The BEST episodes directed by Ken Burns

Bottom of the Tenth
star
9.51
69 votes

#1 - Bottom of the Tenth

Baseball - Season 2 - Episode 2

Ken Burns' follow-up to "Baseball" concludes with a look at dominating pitchers like Pedro Martinez, Japan's first MLB star, Ichiro Suzuki; the comfort provided by the game after the 9/11 attacks; revelations about performance-enhancing drugs; the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry; and Boston's World Series victory.

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Sixth Inning: The National Pastime
star
9.44
79 votes

#2 - Sixth Inning: The National Pastime

Baseball - Season 1 - Episode 6

Sixth Inning, The National Pastime, covers the 1940s and includes Joe DiMaggio's celebrated hitting streak, the awe-inspiring performance of Ted Williams and what Burns calls "baseball's finest moment" — the debut of Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.

A Strong and Active Faith (1944-1962)
star
9.44
52 votes

#3 - A Strong and Active Faith (1944-1962)

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History - Season 1 - Episode 7

Frail and failing but determined to see the war through to victory, FDR wins re-election and begins planning for a peaceful postwar world, but a cerebral hemorrhage kills him at 63. After her husband’s death, Eleanor Roosevelt proves herself a shrewd politician and a skilled negotiator in her own right, as well as a champion of civil rights, civil liberties and the United Nations.

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The Rising Road (1933-1939)
star
9.36
53 votes

#4 - The Rising Road (1933-1939)

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History - Season 1 - Episode 5

FDR brings the same optimism and energy to the White House that his cousin Theodore displayed. Aimed at ending the Depression, his sweeping New Deal restores the people’s self-confidence and transforms the relationship between them and their government. Eleanor rejects the traditional role of first lady, becomes her husband’s liberal conscience and a sometimes controversial political force.

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Ninth Inning: Home
star
9.34
76 votes

#5 - Ninth Inning: Home

Baseball - Season 1 - Episode 9

Ninth Inning, Home, looks at baseball from the 1970s to the present, including the establishment of the free agent system, the rise in player salaries, the continued expansion, the dilution of talent, the ongoing battles between labor and management and the scandals. The documentary ends with an ironic claim that baseball, and indirectly the World Series, could never be stopped. The 1994 World Series, the series to be played the year the film was aired, was canceled due to a players' strike.

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The Gift: 1917-1924
star
9.27
51 votes

#6 - The Gift: 1917-1924

Jazz - Season 1 - Episode 2

How can one explain the genius of a Louis Armstrong or Duke Ellington? Blessed with skill and talent far exceeding their peers, one can only define what they possess as a gift from the gods. These early portraits are imperative, because both figures have been so canonized that it is easy to forget the significance of their gifts.

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Fifth Inning: Shadow Ball
star
9.27
82 votes

#7 - Fifth Inning: Shadow Ball

Baseball - Season 1 - Episode 5

Fifth Inning, Shadow Ball, tells the story of the Negro Leagues in the 1930s. The title refers to a common pre-game feature in which the players staged a mock game with an imaginary ball. Though unintended, the pantomime was an apt metaphor for the exclusion of blacks from major league play at that time.

The Common Cause (1939-1944)
star
9.23
56 votes

#8 - The Common Cause (1939-1944)

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History - Season 1 - Episode 6

FDR shatters the third-term tradition, struggles to prepare a reluctant country to enter World War II and, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, helps set the course toward Allied victory. Meanwhile, Eleanor struggles to keep New Deal reforms alive in wartime and travels the Pacific to comfort wounded servicemen.

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The Adventure: 1956-1960
star
9.23
13 votes

#9 - The Adventure: 1956-1960

Jazz - Season 1 - Episode 9

Critics who had believed that Charlie Parker was "too much" musically, could not have welcomed the arrival of Ornette Coleman. Coleman and John Coltrane would edge jazz toward even more freedom, eventually dropping all traditional structures. While these artists alienated many listeners, Miles Davis would record the most popular jazz album of all time, Kind of Blue.

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Gumbo: Beginnings to 1917
star
9.15
54 votes

#10 - Gumbo: Beginnings to 1917

Jazz - Season 1 - Episode 1

"Gumbo" traces the roots of jazz from the 1800s to 1917. The viewer will catch glimpses of Jelly Roll Morton, who erroneously claimed to have invented jazz, and the tragic, though influential, figure of trumpeter Buddy Bolden.

