The Civil War: A Film by Ken Burns

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Overview

One of the most critically acclaimed productions in the history of television, filmmaker Ken Burns' epic documentary miniseries The Civil War comes to DVD in a five-disc collection from PBS. All nine parts have been digitally remastered and feature Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Along with the feature presentation, the set also includes a number of bonuses, such as audio commentary by Burns, additional interviews, and the featurettes "Behind the Scenes: The Civil War Reconstruction," "Ken Burns: Making ...
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Overview

One of the most critically acclaimed productions in the history of television, filmmaker Ken Burns' epic documentary miniseries The Civil War comes to DVD in a five-disc collection from PBS. All nine parts have been digitally remastered and feature Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Along with the feature presentation, the set also includes a number of bonuses, such as audio commentary by Burns, additional interviews, and the featurettes "Behind the Scenes: The Civil War Reconstruction," "Ken Burns: Making History," and "A Conversation With Ken Burns."
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Behind the scenes: the civil war reconstruction; Commentary by Ken Burns; Additional interviews with Ken Burns, Shelby Foote, George Will and Stanley Crouch; Biography Cards; Battlefield Maps; Civil war challenge; Ken Burns: making history; A conversation with Ken Burns
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/28/2004
  • UPC: 841887051248
  • Rating:

  • Source: Pbs Paramount
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Presentation: Full Frame
  • Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Language: English
  • Time: 11:00:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Garrison Keillor Voice Only
Technical Credits
Ken Burns Director
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Civil War
1. Prologue [12:32]
2. All Night Forever [6:41]
3. Are We Free? [4:29]
4. A House Divided [4:09]
5. The Meteor [4:59]
6. Secessionitis [9:48]
7. 4:30 a.m. April 12, 1861 [4:38]
8. Traitors and Patriots [4:59]
9. Gun Men [4:45]
10. Manassas [7:19]
11. A Thousand Mile Front [8:03]
12. Honorable Manhood [11:49]
13. Credits [7:09]
Disc #2 -- Civil War
1. Prologue [8:54]
2. Politics [5:11]
3. Ironclads [4:58]
4. Licolnites [3:37]
5. The Peninsula [4:57]
6. Our Boy [4:20]
7. Shiloh [12:01]
8. The Arts of Death [3:04]
9. Republics [7:02]
10. On to Richmond [3:20]
11. Credits [6:17]
1. Prologue [5:35]
2. Stonewall [5:24]
3. The Beast [3:03]
4. The Seven Days [2:48]
5. Kiss Daniel For Me [7:33]
6. Saving the Union [3:18]
7. Antietam [4:34]
8. The Higher Object [12:30]
9. Credits [17:32]
Disc #3 -- Civil War
1. Prologue [8:19]
2. Northern Lights [13:19]
3. Oh! Be Joyful [9:53]
4. The Kingdom of Jones [:23]
5. Under the Shade of Trees [9:44]
6. A Dust-Covered Man [:42]
7. Credits [9:10]
1. Prologue [4:25]
2. Gettysburg: The First Day [6:30]
3. Gettysburg: The Second Dad [5:33]
4. Gettysburg: The Third Day [9:39]
5. She Ranks Me [6:16]
6. Vicksburg [2:13]
7. Bottom Rail on Top [17:17]
8. The River of Death [4:15]
9. A New Birth of Freedom [3:52]
10. Credits [13:31]
Disc #4 -- Civil War
1. Prologue [8:19]
2. Grant [13:19]
3. Lee [9:53]
4. In the Wilderness [:23]
5. Move by the Left Flank [9:44]
6. Now, Fix-Me [:42]
7. The Remedy [9:10]
1. Prologue [4:25]
2. A Warm Place in the Field [6:30]
3. Nathan Bedford Forrest [5:33]
4. Summer, 1864 [9:39]
5. Spies [6:16]
6. The Crater [2:13]
7. Headquarters, U.S.A. [17:17]
8. The Promised Land [4:15]
9. The Age of Shoddy [3:52]
10. Can Those Be Men? [13:31]
Disc #5 -- Civil War
1. Prologue [8:19]
2. Sherman's March [13:19]
3. The Breath of Emancipation [9:53]
4. Died of a Theory [:23]
5. Washington, March 4, 1865 [9:44]
6. I Want to See Richmond [:42]
7. Appomattox [9:10]
1. Prologue [4:25]
2. Assassination [6:30]
3. Useless, Useless [5:33]
4. The Picklocks of Biographers [9:39]
5. Was it Not Real? [6:16]
6. Credits [2:13]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Civil War
   The Cause
   Scene Selections
   Special Features
      Behind the Scenes: The Civil War Reconstruction
      Interviews
         Ken Burns
         Shelby Foote
         George Will
         Stanley Crouch
         Jay Ungar & Molly Mason
      Ken Burns: Making History
      A Conversation With Ken Burns
   PBS Online
Disc #2 -- Civil War
   A Very Bloody Affair
   Forever Free
   Scene Selections
      Episode Two: A Very Bloody Affair
      Episode Three: Forever Free
   Special Features
      Commentary
      Battlefield Maps
      Civil War Challenge - 1862
      Audio Setup
         Turn 5.1 Surround Sound: On
         Turn 5.1 Surround Sound: Off
   PBS Online
Disc #3 -- Civil War
   Simply Murder
   The Universe of Battle
   Scene Selections
      Episode Four: Simply Murder
      Episode Five: The Universe of Battle
   Special Features
      Commentary
      Battlefield Maps
      Civil War Challenge - 1863
      Audio Setup
         Turn 5.1 Surround Sound: On
         Turn 5.1 Surround Sound: Off
   PBS Online
Disc #4 -- Civil War
   The Valley of the Shadow of Death
   Most Hallowed Ground
   Scene Selections
      Episode Six: The Valley of the Shadow of Death
         Credits
      Episode Seven: Most Hallowed Ground
         The People's Resolution
         Most Hallowed Ground
         Credits
   Special Features
      Commentary
      Battlefield Maps
      Civil War Challenge - 1864
      Audio Setup
         Turn 5.1 Surround Sound: On
         Turn 5.1 Surround Sound: Off
   PBS Online
Disc #5 -- Civil War
   War is All Hell
   The Better Angels of Our Nature
   Scene Selections
      Episode Eight: War is All Hell
         Credits
      Episode Nine: The Better Angels of Our Nation
   Special Features
      Commentary
      Battlefield Maps
      Civil War Challenge - 1865
      Audio Setup
         Turn 5.1 Surround Sound: On
         Turn 5.1 Surround Sound: Off
   PBS Online
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 50 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(36)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 50 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Great Historical Perspective!

