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 NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • 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: Athena
  • DVD Release Date: January 17, 2012
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005X5XISS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #153,699 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

It's one of the most popular and beloved songs in the English language. Transcending race, creed, geography, generation, and social station, Amazing Grace has been recorded more times than any other hymn and is widely credited with transforming lives. Written by John Newton, an English clergyman and former slave-ship captain, the poem was published in 1779 and took on its familiar tune during the Second Great Awakening in the United States. In this inspiring program, Bill Moyers explores the song's origins and enduring power. Produced and directed by Emmyr and Peabody winner Elena Mannes, this documentary features illuminating conversations and stirring performances by Johnny Cash, Judy Collins, Jessye Norman, Marion Williams, the Boys Choir of Harlem, shape-note singers, prison inmates, and more. There are 24 renditions in all, no two alike, and each filled with emotion and conviction. With Jeremy Irons as the voice of John Newton.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
UNDOUBTEDLY one of Bill Moyers' finest triumphs in TV documentary related to faith. This 1990 production not only acquaints the viewer with the history of the song but the writer, John Newton, and his life leading up to and beyond the 1779 publication of "Amazing Grace". Moyers does not do this one alone, although interviews with people and artists are led by Moyers. Jeremy Irons (`Brideshead Revisited'-must own that one) narrates much of the story behind the song, as John Newton's voice, using Newton's own words recorded in diary's and logs from when he was captain of a slavery-boat.

You get song renditions from Jean Ritchie (folksinger on the dulcimer) and Fannie Lou Hammer (Civil Rights activist/singer), to mega stars like Johnny Cash and Judy Collins. It's Collins' recording, that once #15 on the pop charts, that I enjoyed best. Other notables in their fields of musical presentations include Marion Williams, Boys choir of Harlem, Jessye Norman, some inmates at Huntsville, TX, and shape-note singers from Holly Spring, GA, and Wiregrass Sacred Harp Singers of Ozark, AL. Even trumpet blues with the ending credits.

As Johnny Cash stated in the program, "It's a song that makes a difference."
Educational, yes, but more inspirational. A joy to see and hear. My wife agrees, 5-stars.

BONUS: "Pure Pete Seeger" an hour interview/performance in 1994 when Seeger was 75. That too is subtitled. It's is magical, to see Seeger as a warm grandfather type, still making music. Also, text bios of Moyers, Johnny Cash, Jessye Norman, Jean Richie, Dewey Williams, and Marion Williams. A pamphlet viewer's guide is inserted.

Moyers' Amazing Grace is thoroughly enjoyable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The DVD I received was not complete-see below December 20, 2013
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The DVD was not the entire special he had on PBS years ago-the VHS tapeof that show is longer but what is missing from the DVD I got from is the amazing rock version of Amazing Grace by Marion Williams, a Judy Collins clip, and country scenes
onf folks doing the song acapella in the mountains down South. I had the original DVD that matched the VHS tape but lost it.
So I feel cheated-is there anyway to get the original DVD from years ago-the one I got was clearly edited and lost
much of its power. Thank you
Ned at
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film September 16, 2013
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This is a great film concerning one of the best known and most loved hymns. This film is in the great tradition of Bill Moyers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely thrilling! May 2, 2013
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The 5 star rating is because this DVD is thrilling and gives new depths of appreciation and understanding to a very old and beautiful hymn. It lives because it seems to adapt to many cultures and musical genres...from Jessey Norman's operatic take to the shape-note singers to Johnny Cash to the Harlem Boys Choir.I loved it from beginning to end. (I even learned from another video that it can be played on all black keys...and it can!)

Most of all it speaks of the grace of redemption.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How sweet the sound of "Amazing Grace" August 21, 2012
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Classic PBS Bill Moyers show......I bot the disc to use excerpts of Judy Collins, Jessye Norman, and the history of John Newton, the composer, in church when we highlight individual tunes on "Favorite Hymn Sunday".....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Been waiting years for this. Thank you Amazon. January 2, 2012
By Judyk
Verified Purchase
I saw this on TV years ago and I have been looking for a dvd of it for years. As I have not yet received it (I pre-ordered it) I can not rate the item itself. However, the content is excellent. It is very moving and inspirational. I never knew the third stanza (sp?) of Amazing Grace before seeing this show and now it is my favorite part of the song. Really chokes me up.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars July 10, 2014
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5.0 out of 5 stars Moyers: Amazing Grace...On DVD May 21, 2014
By Kat
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I have had this on VHS tape for years, and feared it would never make it on to DVD, but it did, and I'm glad. This is a real nice documentary about the song Amazing Grace with Bill Moyers at the helm exploring the history and lyrics of the song, and features some of the ways it's been sung throughout the years and what it means to different people. Always loved this documentary and am thrilled that it's on DVD now.

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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing presentation of Amazing Grace
Wonderful presentation by Moyers. As can be expected, lots of beautiful music; lots of wonderfully told stories; you just can't go wrong with Bill Moyers at the helm of a story.
Published 14 hours ago by JP
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great history of a well known song! The Pete Seeger addition is also very good.
Published 1 month ago by t.p. toepker
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Grace.....indeed!!!!!
Marvelous story and the signing is magical. You'll find yourself humming like the 'shape-note' singers for days after. Love it!
Published 1 month ago by Mary C. Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Cecilia H. Manning
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but too long and repetitious
Parts of this DVD are inspiring and helpful and some of the singing is amazing. However, it is too long and repetitious to sit through the entire thing.
Published 9 months ago by Lynn
5.0 out of 5 stars Great piece of work!
I remembered this from seeing the original on PBS many years ago. I was prompted to buy it after seeing a youtube video of a 12 year old South American boy sing "Amazing... Read more
Published 20 months ago by James Sammons
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening
Outstanding documentary by Bill Moyers explores the cultural impact of the hymn first written by John Newton. Read more
Published 21 months ago by William Kendall
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars
I can not say enough about this wonderful DVD. You will enjoy it. Bill moyer is at his best. For your self or a gift, I saw this years ago on PBS and had to have it.
Published on September 3, 2012 by w coolidge
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