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The Better Angels of Our Nature (1865)
star
9.15
122 votes

#11 - The Better Angels of Our Nature (1865)

The Civil War - Season 1 - Episode 9

This extraordinary final episode of The Civil War begins in the bittersweet aftermath of Lee's surrender and then goes on to narrate the horrendous events of five days later when, on April 14, Lincoln is assassinated. After chronicling Lincoln's poignant funeral, the series recounts the final days of the war, the capture of John Wilkes Booth and the fates of the Civil War's major protagonists. The episode then considers the consequences and meaning of a war that transformed the country from a collection of states to the nation we are today.

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The Morning of Creation (1946-1980)
star
9.11
35 votes

#12 - The Morning of Creation (1946-1980)

The National Parks: America's Best Idea - Season 1 - Episode 6

Following World War II, the parks are overwhelmed as visitation reaches 62 million people a year. A new billion-dollar campaign – Mission 66 – is created to build facilities and infrastructure that can accommodate the flood of visitors. A biologist named Adolph Murie introduces the revolutionary notion that predatory animals, which are still hunted, deserve the same protection as other wildlife. In Florida, Lancelot Jones, the grandson of a slave, refuses to sell to developers his family's property on a string of unspoiled islands in Biscayne Bay and instead sells it to the federal government to be protected as a national monument. In the late 1970s, President Jimmy Carter creates an uproar in Alaska when he sets aside 56 million acres of land for preservation – the largest expansion of protected land in history. In 1995, wolves are re-established in Yellowstone, making the world's first national park a little more like what it once was.

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War Is All Hell (1865)
star
9.11
127 votes

#13 - War Is All Hell (1865)

The Civil War - Season 1 - Episode 8

The episode begins with William Tecumseh Sherman's brilliant march to the sea, which brings the war to the heart of Georgia and the Carolinas and spells the end of the Confederacy. In March, following Lincoln's second inauguration, first Petersburg and then Richmond finally fall to Grant's army. Lee's tattered Army of Northern Virginia flees westward towards a tiny crossroads town called Appomattox Court House. There the dramatic and deeply moving surrender of Lee to Grant takes place. The episode ends in Washington where John Wilkes Booth begins to dream of vengeance for the South.

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The Storm (1920-1933)
star
9.05
62 votes

#14 - The Storm (1920-1933)

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History - Season 1 - Episode 4

Franklin Roosevelt runs for vice president in 1920 and seems assured of a still brighter future until polio devastates him. He spends seven years struggling without success to walk again, while Eleanor builds her own personal and political life of. FDR returns to politics in 1928 and acts with such vigor during the first years of the Great Depression that the Democrats nominate him for president.

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Top of the Tenth
star
8.99
71 votes

#15 - Top of the Tenth

Baseball - Season 2 - Episode 1

Part 1 of 2. Ken Burns' follow-up to "Baseball" picks up where the 1994 series left off. Included: the crippling 1994 strike; the influx of international players; Cal Ripken's consecutive-games streak; the thrilling 1998 home-run race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.

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Great Nature (1933-1945)
star
8.97
36 votes

#16 - Great Nature (1933-1945)

The National Parks: America's Best Idea - Season 1 - Episode 5

To battle unemployment in the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt creates the Civilian Conservation Corps, which spawns a "golden age" for the parks through major renovation projects. In a groundbreaking study, a young NPS biologist named George Melendez Wright discovers widespread abuses of animal habitats and pushes the service to reform its wildlife policies. Congress narrowly passes a bill to protect the Everglades in Florida as a national park – the first time a park has been created solely to preserve an ecosystem, as opposed to scenic beauty. As America becomes entrenched in World War II, Roosevelt is pressured to open the parks to mining, grazing and lumbering. The president also is subjected to a storm of criticism for expanding the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming by accepting a gift of land secretly purchased by John D. Rockefeller Jr.

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In the Arena (1901-1910)
star
8.97
67 votes

#17 - In the Arena (1901-1910)

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History - Season 1 - Episode 2

Murder brings Theodore Roosevelt to the presidency, but in the seven years that follow, he transforms the office and makes himself perhaps the best-loved of all presidents, battling corporate greed, preserving American wilderness, carrying the message of American might around the world. FDR weds Eleanor Roosevelt, and jumps at the chance to run for the New York state senate.