    As research material I found it especially useful, and I would highly recommend it as a learning tool for young students and adults. It's also just good movie-making, and it keeps you wanting to watch more!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Well worth the time

    The film from start to finish tells the whole story of the war from both sides, warts and all.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Wonderful Use of Period Pictures to Tell This Story

    Ken Burns has a gift for telling stories through period pictures and music. You will not find great detail in the battle plans that a book might use help you to understand why each was won or lost, but there are wonderful pictures of this time blended with stirring music to help express the emotion of this period in time. It also will not provide many reasons for why these men decided to fight; particularlly those in the south. However, it is a great collection well worth watching over and over again.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Phenomenal and vivid view of the Civil War

    Wonderful storytelling, directly from personal accounts of a wide variety of fascinating characters of the era. A great addition to anyone's video library.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2013

    This film has to be considered as one of the best films ever mad

    This film has to be considered as one of the best films ever made telling the story of the Civil War" Burns relates a compelling history of the war by the use of personal accounts, exceptionally good pictures and music as he spins the history of the Civil War. It is the most referred to film by Civil War magazines, special issues released by papers and magazines and some books and historians.It is compelling, emotional and educational. It is not a film you can watch once. There is some detail to battles yet mostly people are focused on and how it affected them. Few realize the long term affect to the town of Gettysburg which was substantial Burns joins the club of silence as he stays on focus of the battle..It was there that the South lost the war. It is a film that has something for everyone. A very close second and at times I wonder if it is second is a series called the "Forgotten Battles" and generals of the Civil war. This deals far more on the battles.If you want the why's and wherefore's this is not for you. If you want a exceptional picture of the Civil War" this is a must have.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 28, 2012

