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Lewis & Clark - The Journey of the Corps of Discovery (1997)

Hal Holbrook , Adam Arkin , Ken Burns  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (193 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Hal Holbrook, Adam Arkin, John Logan Allen, Stephen Ambrose, Gerard Baker
  • Directors: Ken Burns
  • Writers: Dayton Duncan, Ken Burns
  • Producers: Dayton Duncan, Ken Burns, Pam Tubridy Baucom, Susanna Steisel
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Pbs Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 28, 2001
  • Run Time: 240 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (193 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005MEPN
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,672 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Lewis & Clark - The Journey of the Corps of Discovery" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Charlie Rose interviews with director Ken Burns, author Stephen Ambrose and producer Dayton Duncan
  • "Making-Of" featurette
  • Exclusive Interview: Ken Burns Making History
  • A Conversation With Ken Burns

Editorial Reviews

Sent by President Thomas Jefferson to find the fabled Northwest Passage, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led the most important expedition in American history a voyage of danger and discovery from St. Louis to the headwaters of the Missouri River, over the Continental Divide to the Pacific. It was the United States' first exploration of the West and one of the nation's most enduring adventures. This extraordinary film tells the remarkable story of the entire Corps of Discovery not just the two famous Captains, but the young army men, French-Canadian boatmen, Clark's African-American slave, and the Shoshone woman named Sacagawea, who brought along her infant son. Journey with them all, across a breath-taking landscape in an unforgettable experience that explores both the history and promise of America.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
170 of 173 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An experience in its own right April 20, 2002
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This film makes history live. The Core of Discovery expedition was more than a century and a half before my birth and yet, this film made me feel as if I were a member.
Like other Ken Burns films, it is long. However, like other Ken Burns films, it encouraged me to take my time. I watched the 4 hours one segment at a time in the evenings with dinner over the course of almost two weeks. And what a viewing!
I never knew that the Lewis and Clark expedition was a military expedition. I never knew that Lewis and Clark where military officers and that they took a platoon of soldiers with them. I never knew that they took plant and animal samples, including sending a live ground hog back to Thomas Jefferson.
I never knew that the expedition was called the Core of Discovery or that these two incredible military officers took so many soldiers such an incredible distance over the course of years and lost only one, who was lost to a disease that most likely no one could have cured at the time. I never knew that they drew the first map of most of the United States, using only dead reconning and were accurate to withing 40 miles of the actual distance despite their primative instruments and a distance of some 4,000 miles! I never knew these men were so incredible. And, I never knew that Merriweather Lewis was so incredibly depressed that he died, "I'm sorry to say," by suicide.
This film is so personal, I felt the tears that the historian on the film displayed when he told of Lewis' death. He died more than a century before my birth and yet, by the time I was finished with the film, I felt pain for his death, anger at York's difficulty gaing his freedom and sadness at the passing of the Shoshone Indian lady guide Sakajeya.
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77 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Travel with the Corps of Discovery September 25, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I absolutely love this movie. Something about the Lewis & Clark expedition appeals to the adventurer in each of us. The United States as a country is less than 30 years old on May 14, 1804, as Lewis & Clark leave with Jefferson's "the Corps of Discovery" on their famous expedition to explore the west. The photography of this DVD is stunningly beautiful, the music hauntingly reminiscent of the early 1800's. The story is told through reading excerpts from the Corps' diaries and journals, beautiful photography, and interviews with Dayton Duncan (writer), John Logan Allen (geographer), Stephen E. Ambrose (historian), William Least Heat-Moon (writer), James P. Ronda (historian), Mylie Lawyer (Twisted Hair Descendant), and others. This movie leaves the sense of having travelled with the Lewis & Clark expedition and having seen the beautiful country with their eyes, as you hear their words and see the land they saw.

As stated of the Corps of Discovery in the movie's Introduction, "They were beginning the most important expedition in American History, the United States' first official exploration into unknown spaces, and a glimpse into the future of their young nation. They would become the first United States citizens to experience the Great Plains, the immensity of its skies, the rich splendor of its wildlife, the harsh rigor of its winters. They would be the first United States citizens to see the daunting peaks of the Rocky Mountains, the first to struggle over them, the first to cross the Continental Divide -- to where the rivers flow west. And after encountering cold, hunger, danger, and wonders beyond belief, they would become the first of their nation to reach the Pacific Ocean by land. It would be the greatest adventure of their lives. . . It's a great story.
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72 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant June 23, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
I had always thought that "Baseball" and "The Civil War" were very good films. However, as good as they are, they do not compare to "Lewis and Clark." The job which Burns did in blending images of the time period, the west, and the telling of a true American story through the words of historians such as Dayton Duncan and Stephen Ambrose, as well as the narration of a script which included journal entries of several members of the Corps, was marvelous. Before seeing this documentary, I had never appreciated the difficulties, hardships, and dangers which Captains Lewis and Clark and the rest of the Corps of Discovery had to meet and overcome, nor did I ever appreciate the fact that these men were, in every sense of the word, heroes. I would recommend this tape for anyone who has an even slight interest in American History. This documentary draws your emotions into it, and is perhaps as close as an average person can ever come to feeling the emotions of triumph, tragedy, excitment, fear, apprehension, and patriotism which the member of the members of the corps felt. A trueley wonderful film and well worth the cost.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History taught the way it was meant to be taught! December 10, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
Being a product of the deep south I am well versed in the Civil War. But "Lewis and Clark" was pared down to "some guys who went west." I never realized the undertaking that these courageous people endeavored to accomplish. This is a moving and touching film that reaches the explorer deep inside everyone. And, to think Ken Burns did not major in history! I loved it so much I bought several copies for friends. What else can one say as an endorsement? Thanks Ken Burns for bringing this monumental adventure to life.
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