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American Experience: The Amish (2012)

. , David Belton , Callie T. Wiser  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: .
  • Directors: David Belton, Callie T. Wiser
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: 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 (DIRECT)
  • DVD Release Date: February 28, 2012
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00652U6JM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,216 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

The Amish intercuts historical analysis with contemporary footage to provide an unprecedented look at this highly private, little understood, and utterly unique community whose beliefs raise important questions about religious liberty in American life.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE AMISH: The Truth Isn't Plain or Simple February 28, 2012
The Amish are such an iconic part of rural America these days that it will startle viewers of this amazing two-hour documentary to learn: Just half a century ago, hundreds of Amish parents were jailed as criminals for refusing to keep their children in school past the 8th Grade. Eventually, a U.S. Supreme Court decision freed the Amish to maintain their own culture, including foreshortened education for Amish youth.

Flash forward to 2006 when the Amish response to a mass shooting of children at their West Nickel Mines school suddenly transformed them from quaint emblems of farming life--into globally celebrated saints of peacemaking. As a journalist covering religion in America for several decades, I wrote news stories about Nickel Mines. And, I have published interviews with the leading non-Amish authority on Amish life, the scholar and author Dr. Donald Kraybill. I also strongly recommend, The Amish Way: Patient Faith in a Perilous World, written by Kraybill and his colleagues in the aftermath of Nickel Mines. Now, in this American Experience film, Kraybill again speaks to the world about the Amish.

Of course, viewers immediately will realize one huge contribution of this film is that Kraybill is not the only voice we hear. Other scholars were interviewed, as well, and most of the voices we hear from start to finish are the Amish themselves--men and women.

That phrase--"the truth isn't plain or simple"--was used by American Experience to describe the scope of this film. As a journalist specializing in religion coverage for decades, I have screened pretty much every documentary about the Amish produced in the past 30 years.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended February 28, 2012
By Bob B
I just got done watching this on PBS. Very well done and the most in depth Amish documentary I have ever seen. The minute the program was over I went scrambling on the internet to find out if it was available on video. Looks like tonight was the DVD release date. I'm in luck! Anyways, highly recommended. If you want to learn about the Amish, their lives in both a historical and religious view, both past and present, this is your movie. Very sad though was reliving the nightmare of the 2006 Amish school children murders. Feels like it just happened yesterday!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars KATELAND May 22, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
VERY ENJOYABLE....Looking at the Amish people there was something very different about them, maybe it was how they dressed, they looked apart from everyone eles. But they dressed very nice, seemed to be deeply religious people. and hard working. And i was amazed with their FORGIVNESS, by attending the funeral of the Murderer who slaughted five of their children. These people interest me, they lived in a very rural part of the country. Everything looked beautiful, and Especialy in FALL when the leaves on the trees were glowing in many beautiful colors. The Amish people looked healthy, due to them being Farmers had alot to do with it, with that healthy outdoor life. It certainly looked to be good air out that way. I think its somewhat of a pity as the children grow up, to leave the community for the bright lights, and a new life. As the number of Amish people will become less. This was a nice documentary of THE AMISH, showing us their way of life. The photography was excellent, we see the beautiful countryside where they lived, and all of their animals, they were mainly horses and cows. Although i thought the animals did it tough in the WINTER, they looked very bleak and lonely out there in the fields as it snowed. A cover would have helped protect them from the cold. A Shame.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Simple People January 18, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
You get a good feel for what it must be like to live as Amish. Very touching at times. It makes you question what's really important in your own life and if you're really living it right,
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amish Documentary November 17, 2012
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
This is a very well done documentary about the Amish, their background, and the struggle they face maintaining their beliefs and way of life in our ever changing society. I highly recomend it to anyone interested in having some general knowledge about the Amish.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Documentary, American Experience June 30, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Before writing this review, I read all four of the reviews already submitted and I agree with those reviewers. It was a well balanced program, divided into approximately equal length segments, each entitled for one of the four seasons. I have been intrigued by these people for quite a long time. Can't say why exactly. The landscape is absolutely stunning and the photography showed it extremely well. There is heartbreak in everybody's stories and two heartbreaks in this story were the two folks who chose to leave the Amish and the Nickle Mines tragedy. I do wonder if, after going through Rumspringer (?sp), if a young adult decides not to join the Amish faith, is it still as difficult for the person leaving? In one part of the film, the comment was made "the boy's place at table is always set and nobody else can sit in that place." And, why do they gather only every other Sunday for community worship? That ehy have morning devotions every day with just the family there is wonderful.

For fictional movies about the Amish, I recommend "Plain Truth" and "Amish Grace". "Amish Grace" is based on the Nickle Mines tragedy. "Plain Truth" is a story in which a young Amish woman is granted some visitation in Philadelphia with her brother who has left the Church, becomes pregnant and the baby dies. Mariska Hagerty, from "Law & Order, Special Victims Unit" plays the part of the court-appointed attorney for the young woman. Even tho they are fictitious, there is a lot of truth in these stories.

American Experience has done several documentaries that I have in my video library and all are absolutely superb and deserve to be viewed several times.Plain TruthAmish Grace
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Done!
The mystique and wonder about the Amish in Pennsylvania Dutch country has always been fascinating to me. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Georgia Girl
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good, to learn about another culture
Published 2 months ago by 2
1.0 out of 5 stars A Sensationalist and Defamatory Hack Piece that Follows a Disturbing...
This film barely earns the title "documentary". It largely focuses on negative issues, including domestic issues that are found in all cultures (and are therefore... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mr Greenjeans
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this
I really admire the Amish People and Culture a lot more after seeing more about their history. If you're into history this definitely something you should watch.
Published 4 months ago by S. Terrell
5.0 out of 5 stars The best
You won't regret buying this one! Great price, too. Very informative. Great background music, footage, etc. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Craig from Chesapeake, VA
5.0 out of 5 stars The Amish Walk Their Talk - The Story of Nickel Mines
Loved this documentary. The story of Nickel Mines is unbelievable. The Amish walk their talk. Forgiveness is made real in this real-life story and tragedy. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Barb
4.0 out of 5 stars very well-done
I learned all kinds of new stuff about the Amish. It was very well-done, modern, and informative. I was raised in an area not far from Amish, and my parents are friends with... Read more
Published 11 months ago by D
5.0 out of 5 stars well done
This DVD tells a lot about the Amish who do not like to be seen in photos etc. The people who made it respect their privacy but yet tell the story of their beliefs and traditons. Read more
Published 11 months ago by linda
5.0 out of 5 stars Amish
It was very realistic shows you a first hand glimpse of Amish life.
I've seen it before on PBS.
Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars I felt that it was filmed fairly
It was good. Not anything I didn't know already. I felt though I was peeking in on people that had no idea they were being filmed,which when they pointed and ran or covered their... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Grama
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