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Founding Brothers

4.1 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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(Jul 30, 2002)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The "self-evident" truths were intensely debated. In America's first years, Washington, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Adams, Madison and Burr struggled to transform their disparate visions into an enduring government.
Based on Joseph Ellis' Pulitzer Prize winning book, Founding Brothers examines six moments when the collisons and collusions of these towering figures left an indelible imprint on the nation: the secret dinner that determined the site of the capital and America's financial future; Benjamin Franklin's call for an end to slavery; George Washington's farewell address to the nation; John Adams's term as president; Hamilton and Burr's famous and fatal duel, and the final reconciliation between Adams and Jefferson.
Drawing on the words of the founders and incisive commentary from leading scholars, Founding Brothers is an elegant and engaging portrait of America's origins in personal conflict and compromise.

The political wrangles of a fledgling country may sound dull compared to the drama of a war, but the early history of the United States only gets more fascinating as the Revolutionary War is left behind. Founding Brothers, a documentary from the History Channel, examines the struggle to not only establish democracy, but to give it the economic strength and governmental structure that will allow it to survive and thrive. George Washington grappled not only with politics, but with questions of style and propriety--how should a president, as opposed to a king, behave? Understanding the conflicts between Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson will illuminate ideas that have shaped the government of the U.S. ever since. Founding Brothers provides a wealth of portraits and illustrations from the time, as well as discreet dramatizations, that bring the rise of party politics to life, humanizing these historical figures with tales of the scandals and squabbles they faced as well as their political achievements. An excellent introduction to the roots of the American experiment, and a bracing illustration of what Jefferson meant when he said of the presidency, "No man will bring out of that office the reputation which carried him into it." --Bret Fetzer

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Coyote, Brian Dennehy, Joseph Ellis, Edward Herrmann, Hal Holbrook
  • Directors: Melissa Jo Peltier
  • Writers: Joseph Ellis, Melissa Jo Peltier, Kelly McPherson
  • Producers: Melissa Jo Peltier, Adam Hyman, Bonnie Peterson, Kelly McPherson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 30, 2002
  • Run Time: 200 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000687BM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,718 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Founding Brothers" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
In our modern politization of history, people are forced into two groups. The first are those who've only now realized that their larger-than-life image of Jefferson, Washington and the other founders as an uncommonly civil and reasonable bunch is just that, a myth. This group is hurt by this and looks at any attempt to point out the founders weaknesses, internal inconsistencies and what-have-you as nothing less than high slander. Then there is the group that realizes that the founders WERE flawed, contradictory and not quite the proper stuff of legends. This group, though generally out of political spite, not only embraces this fact, but loves to rub any history buff's face in it, pointing to our flawed history as certain proof that America was concieved in shame.
This video is refreshing because we get a good dose of amunition for both sides. Starting with George Washington's innaguration, this film takes us through a brilliant story of a people forced to govern from scratch. The film does a good job in pointing out that unlike today, presidents, cabinets, legsilators had no precedents. Who could Washington, Hamilton, the congress who in 1800 dealt with the first election recount in history; none of these, had anyone to look to anyone to see how it was done before. It wasn't done before! We go through the Washington, Adams, and Jefferson presidency; our dealings with France, a new economic system, slavery, and colliding visions of the federalists and the republicans (nowadays these would be termed the republicans and the democrats, respectively). Not quite a Ken Burns film but close!
With that said, this film is extemely biased towards the federalists.
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Format: DVD
I love history and in recent months I have been voraciously reading / viewing various books / DVD collections. Founding Brothers is a documentary from the History Channel that is based on the Pulitzer-Prize winning book by Joseph Ellis. I would note that there is another DVD collection (created a few years ago by the History Channel) entitled Founding Fathers.
Both DVD collections discuss the lives and times of the founding fathers (brothers). This particular DVD collection starts with post revolution times (i.e constitutional congress - 1820 or so) and really dives into how, once the war was over the bickering and infighting began amongst the founding fathers. If you are looking for pre-revolution commentary than Founding Fathers is a better DVD collection to pick up as it starts with New England dissent to the winning of the war.

1. This DVD collection is well produced. Famous actors provided the voices for the characters as in Founding Fathers. Many of the voice overs are done by the same people in both collections.
2. While the DVD is certainly worth watching I found myself wishing it had more facts about the economy and its progress but, as the title states, this series is about the founding fathers.
3. The series did a nice job of discussing how various fathers had issues with slavery. It discussed whether they were pro-slavery or against it and how some had serious troubles dealing with it.
4. The one thing I thoroughly enjoyed about the DVD collection was that it clearly depicts how each of these men came together despite their different backgrounds and temperaments to found a nation.
Most of my reviews are in business / economics and I encourage people to read them, whether here on Amazon or at my personal website.
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Comment 47 of 55 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I saw the History Channel show FOUNDING FATHERS and thought it was great. FOUNDING BROTHERS is even better. The stories they tell in here just make your jaw drop. I had no idea that their nasty political feuds were as bad as what goes on today - maybe worse.
The commentators great at telling what really went on and the images are fun to watch. The guy who plays Thomas Jefferson is his spitting image! They have a bunch of well known actors reading the letters of these men which works pretty well, too.
My main complaint -- I wish it was two hours longer! Kudos to the History Channel and their producers for making this wonderful show. I'm buying DVD's for all my kids.
Comment 18 of 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
It pains my heart to see what is happening in the realm of the so-called American historian. And though I have a gleam of hope that the statements I am about to make do not apply to all American historians, one thing is true, and that is there is a bias among historians towards Hamiltonian principals of government to the disgust of the true American spirit of liberty and freedom. And though I support with vehemence the principals of Jeffersonian government as it existed during the early nineteenth century for about a quarter of a century, that does not blind me to the fact that Jefferson was a man who did make mistakes. But to exaggerate those mistakes to then become a staunch supporter of Hamilton is a grave mistake in this day and age. Hamilton is placed upon a pedestal constantly and applauded and showered with such laurels that these very praises make one suspicious to wonder if he deserves it. And a close examination of his philosophy will show that he is unworthy. My design is not to say we should attack his character as each man was flawed, but his principles of government are dangerous to the American people, and I am baffled to see how historians who are so astute should be blinded by his principals. It almost makes one wonder if they purposely are trying to shape the American mind to accept principles that would make us conform to our rights are being trampled upon. I want to be fair to those who may be naïve, but at the same time not to be willfully ignorant. We know currently we are living under a consolidated form of government never intended by the founding fore fathers, and I pray that our leading historians and teachers are not trying to make us accept it. I believe it is time to rise up against these abuses and to allow the common voice of the educated American to be heard again.Read more ›
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