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Seventh Inning: The Capital of Baseball
star
8.95
80 votes

#18 - Seventh Inning: The Capital of Baseball

Baseball - Season 1 - Episode 7

Seventh Inning, The Capitol of Baseball, takes viewers through the 1950s when New York City had three successful baseball teams and dominated the World Series. By the end of the decade, the Giants and Dodgers had left New York, a signal that the old game was changed forever.

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Eighth Inning: A Whole New Ballgame
star
8.90
79 votes

#19 - Eighth Inning: A Whole New Ballgame

Baseball - Season 1 - Episode 8

Eighth Inning, A Whole New Ball Game, moves the field to the 1960s. This episode traces the emergence of television, the expansion to new cities and the building of anonymous multipurpose stadiums that robbed the game of its intimacy and some of its urban following.

Going Home (1920-1933)
star
8.88
34 votes

#20 - Going Home (1920-1933)

The National Parks: America's Best Idea - Season 1 - Episode 4

While visiting the parks was once predominantly the domain of Americans wealthy enough to afford the high-priced train tours, the advent of the automobile allows more people than ever before to visit the parks. Mather embraces this opportunity and works to build more roads in the parks. Some park enthusiasts, such as Margaret and Edward Gehrke of Nebraska, begin "collecting" parks, making a point to visit as many as they can. In North Carolina, Horace Kephart, a reclusive writer, and George Masa, a Japanese immigrant, launch a campaign to protect the last strands of virgin forest in the Smoky Mountains by establishing it as a park. In Wyoming, John D. Rockefeller Jr. begins quietly buying up land in the Teton Mountain Range and valley in a secret plan to donate it to the government as a park.

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Valley of the Shadow of Death (1864)
star
8.84
146 votes

#21 - Valley of the Shadow of Death (1864)

The Civil War - Season 1 - Episode 6

Episode six begins with a biographical comparison of Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee and then chronicles the extraordinary series of battles that pitted the two generals against each other from the wilderness to Petersburg in Virginia. In 30 days, the two armies lose more men than both sides have lost in three years of war. With Grant and Lee finally deadlocked at Petersburg, we visit the ghastly hospitals north and south and follow General Sherman's Atlanta campaign through the mountains of north Georgia. As the horrendous casualty lists increase, Lincoln's chances for re-election begin to dim, and with them the possibility of Union victory.

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Fourth Inning: A National Heirloom
star
8.82
88 votes

#22 - Fourth Inning: A National Heirloom

Baseball - Season 1 - Episode 4

Fourth Inning, A National Heirloom, concentrates on Babe Ruth, whose phenomenal performance thrilled the nation throughout the 1920s and rescued the game from the scandal of the previous decade.

The Last Refuge (1890-1915)
star
8.80
41 votes

#23 - The Last Refuge (1890-1915)

The National Parks: America's Best Idea - Season 1 - Episode 2

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, and visitors think nothing of littering or carving their names near iconic sites like Old Faithful. Congress has yet to establish clear judicial authority or appropriations for the protection of the parks. This sparks a conservation movement by organizations such as the Sierra Club, led by John Muir; the Audubon Society, led by George Bird Grinnell; and the Boone and Crockett Club, led by Theodore Roosevelt. The movement fails, however, to stop San Francisco from building the Hetch Hetchy dam at Yosemite, flooding Muir's "mountain temple" and leaving him broken-hearted before he dies.

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The Empire of Grandeur (1915-1919)
star
8.78
40 votes

#24 - The Empire of Grandeur (1915-1919)

The National Parks: America's Best Idea - Season 1 - Episode 3

In the early 20th century, America has a dozen national parks, but they are a haphazard patchwork of special places under the supervision of different federal agencies. The conservation movement, after failing to stop the Hetch Hetchy dam, pushes the government to establish one unified agency to oversee all the parks, leading to the establishment of the National Park Service in 1916. Its first director, Stephen Mather, a wealthy businessman and passionate park advocate who fought vigorously to establish the NPS, launches an energetic campaign to expand the national park system and bring more visitors to the parks. Among his efforts is to protect the Grand Canyon from encroaching commercial interests and establish it as a national park, rather than a national monument.

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Second Inning: Something Like a War
star
8.75
92 votes

#25 - Second Inning: Something Like a War

Baseball - Season 1 - Episode 2

Second Inning, Something Like a War, takes viewers through 1910 and introduces some of the game's most celebrated and colorful characters, including Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson., and includes the formation of the American League and its integration with the National League, culminating in the establishment of the World Series.

