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Ken Burns

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Ken Burns: The Central Park Five
PBS
THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE, from award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, tells the story of the five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were wrongly convicted of raping a white woman in New York City's Central Park in 1989. This Peabody…
Ken Burns: Thomas Jefferson
PBS
Thomas Jefferson is a two-part portrait of one of the most fascinating and complicated figures ever to walk across America's public stage - our enigmatic and brilliant third president. Thomas Jefferson embodies within his own life the most profound contradictions…
2 videos
The Scripture of Nature
Part of the Series: Ken Burns: The National Parks
PBS
In 1851, word spreads across the country of a beautiful area of California's Yosemite Valley, attracting visitors who wish to exploit the land's scenery for commercial gain and those who wish to keep it pristine. Among the latter is a…
Gumbo
PBS
Jazz is born in the unique musical and social cauldron of New Orleans at the turn of the 20th century, emerging from such genres as ragtime, marching bands, work songs, spirituals, European classical music, funeral parade music and the blues.
Ken Burns: The Brooklyn Bridge
PBS
The "Great East River Bridge" was the largest bridge of its era, a technical achievement of unparalleled scope, marked by enormous construction problems, equally ingenious solutions and heroic human achievement. In unexpected and wonderful ways, the Brooklyn Bridge captured the…
Déjà Vu (1858-1961)
Episode 1 of The Vietnam War
PBS
Vietnamese revolutionaries led by Ho Chi Minh end nearly a century of French colonial occupation. Vietnam is divided in two. Communists in the North aim to reunify the country, while America supports Diem's untested regime in the South.
The Last Refuge
Part of the Series: Ken Burns: The National Parks
PBS
By the end of the 19th century, widespread industrialization has left many Americans worried about whether the country - once a vast wilderness - will have any pristine land left. At the same time, poachers in the parks are rampant,…
The Cause - 1861
Part of the Series: Ken Burns: The Civil War
PBS
Beginning with a searing indictment of slavery, this first episode dramatically evokes the causes of the war, from the Cotton Kingdom of the South to the northern abolitionists who opposed it. Here are the burning questions of Union and States'…
A Necessary War
Part of the Series: Ken Burns: The War
PBS
After a haunting overview of the Second World War, an epoch of killing that engulfed the world from 1939 to 1945 and cost at least 50 million lives, the inhabitants of four towns -- Mobile, Alabama; Sacramento, California; Waterbury, Connecticut;…
A Nation of Drunkards
Part of the Series: Ken Burns: Prohibition
PBS
Americans have argued over alcohol for centuries. Since the early years of the American Republic, drinking has been at least as American as apple pie. As Episode 1: A Nation of Drunkards begins, clergymen, craftsmen and canal-diggers drink. So do…
Ken Burns: Empire of the Air - The Men Who Made Radio
PBS
For 50 years radio dominated the airwaves and the American consciousness as the first "mass medium." In Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio, Ken Burns examines the lives of three extraordinary men who shared the primary responsibility…
Pride of Our Nation
Part of the Series: Ken Burns: The War
PBS
By June 1944, there are signs on both sides of the world that the tide of the war is turning. On June 6, 1944 -- D-Day -- in the European Theater, a million and a half Allied troops embark on…
The Gift
PBS
During the tumultuous era known as the "Jazz Age," the rhythms and spirit of jazz music mirror the world that emerged in the wake of World War I. The program introduces two extraordinary individuals: Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong.
The Great Plow Up & Dust to Eat
Part of the Series: Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl
PBS
THE DUST BOWL chronicles this critical moment in American history in all its complexities and profound human drama. It is part oral history, using compelling interviews of 26 survivors of those hard times--what will probably be the last recorded testimony…
Ken Burns: Mark Twain - Part 1
PBS
In his time, Mark Twain was considered the funniest man on earth. Yet he was also an unflinching critic of human nature, using his humor to attack hypocrisy, greed and racism. In this series, Ken Burns has created an illuminating…
Magic Bullets
Part of the Series: Cancer
PBS
The search for a "cure" for cancer is the greatest epic in the history of science. It spans centuries and continents and is full of its share of heroes, villains, and sudden vertiginous twists. This episode follows that centuries-long search,…
Frank Lloyd Wright: Part I
Part of the Series: Ken Burns' American Lives
PBS
Frank Lloyd Wright tells the story of the greatest of all American architects. Wright was an authentic American genius, a man who believed he was destined to redesign the world, creating everything anew. Over the course of his long career,…
Riding the Tiger (1961-1963)
Episode 2 of The Vietnam War
PBS
Kennedy inspires idealistic Americans to serve their country and wrestles with how deeply to get involved in South Vietnam. As the autocratic Diem regime faces a communist insurgency and Buddhist protests, a political crisis unfolds.
Ken Burns: The Shakers - Hands to Work, Hearts to God
PBS
They called themselves the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, but because of their ecstatic dancing, the world called them Shakers. Though they were celibate, they are the most enduring religious experiment in American history. They believed in…
Our Language
PBS
Louis Armstrong arrives in New York from Chicago where, during a brief stay with the Fletcher Henderson band, he amazes his fellow musicians and teaches the city to swing. Follow musicians Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Bix Beiderbecke, Benny Goodman, Artie…