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American Experience: John and Abigail Adams (2005)

 NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: January 24, 2006
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BMSU9K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #220,500 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Relying heavily on the extraordinary correspondence between the second president and his wife, this joint biography sheds light not only on the characters of two remarkable people, but also on the tumultuous times through which they lived. John and Abigail Adams played a critical role in many of the pivotal events of their era: he was a vociferous participant at the Continental Congress; she was an important eye-witness reporter during the Siege of Boston; he was an important war-time emissary to France. This AMERICAN EXPERIENCE reminds us that the Founding Fathers - and Mothers - were not men and women of marble following a script that made independence and American national success a pre-ordained conclusion, but rather real, flawed, multi-dimensional people, who had no idea how things would turn out.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
59 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive. January 30, 2006
I'm a John Adams fan & know him as the most competant of the founding fathers. Until recently he hasn't received his due. This is the story of John & Abigail Adams, their life together & more often as not, their life apart. He was pretty much disliked by his contemporaries. He was respected for his abilities & resented because he told the truth, no matter how painful. It bothered him all his life that he never got the adulation & celebrity of Washington, Jefferson & Franklin. However unlike many obnoxious people he knew his strengths & weaknesses. A fine orator he knew Washington was a better leader, Franklin a better diplomat & Thomas Jefferson, a better writer. It fell to Jefferson, with Adams & Franklin's help to author the Declaration of Independence.

During his lenghty absences, Abigail kept the home fires burning, first, during his trips to to Philadelphia as a member of the Continential Congress & later as a diplomat to France & Holland. She managed their modest property as well as he could have. She was a community leader during British occupation & through the terrible small pox & typhoid epidemics that were so common in those days. She was first & always his most trusted confidant & political advisor, if not in person then in the long correspondences they kept up. Her love was unconditional & someone he could always count on. She made one trip overseas when he was Ambassador to England, which opened her eyes to the big world outside of her small one in Braintree, MA. Truly a woman of character, patriotism & a great American. The portrayals by the actors in this history were dead on as I imagined John & Abigail might have been. This dvd is an essential for high school American history classes. A real keeper & an example of television at it's best.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting beyond belief January 23, 2006
This documentary was extremely well done and had our whole family enthralled as the development of John and Abigail ensued. This is a very "real" portrayel of two incredibly strong and vivacious people that exhibited stamina far beyond what one can expect to endure today. Narrative interludes were appropriate and engaging. The acting was believable and well done with the dimention and deepness of the individuals clearly exhibited. THe connection between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson was astonishing to say the least. I think most anyone would throughly enjoy all aspects of this production! I also recommend seeing the musical video 1776 to compare the portrayel of John Adams with this narrative. Enjoy!
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful May 15, 2006
I caught this documentary on PBS tonight and immediately went online to see if it was available on DVD. The story of John and Abigail Adams is one of the most poignant in American history, and this film makes it accessible to even the most uninterested history-phobe. Interviews and cheesy re-enactments are cut to a minimum, and most of the story is told in voice-over and with quotes from letters written by John, Abigail, and their contemporaries, making it easy to watch as well as riveting. I was pleased with the portryal of John Adams here as well as Abigail; the insight into the founding of the US through their correspondence was eye-opening.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History brought to life December 22, 2006
In American Experience: John and Abigail Adams, we have a masterful blending of drama and documentary. Fine actors portray the characters, while some of our generation's most popular historians (Freeman, McCullough, Ferling, Ellis, etc.) provide the commentary. It is a celebration of individuals who of late have finally been getting the credit that the U.S. public has never given. Both John and Abigail come across as passionate patriots who are utterly devoted to one another, the image one perceives if one reads their personal correspondence. Jefferson comes across in a less than complimentary manner, taking some well-deserved lumps for his behavior during Adams' presidency. Interestingly, Abigail is placed squarely within a discussion of the highly controversial Sedition Act, citing concern over John's safety and the security of the U.S. government. Another reviewer called this television at its best. Imagine the world if this sort of quality was what was featured nightly on television.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John and Abigail Adams September 5, 2007
This historic piece was refreshingly well executed. From the casting to the cinematography, the romantic tale of John and Abigail Adams was well represented. It put forth the atmosphere of that period, as if you were actually living these times. The main three characters, were well cast, and did a wonderful job to bring forth the amicable, sometimes stressed, relationship between the Adams and Jefferson.
A highly recommended historic piece to be included in high school and college American history classrooms.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John & Abigail are real! March 22, 2008
Growing up, my image of the Founding Fathers always seemed to focus on Washington, Jefferson & Franklin. Adams seemed secondary.

After seeing this, the viewer must come away with a high respect for both John & Abigail. One was nothing without the other.

A little acting, and a bit of historian narration, this DVD is both entertaining and informative. The actors do a wonderful job of conveying the lives of the people of the times.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Have May 27, 2007
This is an in-depth account of the remarkable team of John and Abigail Adams. It's a must-have for any history buff or anyone interested in the period of time of our nation's founding. An incredible story.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
I saw the other mini series about Adams and this was a different side of him. I enjoyed to biography very much.
Published 3 months ago by Chloe
5.0 out of 5 stars Well produced picture of John and Abigail Adams as told through their...
After this two hour program (23 Jan. 2006) you feel not only do you know John and Abigail, but a more rounded view of the history of their time. Read more
Published 8 months ago by bernie
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Accomplishment All Through
The story about John and Abigail Adams is told in a most compelling and convincing manner. Everything in this PBS video comes through as a great success, the narrative, the... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Carl von Hugo
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
This was a film that I had seen before and I had to buy! Beautiful history story about one of our
heros and the great love of his life! Read more
Published 13 months ago by Marie T.
5.0 out of 5 stars Concise, Riveting Docudrama about the Great Founding Couple
This 2-hour docudrama is an excellent overview of John and Abigail's 50-year relationship and their participation in the most exciting events of early American history. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Jamakaya
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Read David McCullogh's John Adams instead - much more informative than the film and comes alive, as all his histories do, with insight, historical accuracy, and the accurate detail... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Cicero
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't Get Better
This really opens your eyes to what John Adams went through with his great wife and how they stayed true to each other, but also to the nation that they were trying to save. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Ed
3.0 out of 5 stars DVD
The item in question had to be cleaned several times not happy about it but it seems to be working now.
Published 21 months ago by P. Herrera
5.0 out of 5 stars Love John & Abigail Adams
Being a big fan of the HBO John Adams series, I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this PBS presentation so I borrowed it from my library. I was pleasantly surprised. Read more
Published on July 23, 2012 by Stephanie Pagliughi
4.0 out of 5 stars A Love Story of American History
John and Abigail Adams would be considered a love story, a very plain one of a married couple working as one to help each other reach their full potential in life. Read more
Published on February 27, 2011 by Edwin C. Pauzer
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