    I rate it a 10 on a scale of 1to10

    I rate it a 10 on a scale of 1to10

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Timeless, Valuable History Lesson (Part Two)

    The series gets a lot of input from historian Shelby Foote, a Southern who has many interesting anecdotes. He remembers talking to the family of General Nathan Bedford Forrest (who later joined and left the Ku Klux Klan) and telling them The Civil War produced two great men: Forrest and Abraham Lincoln. Forrest's relatives coolly told Foote "we don't talk much about Mr. Lincoln in this house". Of course, Burns does devote much time to the key battles of the war, including spending an entire episode on the battle of Gettysburgh, Pennsylvania. We learn, among other things, that The Civil War was where the term "shell shock" was invented; these days, it's called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It was also the battle where submarines were first used, as in the story of The Monitor and The Merrimac. The most disturbing stories of the war come from POW camps, particularly from the brutal Andersonville, Georgia camp where Union prisoners weren't allowed to have tents, so they lived in holes in the ground. After the war ended, the commander of Andersonville was found guilty of war crimes and sentenced to death. As he was about to be hanged, he claimed he was just following orders. This---along with the horrific pictures of these prisoners---is eerily reminsicent of the Holocaust during World War II. The war brings about the best in some people and the worst in others. The best, as in President Lincoln's ability to keep the country united towards victory, until his 1865 assassination. The worst, as in the fact that Lincoln's killer, John Wilkes Booth, spent more time as an actor during the war than a soldier. Worse still, one of the people hanged for the Lincoln conspiracy was Mary Surrat, the mother of Booth's conspiracy partner, whose only mistake was unknowingly sheltering Booth and his comrades. "The Civil War" is one of those programs that sticks in your mind and your conscience long after its over, not just for its horrific images (and they are a lot of those) but also its truly moving ones. For me, the most moving was a picture of a young black slave with torn clothes and dirty hair. The next picture shows him dressed as a Union soldier playing a drum. It was as if he was completely transformed. The war itself transformed the country, for better and worse. Better because we became a truly free society. Worse because, sadly, misconceptions and hatreds from that time still exist.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Priceless, Timeless History Lesson

    Where do you begin with this series? It is still regarded as one of the greatest television shows ever made, certainly the greatest PBS show ever made. As a history lesson, it is invaluable. It even works on an entertaining level because it brings America's most threatening crisis to a personal view that everyone can comprehend. Ken Burns' "The Civil War" works on both levels. But even as a technical achievement, it is magnificent. Using still photographs from that period, with traditional roots music and actors as figures from that time, "The Civil War" allows us to use our imaginations and to realize how close this country came from becoming two seperate nations. And yes, it makes clear to all of us that slavery was the Number One issue of that war. Narrated by historian David McCulloch, the 11-hour series starts with the years before the war, how the issue slavery in the 1850's was pitting states against each other. It was an issue that many politicans, including President James Buchanan, refused to deal with. By 1860, the election of President Abraham Lincoln, known for his anti-slavery sympathies, sent shock waves through the South that their way of life was now threatened. Then came the firing at Fort Sumter, which according to the series resulted in no deaths. That's another thing about "The Civil War": it reveals facts that most of us probably never knew. Among the other facts the show reveals are that most of the 500,000 people who died during the war died from sickness or disease rather than battle wounds. It also shows how women played a major role in helping and supporting their men, including Mary Chestnutt and Red Cross nurse Clara Barton. As the series progresses, it becomes clear that the North probably could've won the war earlier and easier, since they had the manpower. Problem was, they didn't have the military leaders with the will to actually carry it out. The Union Army went through about ten different commanders before settling on Ulysses S. Grant, a failed businessman, whose persistance made Northern victories possible. The series also spends a lot of time on Robert E. Lee, the leader of the Confederate Army. It mentions, among other things, that he hated slavery but he fought for the South because Virginia was his home and he wanted to defend it. For the first two years of the war, Lee demonstrated that the former Top Ten West Point cadet was one of the shrewdest, keenest and most respected military leaders America ever produced. When the war finally ended, Lee's mansion in Arlington, Virginia became The Arlington National Cemetary, America's most sacred ground, so that Lee and the Confederacy would never use it. "The Civil War" features many prominent actors as the voices of figures like Abe Lincoln (Sam Waterston), Ulysses S. Grant (Jason Robards), Mary Chestnutt (Julie Harris) and so on. However, the voice that seems so prominent in this series is Garrison Keillor, the host of "A Prairie Home Companion"; his Midwestern drawl makes him perfect doing a myriad of voices, mostly of Union soldiers. But Keillor's narration of Walt Whitman, whose experience of working in the hospital tending to the wounded soldiers, are the most memorable and heartbreaking. To Be Continued....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2011

