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  • Liberty - The American Revolution [VHS]
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Liberty - The American Revolution [VHS]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Jane Adams, Peter Donaldson, Colm Feore, Victor Garber, Anthony Heald
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 3
  • Studio: Pbs Home Video
  • VHS Release Date: June 9, 1998
  • Run Time: 360 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0780620135
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,083 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Featuring dramatic readings from letters and diaries of the period plus live-action re-creations, this compelling series traces the events leading up to the war and America's fight for freedom. In 1763, the French have left and America is at peace under British rule. But dissension is mounting, signified by the Boston Tea Party and publication of Tom Paine's book, Common Sense. Follow the course of revolution as George Washington assumes leadership, Benjamin Franklin goes to France seeking support, and ordinary Americans come together in a conflict that will forge a new nation.

< P>Titles are: "The Reluctant Revolutionaries," "The Times that Try Men's Souls," and "Are We to be a Nation?"

Customer Reviews

This video set is definitely in keeping with the usual high standards that one expects to see in a PBS production.
Joseph B. Cox Jr.
As an avid student of the American Revolution, this particular series, which covers many aspects of the war, was extremely insightful.
Jason Hostutler (Adventur18@aol.com)
Using the actual words from letters and diaries, actors portray the people of the American Revolution, giving "Liberty!
Denise M. Brady

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

146 of 149 people found the following review helpful By tropic_of_criticism on March 14, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Perhaps better than any other filmed expedition into the Revolutionary past, LIBERTY! explains the WHY of the American uprising. Others have faulted it for being militarily incomplete, but this is its principle strength, in my view. Far too often, history is comprised of the accounts of battles. Here, though, the producers chose to focus on the dream of liberty more than its attainment. To be sure, important battles get their due, but the emphasis here is on a war won more through propaganda and promises than by musket and steel.
The producers are out to tell a story as much as the truth, and so know they have to start at the beginning. Many accounts of the times seem to skip glibly over the predominant happiness with British rule that most colonists felt, but not LIBERTY! Instead, it goes to great lengths to put viewers back in colonial America, so they can understand how improbable it was that the people of the time would've imagined themselves divorced from England. Unlike many accounts, LIBERTY! Is unafraid to take the opposing British viewpoint, and to include British historians. This documentary, indeed, sees the arguments from all sides, and shows just how reluctance turned to resolve. More to the point, it shows both sides as equally hotheaded and responsible for the war.
Indeed, the commitment to explain the conflict in human terms is so prevalent in this work, that actors hired to play various key figures propel the basic storyline as much as the narrator. Best of all, every word these actors speak comes from a documented primary source. Choosing to have the figures themselves partially tell the story adds great personal interest while moving the drama of the larger conflict swiftly along.
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85 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Richard C. Burrows on February 7, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Having spent a good deal of time watching the various DVDs telling the story of the American Revolution, I was definitely most excited by this one. Not everything gets in there, but that's also what helps it to move right along in an intriguing, coherent way that keeps at a high level my interest, excitement and appreciation of what the founders accomplished. I want this DVD set to have in order to loan it far and wide, as I believe there is no longer sufficient awareness of the greatness of what happened in "our revolution."
It's true that "The History Channel Presents the Revolution" is more complete; but it also gets cumbersome--even confusing--in places, AND it completely leaves out the (to me) highly significant role that Thomas Paine played in moving the common man toward supporting the revolution. (I understand how some of his later writings irked the "fundamental religionists"--his religious ideas being much closer to those of Thomas Jefferson than those of the typical colonialist; but I also wonder if it's not current-day fundamentalist views that have kept Paine out of such historical portrayals and out of the praise due him as one of our crucial Founding Fathers.)
The DVD "Founding Fathers" is a good supplement; but it's "Liberty" that really captures my enthusiasm. Let me urge you to buy it to watch and loan on every 4th of July -- as an act of Patriotism !!
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Kellyannl on November 26, 2000
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I have found this amazing documentary miniseries to be essential pre-July 4 viewing every year.
Yes, you may feel your favorite battle or historical figure have been given short shrift - but this is the price paid for keeping the story from being bogged down and uneven, and almost every aspect of the revolution is covered to some extent.
The actors giving readings of actual letters written by their characters could hardly have been better - you really feel like you're in the trenches with them. Everyone from generals down to footsoldiers have something to say to us, and we learn about the war from those fighting the war on the battlefields and in Independence Hall.
This is, above all, an eye-opener for those who think the Patriots were all saints and the British all devils. Those on both sides were all just mere mortals, some committing unspeakable atrocities and others trying to do what they thought was right for their countries at a time when it wasn't clear who was guilty of treason. If you're at all interested in the revolution, this one is not to be missed.
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127 of 141 people found the following review helpful By Cope on July 16, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This collection was well researched and well made. The actors portraying the major players of the Revolution were very believable. The set is what it is; a great to start scratching your Revolutionary itch. However, it is glaringly lacking in some areas. For one, the complete brushing over of the entire Philadelphia Campaign. The only battle that even received mention was Brandywine. The rest of the action around Philadelphia went unmentioned, including the infamous winter at Valley Forge. The war in the South could have been more thoroughly addressed, also. Much like the History Channels "American Revolution" these video collections are entertaining and provide some fillers and portraits of human interest but the true Revolutionary enthusiast will come away disappointed. Keep your noses in the books for indepth treatment of this time period.
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