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Hillbilly: The Real Story (The History Channel)

53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Join host Billy Ray Cyrus on a journey into the hollers and runs of Appalachia to discover the proud legacy of the region's mountain folk. Learn how hillbillies, long misunderstood and maligned as isolated and backward, actually have a 300-year history of achievement and success that has contributed significantly to our national identity. In this two-hour special you'll meet outcast immigrants, war heroes, isolated backwoodsmen, hard working miners, fast moving moon shiners, religious warriors, musicians and statesmen. You'll learn of their contributions, which include establishing the first labor unions, battling the British, and spawning some of the most popular aspects of American culture today, like NASCAR and country music. And you'll see them in a whole new light.


Product Details

  • Actors: Billy Ray Cyrus
  • Format: NTSC, Color
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0012Y10HK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #192,317 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Ky. Col. on April 25, 2010
Format: DVD
As a person from Eastern Kentucky, I found this recent History Channel docummentary quite interesting. First of all, I should point out that much of its material is some of the more sensational aspects of Appalachia. Moonshining (with its connection to NASCAR), marijuna, and feuds get some time. Much of the section on religion is devoted to explaining snake handeling churches, which as the documentary notes are a small minority in the region.

That said, I must say that the documentary is informative and interesting. The reenactments are generally well executed. Scotch Irish settler history, the Battle of King Mountain in the Revolution, the building of the Clinchfield Railroad, and the TVA are all discussed. The time devoted to the coal conflicts in 1920s West Virginia was especially interesting. Even the senstaional material was informative and entertaining. Overall, Billy Ray Cyrus did a decent job as a host as well. Despite a heavy focus on sensationalism, the documentary was surprisingly sympathetic towards Appalachian people. Even the existence of snake churches is viewed more in the light of religious tolerance in West Virginia than how it could have been portrayed.

On the whole, I recommend the documentary for anyone wanting a brief overview of Appalachia. Just be aware that some of the sensational aspects are perhaps overplayed (though moonshining was in fact very common years ago).
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Doug Bittinger on July 29, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I've lived among the mountain folk of East Tennessee for almost ten years, and while here I've read many histories and watched films and documentaries made on the area. The one I recommend most is The History Channel's Hillbilly: The Real Story, produced by Moore Huntley Productions and hosted by Billy Ray Cyrus. It gives a complete picture of mountain people, where they came from, how their culture developed, why they believe and live as they do and who they have become over the centuries.

Billy Ray journeys into the hollers and runs of Appalachia to discover the proud legacy of the region's mountain folk. Watch it and you will learn how hillbillies, long misunderstood as isolated and backward, actually have a 300-year history of achievement that has contributed significantly to our national identity.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Richard H. Gobeille on February 7, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This entry from "The History Channel" was an eye opener. It allowed me to view my own background, as well as the other people I grew up with in the South, with newfound admiration.
Yes, this DVD does destroy the misconceptions that so many of us who now live up North, are forced to live with.
You're never too old to discover your own history!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Danielle R on March 1, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I saw this on TV and fell in love with Appalachian history. I moved to NC enrolled in app studies at Appalachian State University and I fall more and more in love with the topic matter with each passing day. This movie is a MUST for history buffs. It has broad range and is entertaining while delivering mounds of information. It is so interesting I am always sad to see it end... I wish they would expand and make a part 2.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. Dodd on June 10, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Hillbilly: The Real Story (The History Channel)

I bought it because I wish to understand how my family got from Northumberland in England to the United States and the history since that time of the Applachian people. I know2 a lot more now having watched the DVD.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Commander Awesome on July 12, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I bought this on a whim. i remembered seeing part of this documentary on the History Channel a few years ago and thought it might be worth watching again. Honestly, I'm glad I did. It was very entertaining and had a lot of information that isn't typically addressed in history classes or other documentaries. Billy Ray Cyrus made for an interesting choice for the film. some people have criticized it but they must not have watched this documentary. I thought he did a great job.
If you're looking for another re-hash of the Civil War, this is not for you. It has nothing to do with it. Honestly, I was a little glad the producers skipped that. The Civil War has been covered in a lot of other documentaries and this was not the venue for it.
I'd love to see a sequel. I'm sure there are more stories out there that they couldn't fit in. Any history fan or people with an interest in or ties to Appalachia will probably find this to be quite entertaining.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By T. Bishop on September 1, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The description in my onscreen program guide said, "A look at 200 years of mythic hillbillies". That's a pretty bold pronouncement, but this documentary delivers. While I was born in West Virginia (and have a huge section of family that still lives there and always will), I never really lived there. HILLBILLY really makes me wish I'd paid more attention during all of those childhood visits: moonshining folk heroes who survive a dozen gunshot wounds and then get pardoned by the President. The dreadful cost of building real roads and railroads where they didn't exist before. Big corporations hiring a private army complete with airplanes to try and bust budding unions, and more.

Watch this and find a new level of respect for mountaineers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By therosen VINE VOICE on September 4, 2008
Format: DVD
This is a concise (1 hour 40 minutes) history of the Appalachian people. It's one part hard history, one part legend, and one part myth. The scope is broad, starting at pre-revolutionary times when immigrants migratged West, and moving through the start of NASCAR.

It's hard to make history interesting and relevant, but this documentary does a fine job.
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