    One of the finest historical films ever produced

    Ken Burns recently updated this classic, and I was fortunate enough to be able to watch it again. It is one of my finest works of cinematography devoted to a documentary. It is comprehensive, and keeps ones interest, (especially if you happen to love history as much as I do). There is no one film that could cover the entire scope and span of the Civil War, but this one comes closest to the possibility. It relies on still photography, documents and commentary from one of our most imminent Civil War historians, Shelby Foote. It is, simply put, a masterpiece. This is Ken Burns' best work, and that is saying quite a lot. It gives you a much deeper understanding of the events of this war, and a greater appreciation of what all of the people endured that were involved, from slave to soldier, from commander to President, no one was left unaltered. It is not only the facts that make the difference, it is how they are presented. And no one does a better job of that than Ken Burns.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Terrific

    I can watch this over and over and over again

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Civil War: A Film by Ken Burns

    I bought this as a gift for my husband and he has enjoyed the DVDs.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    The Civil War and its effects on Americans

    This is the best DVD series Depicting what it was like to live through thr Civil War and on the way Americans view this conflict through the fog of time and legend.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Great as Expected!

    Ken Burns is a wonderful storyteller. He employs numerous people to assist in the story telling and it keeps you very interested. This is a great set for those interested in the Civil War, or anyone doing research. It provides interesting and unusual points of view of the war.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Pure American History

    This production was the most "pure American history" I've ever viewed. It brings the Civil War period of our history "back" to a reality. The progression of the true story of the War, along with the depth of the research and inclusion of the "story tellers", well presents the story of the American Civil War.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Still the best of Ken Burns' work!

    At almost 20 years old, this is still an amazing accomplishment. If you have any interest in our country's history, get this documentary!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Doesn't get any better.

    This is the best documentary ever made about anything. It's a must for history lovers. It's all you'll need to study the Civil War. I watch it every year.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The finest Civil War Documentary ever made

    All I have to say is that this fine work should be mandatory viewing for all Americans, it will change your life and the way you think about America.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    One of My Favorites

    Having worn out my VHS copies, I thought it was time to move on to the DVD version. Treated myself for Christmas to this set. Pictures are crystal clear, sound is fine, enjoying the program all over again.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    From the other side of the pond

    They don't teach UK kids about the American Civil War but after seeing this wonderful piece of Television history as a 6th former (17-18yo), I have spent many years visiting the US whenever I can, travelling around civil war battlefields and places of historical importance and seeing the sites that I saw on film. I recall the first time I stood at Gettysburg and looked out across the fields and then shed a quiet tear as I contemplated the bravery and belief that led men to walk to their almost certain deaths to make a stand at what both sides felt was right. Well done Ken on this achievement and goodbye to Mr. Foote who made me smile every time he spoke with his gentle demeanour and rye smile. God Bless you all

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The reason I love History

    This series is the reason I love history and THE reason studying the American Civil War became my hobby. Ken Burns created a masterpiece when he made this film. It's also his fault that I spent all my birthday money on one thing the year this originally came out on DVD "haha!". Burns has gone on to make many more outstanding documentaries, but this The Civil War is his crowning achievement. Everyone should watch this film as a resource to show what this country has gone through.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 50 Customer Reviews