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American Family: Anniversary Edition

 NR |  DVD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, 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: August 30, 2011
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0057CONVS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #175,664 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

In 1973 television viewers watched dramatic life events unfold in the home of an American family in Santa Barbara California. An American Family: Anniversary Edition is a 2-hour feature-length special capturing the most memorable and compelling moments of the original 12-hour public television series that made TV history.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still fascinates after all these years. July 8, 2011
This DVD presents highlights of the 12-part series that became one of the most talked about television programs in America in 1973 -- perhaps in the entire decade. "An American Family" moved cameras into the California home of Bill and Pat Loud and their five children. (Lance, the oldest child, lived in New York for a time; Pat's visit to him there is one of the most memorable sequences of the series.) Eventually Bill and Pat separated -- an event shown on camera -- but remained friends (difficult, but, as these people proved, not impossible). They continued to care for each other and for their children.

It's often erroneously stated that Lance was the first openly gay person on nationwide TV. Although that was never made explicit, it's not hard to read between the lines. And his family was completely accepting of him -- including his father, who was something of a macho type (he owned a company that sold replacement parts for heavy machinery). Bill's obvious affection for Lance is wonderful to see.

This is often considered the first reality show. The difference is that it's real reality, unlike the manipulated "reality" all too common in today's shows of that description. Viewing it today, I find it just as engrossing as it was way back when. Highly recommended.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Jusst highlights? *sigh* August 15, 2011
I just wish they could just get the music licensing issues handled so that they could release the series in it's entirety. All the highlights and commentary can't express the impact of actually seeing the full programs.

I'll skip this and wait for the real thing.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
In 1971 - for 13 weeks many folks in America - including me - watched the first "reality TV" show (though there wasn't a word for it then.) There was also no PBS. It was NET (for National Educational Television). The New York affiliate of NET (ironically called WNET) produced a 12 hour documentary on "an American family". As the original WNET Producer reminds us in the bonus feature interview, this was not a "typical American family", or an average one. But it was truly American. The Louds (Bill and Pat) had 5 teenage children. They allowed the cameras of Alan and Susan Raymond to follow them for seven months from May to December 1971. The cameras were at their home in Santa Barbara,CA and in New York where openly gay son Lance moved. They follow them as they go to Europe. During this 7 months Pat and Bill separate and divorce.

For the 40th anniversary of the show, WNET worked with the Raymonds to re-edit the 12 hours of film down to 1 hour and 50 minutes. The show aired earlier this year on PBS and is now on this DVD. 53 minutes of Bonus features are here too including an archival panel discussion from 1973 lead by Margaret Mead and new interviews with NET and WNET personnel - including the Raymonds.

It's a fascinating story , though, like a previous reviewer, I felt that it worked best in the longer chapter-ized version, which allowed things to be revealed at closer to real time. But this is still better than nothing. And the additional interviews add more perspective to the story. After all, this was a FIRST for NET - a real series.

The show was shot on film and it shows some age. Those used to the crisp images on TV today will have to settle for some graniness.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars American Family DVD July 5, 2012
Verified Purchase
I was disappointed in this DVD as I expected the original series, not snippets and "after the fact" scenes. Apparently the original mini-series was never recorded and this is all that was ever taped.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars wait for the series to come out November 4, 2012
By marie53
Verified Purchase
patchwork quilt attempt to squeeze an entire series that played over many episodes. very disappointed in the editorial choices that were made.
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