A comprehensive survey of the American Civil War.
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1  
1990  
Top Rated TV #15 | Won 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 8 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 President Abraham Lincoln (9 episodes, 1990)
...
 Mary Chestnut (9 episodes, 1990)
...
 Ulysses S. Grant (9 episodes, 1990)
...
 Frederick Douglass / ... (9 episodes, 1990)
Paul Roebling ...
 Joshua L. Chamberlain / ... (9 episodes, 1990)
...
 Walt Whitman / ... (9 episodes, 1990)
George Black ...
 Robert E. Lee (9 episodes, 1990)
David McCullough ...
 Himself - Narrator (9 episodes, 1990)
...
 William Tecumseh Sherman / ... (9 episodes, 1990)
...
 Pvt. Elijah Hunt Rhodes (9 episodes, 1990)
Charles McDowell ...
 Pvt. Sam Watkins (9 episodes, 1990)
Horton Foote ...
 Jefferson Davis (9 episodes, 1990)
...
 George Templeton Strong / ... (9 episodes, 1990)
...
 Horace Greeley / ... (9 episodes, 1990)
Terry Courier ...
 George McClellan (9 episodes, 1990)
Jody Powell ...
 Stonewall Jackson / ... (9 episodes, 1990)
...
 Benjamin F. Butler (9 episodes, 1990)
...
 Various (9 episodes, 1990)
...
 Various (9 episodes, 1990)
...
 Various (9 episodes, 1990)
...
 Various (9 episodes, 1990)
...
 Various (9 episodes, 1990)
...
 Various / ... (9 episodes, 1990)
Betsy Apple ...
 Various (9 episodes, 1990)
Carol Craven ...
 Various (9 episodes, 1990)
Marissa Copeland ...
 Various (9 episodes, 1990)
Halo Wines ...
 Various (9 episodes, 1990)
David Marks ...
 Various (9 episodes, 1990)
...
 Various (9 episodes, 1990)
Ronnie Gilbert ...
 Various (9 episodes, 1990)
...
 Various (9 episodes, 1990)
...
 Various (9 episodes, 1990)
John Hartford ...
 Various (9 episodes, 1990)
Walt MacPherson ...
 Various (9 episodes, 1990)
...
 Various (9 episodes, 1990)
...
 Various / ... (9 episodes, 1990)
Bradford Washburn ...
 Various (9 episodes, 1990)
Jesse Carr ...
 Various (9 episodes, 1990)
Wendy Tilghman ...
 Various (9 episodes, 1990)
Joe Mattys ...
 Various (9 episodes, 1990)
...
 Himself - Writer / ... (8 episodes, 1990)
Ed Bearss ...
 Himself - Historian (6 episodes, 1990)
Barbara Fields ...
 Herself - Historian (5 episodes, 1990)
James Symington ...
 Himself - Former Congressman (4 episodes, 1990)
Stephen B. Oates ...
 Himself - Historian / ... (4 episodes, 1990)
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Storyline

This highly acclaimed mini series traces the course of the U.S. Civil War from the abolitionist movement through all the major battles to the death of President Lincoln and the beginnings of Reconstruction. The story is mostly told in the words of the participants themselves, through their diaries, letters, and Visuals are usually still photographs and illustrations of the time, and the soundtrack is likewise made up of war-era tunes played on period instruments. Several modern-day historians offer periodic comment and insight on the war's causes and events. Written by Eric Sorensen <Eric_Sorensen@fc.mcps.k12.md.us>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It divided a country. It created a nation.


Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 September 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Az amerikai polgárháború története  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shelby Foote became a celebrity after the success of this series. Foote's phone number was listed in his local phone book, and he received frequent calls from fans. He never removed his number from the phone book, and received calls whenever the series aired for the rest of his life. See more »

Goofs

Contrary to this documentary (and many historians) Winfield Scott never recommended Robet E. Lee for anything more than a "significant command" nor did Lincoln offer Lee command of the Union Army.

An advisor to the President, Francis P. Blair, DID offer Lee command of the Defenses of Washington, via letter, but there are NO records that Lee. An Lincoln ever met in person. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: The trickle of runaways coming into Northern lines now swelled to a flood. One ex-slave who had recently bought his freedom told a Union soldier "if I had known you gun men was a-coming, I'd have saved my money."
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Majestic (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Marching Through Georgia
Written by Henry Clay Work
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A groundbreaking film, for our defining moment
28 September 2002 | by (MA) – See all my reviews

When The Civil War first aired in 1990, it became a phenomenon. I

was a little kid, but I remember "Ashokan Farewell" and the

intriguing black and white images and voiceovers from the screen,

and people talking about it all over the place. To be sure, the

intimacy of the film eventually made me a Civil War buff, as it has

for tens of thousands across the country.

The fact is, Ken Burns created a monumental piece of television

that chronicled, if not in a general fashion, by far the most defining

moment in our history and an incredibly groundbreaking way.

The film is simple, yet is so profound in it's simplicity and style,

using just pictures and accounts and music and some bursts of

color from modern cinematography. For the first time, we heard the

accounts of real soldiers and people, and instead of taking sides,

it gave a sense of humanity to both sides in a war that is riddled

with political and social posturing, but was ultimately all slaughter.


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