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John Adams [Blu-ray] (2009)

Paul Giamatti , Laura Linney , Tom Hooper  |  NR |  Blu-ray
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,900 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney, Stephen Dillane, John Dossett, Sarah Polley
  • Directors: Tom Hooper
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Color, DTS Surround Sound, Widescreen, Subtitled
  • Language: English (DTS-HD High Res Audio), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: October 21, 2014
  • Run Time: 560 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,900 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001684L0A
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,903 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "John Adams [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Special Features

Facts Are Stubborn Things: an exclusive onscreen historical guide

Who's Who in History: character biographies

David McCullough: Painting with Words: A rare and personal glimpse at the life and works of author David McCullough

The Making of John Adams featurette


Editorial Reviews

John Adams (BD)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
427 of 449 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Exciting Story July 30, 2008
Format:DVD
Each night I turned on the HBO feature anxious to see a good dramatic series, and learn about my country's struggle for life through one its most underrated founding fathers, John Adams.

Paul Giamatti's performance in the title role is much in dispute as he, like many other actors, seems to play himself as much as his character. He turns from a loving father to the lawyer and representative who sometimes looks apoplectic rather than just an angry or fiery patriot. Much to his credit, I felt the John Adams of later years on subsequent episodes was extremely well-acted.

Abigail Adams is played by Laura Linney, and her performance is superb and not the least in dispute. From the first moment, she is thoroughly credible as the vivacious lover, friend, confidante, advisor, and wife of John Adams. Her acting here should garner her an Emmy. The actors protraying Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson turned in stellar performances.

Many complain that this did not follow the book of the same title, and was not true to history exactly. To the first query the answer is what does? To the second, it is a well-written and well-acted drama that deserves our attention.

The series begins with the Boston Massacre and John Adams representing the British soldiers. With his successful defense, he is noticed by the Crown, as well as the colonials who are striving for independence. Both want his services. Adams chooses independence over the king and we see him as representative, foreign minister, beggar and borrower, ambassador, vice president, and president. His one anchor through these assignments and occupations in the struggle of a new nation is his love and respect for his wife, Abigail whom he always refers to as "my friend.
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577 of 627 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars John Adams (HBO Miniseries) April 14, 2008
Format:DVD
I read David McCullough's GREAT book in anticipation of this miniseries. McCullough painted a picture of a man and a time that I found fascinating; a picture of a hardworking, sensitive (maybe mildly obsessive-compulsive in terms of his emotional high and lows) genius. I found the first few episodes excellent, albeit different from the book. It is the last few episodes that have really affected my view on this series.

The series insists on focusing on Adams' lows. It seems the writers took all the depressing elements of McCullough's book, which were few, and magnified those to center stage. For instance, John Adams' alcoholic son Charles has a major part in the series, but played a relatively minor role in the book. The mudslinging between Jefferson and Adams in Adams' second election for president was jettisoned for the Charles Adams storyline. Also, Adams, presented by McCullough, was a good natured man with a self-deprecating sense of humor. In the series he seems to live in misery.

They also took scenes that were generally upbeat and made them darker. When Adams meets King George III (in my opinion the climax of the story - or at least the first half of the story) in the book, the King is very polite and friendly (much like his portrayal in The Madness of King George III). He smiled a lot and made Adams more comfortable, if not less in awe. In the series the King is just plain weird. I can only guess the filmmakers were hinting at King George's future illness/madness. It's almost as if this series is based on another book about John Adams - a darker book. This series really missed the tone of McCullough's great book.

Still -- divorcing myself from the book -- I find this series is well-made and held my attention. Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney are very good. My advice would be to watch the series first, then read the book for a much more uplifting story.
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186 of 201 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Takes you to that heady time March 31, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Like many others, I am seeing the series as they come out on HBO, and have yet to read the book (which I intend to at some point). The series features great acting, poignant scenes, and memorable oratory. But what really got me was how it transported you to that time, when life was a series of great heroics, but was also harsh, gritty, and so unforgiving. The series kept sending me to try and research different historial events that I remembered fleetingly reading about, in one line or a few paragraphs during unfortunately uninspiring history classes of many years ago. The concept of being "tarred and feathered" took a whole new dimension for me, as the brutality of that era touched everyone, rightly or wrongly. I am sure I would have more to say once I have finished seeing the series, but I cannot stop thinking about the different scenes. I recommend it to everyone very highly, and can't wait for the DVD to come out.
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73 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "must see" for every red-blooded American. June 2, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
John Adams: deeply principaled, no-nonsence, ornery, lawful good, brilliant, fallible, passionate founder of our country. This is the story of the unbridled defiance, the shrewd intellect, and the angry pounding fist that tore the American colonies from British rule and gave birth to one of the greatest experiments in the history of the world - the United States of America. Stunning and haunting, this is John Adams like you've never seen him. Myth and poetry have been stripped away to reveal the far-more-fascinating, truly-human story of one of the greatest men who has ever lived.

Giamatti is simply brilliant as Adams. If he doesn't win the Emmy for this, I may declare my own independance from the "dark tyranny" of the ATAS. Linney is equally wonderful in her portrayal as the groundingly sapient Abigail. Their love story is one of the greatest in American history, and it's been marvelously recaptured here.

If it's even possible to have "spoilers" for a factual historical drama, then the following might qualify, but if you want to see what each eposide covers, here's my stab at it:

Episode 1: Join or Die.
Begins with the Boston Massacre, and covers the period leading up to Adams departure for Philidelphia to represent Massachusettes in the First Continental Congress.

Episode 2: Independance.
Covers the First Continental Congress, the beginning of the American Revolution at Lexington and Concord, the nomination of GW (by Adams) to serve as general of the new Continental Army, the Second Continental Congress, and Adams collaboration with Jefferson and Franklin to bring forth the Declaration of Independance.

Episode 3: Don't Tread on Me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Talked about it for days and then bought my Father a copy as a gift.
Published 3 minutes ago by De
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Acting was superb.
Published 4 minutes ago by Jeanne V.
5.0 out of 5 stars I thoroughly enjoyed watching this series
I thoroughly enjoyed watching this series. My husband has the book this series is based on and I never took the time to read it. Read more
Published 41 minutes ago by Fran Ellett
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
History brought to life
Published 3 hours ago by Carl J. Worden
5.0 out of 5 stars Remember our past...preserve its memory
Acting excellent...an eye opener and reminder of another period in our history and their way of life. Loved it.
Published 9 hours ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved this series, historically informative, rich in character
Published 14 hours ago by s.billings
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Paul Giamatti and Laura Kinney make this program work. Outstanding
Published 15 hours ago by Lon James
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring portrayal of founding fathers
Inspiring to see founding fathers as real people in the midst of both normal and extraordinary circumstances. My 13-year old son enjoyed this as much as I did.
Published 19 hours ago by James Adams
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Riveting
Published 21 hours ago by Pat
5.0 out of 5 stars Great portrayal of our founding fathers and mothers
Great portrayal of our founding fathers and mothers. Just rewatched on my new 55" TV and found it even better filming/acting than I remembered it to be
Published 22 hours ago by Jim Standlee
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