Dedicated to Chaos: 1940-1945
star
8.75
16 votes

#26 - Dedicated to Chaos: 1940-1945

Jazz - Season 1 - Episode 7

"Dedicated to Chaos" finds jazz musicians teetering on the brink of the modern era, fighting against the straightjacket of clichéd, big band arrangements. The revolution started at Minton’s Playhouse, a rundown club where musicians like Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, and Charlie Christian jammed on Monday nights. When they hooked up with a young saxophone player from Kansas City named Charlie Parker, the bop insurgency had arrived.

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Get Action (1858-1901)
star
8.74
85 votes

#27 - Get Action (1858-1901)

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History - Season 1 - Episode 1

A frail, asthmatic young Theodore Roosevelt transforms himself into a champion of the strenuous life, loses one great love and finds another, leads men into battle and then rises like a rocket to become the youngest president in American history at 42. Meanwhile, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, brought up as the pampered only child of adoring parents, follows his older cousin’s career with fascination.

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Third Inning: The Faith of Fifty Million People
star
8.73
90 votes

#28 - Third Inning: The Faith of Fifty Million People

Baseball - Season 1 - Episode 3

Third Inning, The Faith of Fifty Million People, examines the century's second decade, which was dominated by the Black Sox scandal. George Herman "Babe" Ruth makes his first major league appearance (as a member of the Boston Red Sox) and a wave of immigration helps fill the stands with new fans, eager to "become American" by learning America's game.

Forever Free (1862)
star
8.67
175 votes

#29 - Forever Free (1862)

The Civil War - Season 1 - Episode 3

This episode charts the dramatic events that led to Lincoln's decision to set the slaves free. Convinced by July 1862 that emancipation was now morally and militarily crucial to the future of the Union, Lincoln must wait for a victory to issue his proclamation. But as the year wears on there are no Union victories to be had, thanks to the brilliance of Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. The episode comes to a climax in September 1862 with Lee's invasion of Maryland. On the banks of Antietam Creek, the bloodiest day of the war takes place, followed shortly by the brightest: the emancipation of the slaves.

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Most Hallowed Ground (1864)
star
8.66
135 votes

#30 - Most Hallowed Ground (1864)

The Civil War - Season 1 - Episode 7

The episode begins with the presidential election of 1864 that sets Abraham Lincoln against his old commanding general, George McClellan. The stakes are nothing less than the survival of the Union itself: with Grant and Sherman stalled at Petersburg and Atlanta, opinion in the North has turned strongly against the war. But 11th-hour victories at Mobile Bay, Atlanta, and the Shenandoah Valley tilt the election to Lincoln and the Confederacy's last hope for independence dies. In an ironic twist, poignantly typical of the Civil War, Lee's Arlington mansion is turned into a Union military hospital and the estate becomes Arlington National Cemetery, the Union's most hallowed ground.

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The Scripture of Nature (1851-1890)
star
8.65
48 votes

#31 - The Scripture of Nature (1851-1890)

The National Parks: America's Best Idea - Season 1 - Episode 1

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 Scottish-born wanderer named John Muir, for whom protecting the land becomes a spiritual calling. In 1864, Congress passes an act that protects Yosemite from commercial development for "public use, resort and recreation" - the first time in world history that any government has put forth this idea - and hands control of the land to California. Meanwhile, a "wonderland" in the northwest corner of the Wyoming territory attracts visitors to its bizarre landscape of geysers, mud pots and sulfur pits. In 1872, Congress passes an act to protect this land as well. Since it is located in a territory, rather than a state, it becomes America's first national park: Yellowstone.

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Risk: 1945-1955
star
8.63
16 votes

#32 - Risk: 1945-1955

Jazz - Season 1 - Episode 8

The bop revolution’s influence would spread to other musicians, but unlike swing, it would never become a popular music. The rapid-fire solos and complicated chord structures made bop a musician’s music, unfit for dancing. Indeed, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie’s music even alienated established musicians like Armstrong. "Risk" provides an in-depth biography of the bright, brief life of Parker, and includes interviews with his former wife.

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Simply Murder (1863)
star
8.62
161 votes

#33 - Simply Murder (1863)

The Civil War - Season 1 - Episode 4

The nightmarish Union disaster at Fredericksburg comes to two climaxes that spring: at Chancellorsville in May, where Lee wins his most brilliant victory but loses Stonewall Jackson; and at Vicksburg, where Grant's attempts to take the city by siege are stopped. During the episode we learn of fierce Northern opposition to Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, the miseries of regimental life and the increasing desperation of the Confederate homefront. As the episode ends, Lee decides to invade the North again to draw Grant's forces away from Vicksburg.

