participants. Those letters are read by various familiar faces listed above. Burns did this documentary for PBS back in 1990 and he was able to even interview the granddaughter of a slave who fought in the Civil War (she was 104 at the time of the interviews). She gave a direct account of what her grandfather told her about his experiences. Burns also has a keen eye for detail and no aspect of the Civil War is not explored. They cover the thoughts of everyone from the President down to the efforts of people to maintain cleanliness in the camps. Burns has accounts from people who lost limbs in battle and civilians who took care of the wounded in their homes.

If you’re wanting to learn about the Civil War but you don’t want to read a dry history text, this is a documentary you’ll want to check out. It is a thorough, interesting look at one of the bloodiest conflicts in US history.

A few bonus features are included. You’ll find extended interviews, commentary and interviews with Ken Burns, and maps of some of the key battles.

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