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The Fire of Life (1910-1919)
star
8.60
58 votes

#34 - The Fire of Life (1910-1919)

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History - Season 1 - Episode 3

Theodore Roosevelt leads a Progressive crusade that splits his own party, campaigns for American entry into World War I — and pays a terrible personal price. Franklin masters wartime Washington as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, while Eleanor finds personal salvation in war work. Her discovery of Franklin’s romance with another woman transforms their marriage into a largely political partnership.

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The Universe of Battle (1863)
star
8.59
158 votes

#35 - The Universe of Battle (1863)

The Civil War - Season 1 - Episode 5

This episode opens with a dramatic account of the turning point of war: the Battle of Gettysburg, the greatest ever fought in the Western Hemisphere. For three days 150,000 men will fight to the death in the Pennsylvania countryside, culminating in Pickett's legendary charge. This extended episode then goes on to chronicle the fall of Vicksburg, the New York draft riots, the first use of black troops, and the western battles at Chickamauga, Georgia and Chattanooga, Tennessee. The episode closes with the dedication of a new Union cemetery at Gettysburg in November, where Abraham Lincoln struggles to put into words what is happening to his people.

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A Masterpiece by Midnight: 1960 to the Present
star
8.57
14 votes

#36 - A Masterpiece by Midnight: 1960 to the Present

Jazz - Season 1 - Episode 10

Obviously Ken Burns knows that he can’t fit the last thirty-nine years of jazz history onto two hours of video tape, so from the outset, that shouldn’t be expected. There’s an excellent biography of John Coltrane, and footage of Miles Davis’ wonderful mid-‘60s quintet. There is also a nice, small section on the magnificent Charles Mingus.

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The Weight of Memory (March 1973-Onward)
star
8.51
294 votes

#37 - The Weight of Memory (March 1973-Onward)

The Vietnam War (2017) - Season 1 - Episode 10

Saigon falls and the war ends. Americans and Vietnamese from all sides search for reconciliation.

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The True Welcome: 1929-1934
star
8.47
15 votes

#38 - The True Welcome: 1929-1934

Jazz - Season 1 - Episode 4

"The True Welcome" continues many of the stories begun in Episode 3, following several troubling years for Louis Armstrong (who was arrested for marijuana possession), Duke Ellington’s growth as a composer, and Benny Goodman discovering gold in Fletcher Henderson’s arrangements. "The True Welcome" also has a nice section on rich kid John Hammond, Sr. who would become one of jazz’ biggest promoters

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I Can't Stop Loving You (1953-1963)
star
8.44
52 votes

#39 - I Can't Stop Loving You (1953-1963)

Country Music - Season 1 - Episode 4

Travel to Memphis, where Sun Studios artists Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley usher in the era of rockabilly. Ray Charles crosses America's racial divide by recording a country album. Patsy Cline shows off Music City's smooth new Nashville Sound.

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Will The Circle Be Unbroken? (1968-1972)
star
8.43
47 votes

#40 - Will The Circle Be Unbroken? (1968-1972)

Country Music - Season 1 - Episode 6

Learn how country music responds to a nation divided by the Vietnam War, as Army captain turned songwriter Kris Kristofferson sets a new lyrical standard, and artists like Bob Dylan and the Byrds find a recording home in Nashville.

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The Rub (Beginnings-1933)
star
8.38
77 votes

#41 - The Rub (Beginnings-1933)

Country Music - Season 1 - Episode 1

See how what was first called “hillbilly music” reaches new audiences through phonographs and radio, and launches the careers of country music's first big stars, the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers.

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Pride of our Nation
star
8.37
57 votes

#42 - Pride of our Nation

The War - Season 1 - Episode 4

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 one of the greatest invasions in history: the invasion of France. Among them are Dwain Luce of Mobile, who drops behind enemy lines in a glider; Quentin Aanenson of Luverne, who flies his first combat mission over the Normandy coast; and Joseph Vaghi of Waterbury, who manages to survive the disastrous landing on Omaha Beach, where German resistance nearly decimates the American forces

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The Hillbilly Shakespeare (1945-1953)
star
8.34
58 votes

#43 - The Hillbilly Shakespeare (1945-1953)

Country Music - Season 1 - Episode 3

See how the bluegrass sound spreads in post-war America, and meet honky-tonk star Hank Williams, whose songs of surprisingly emotional depth are derived from his troubled and tragically short life.

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The Sons and Daughters of America (1964 -1968)
star
8.33
51 votes

#44 - The Sons and Daughters of America (1964 -1968)

Country Music - Season 1 - Episode 5

See how country music reflects a changing America, with Loretta Lynn speaking to women everywhere, Merle Haggard becoming "The Poet of the Common Man" and audiences looking beyond race to embrace Charley Pride.

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Swing: The Velocity of Celebration - 1937-1939
star
8.33
15 votes

#45 - Swing: The Velocity of Celebration - 1937-1939

Jazz - Season 1 - Episode 6

Swing would be reacquainted with its blues roots by way of Kansas City, when Count Basie and the Barons of Rhythm brought their hot sound to the Big Apple. Basie would also give Billie Holiday her first break, offering her a chance to travel, perform, drink, and gamble with the rest of the band. Another young singer named Ella Fitzgerald would get her start in Chick Webb’s band at the Savoy Ballroom, and then be named top female vocalist—over Billy Holiday—by Down Beat in 1937.

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When Things Get Tough
star
8.32
59 votes

#46 - When Things Get Tough

The War - Season 1 - Episode 2

By January 1943, Americans have been at war for more than a year. The Germans, with their vast war machine, still occupy most of Western Europe, and the Allies have not yet been able to agree on a plan or a timetable to dislodge them. For the time being, they will have to be content to nip at the edges of Hitler’s enormous domain. American troops, including Charles Mann of Luverne, are now ashore in North Africa, ready to test themselves for the first time against the German and Italian armies.

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Swing: Pure Pleasure - 1935-1937
star
8.31
13 votes

#47 - Swing: Pure Pleasure - 1935-1937

Jazz - Season 1 - Episode 5

1935 was the year that swing became the most popular music in the country and that the king of swing, Benny Goodman, became a matinee idol. Americans, stifled by the Depression, seemed determined to dance their troubles away. "Swing: Pure Pleasure" follows the continuing careers of Goodman, Artie Shaw, and Armstrong, and the discovery of Billy Holiday.

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Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way? (1973-1983)
star
8.28
40 votes

#48 - Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way? (1973-1983)

Country Music - Season 1 - Episode 7

Witness a vibrant era in country music, with Dolly Parton finding mainstream success; Hank Williams, Jr. and Rosanne Cash emerging from their famous fathers' shadows; and Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings launching the “Outlaw” movement.

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A Necessary War
star
8.26
70 votes

#49 - A Necessary War

The War - Season 1 - Episode 1

December 1941-December 1942 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; and Luverne, Minnesota — recall their communities on the eve of the conflict. For them, and for most Americans finally beginning to recover from the Great Depression, the events overseas seem impossibly far away. Their tranquil lives are shattered by the shock of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and America is thrust into the greatest cataclysm in history. Along with millions of other young men, Sid Phillips and Willie Rushton of Mobile, Ray Leopold of Waterbury and Walter Thompson and Burnett Miller of Sacramento enter the armed forces and begin to train for war. In the Philippines, two Americans thousands of miles from home, Corporal Glenn Frazier and Sascha Weinzheimer (who was 8 years old in 1941), are caught up in the Japanese onslaught there, as American and Filipino forces retreat onto Bataan while thousands of civilians are rounded up and imprisoned in Manila. Meanwhile, back home, 110,000 Japanese Americans all along the West Coast, including some 7,000 from Sacramento and the surrounding valley, are forced by the government to abandon their homes and businesses and are relocated to inland internment camps. On the East Coast, German U-boats menace Allied shipping just offshore, sending hundreds of ships and millions of tons of materiel to the bottom of the sea. The United States seems utterly unprepared for this kind of total war. Witnessing all of this is Katharine Phillips of Mobile, who remembers sightings of U-boats just outside Mobile Bay, and Al McIntosh, the editor of the Rock County Star Herald in Luverne, who chronicles the travails of every family in town. In June 1942, the Navy manages an improbable victory over the Japanese at the Battle of Midway. In August,

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Hard Times (1933-1945)
star
8.24
54 votes

#50 - Hard Times (1933-1945)

Country Music - Season 1 - Episode 2

Watch as Nashville becomes the heart of the country music industry. The genre grows in popularity during the Great Depression and World War II as America falls in love with singing cowboys, Texas Swing and the Grand Ole Opry's Roy Acuff.

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