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New York - The Center of the World (Part 8)

4.7 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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(Sep 09, 2003)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In this final chapter of Ric Burns's acclaimed series New York: A Documentary Film, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE presents a powerful portrait of the events leading up to and away from the fall of 2001. It chronicles the construction of the towers and explores the astonishing expansion of American economic power during the second half of the twentieth century.

From the Back Cover

In this eighth and final installment of New York: A Documentary Film, Ric Burns explores the history of the construction of the Twin Towers; how the city came to be the world's financial power house; the events that culminated with the attacks on September 11, 2001; and the aftermath and recovery of the city and her people. END

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: David Ogden Stiers, Louis Armstrong, Mrs. Vincent Astor, Abraham Beame, Irving Berlin
  • Directors: Ric Burns
  • Producers: Donald Rosenfeld, Helen Kaplan
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Pbs Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 9, 2003
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000AQS6X
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,204 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "New York - The Center of the World (Part 8)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Having felt, like many, that I had seen every take on the story of the World Trade Center and Sept. 11 I wasn't exactly looking for this film. In fact, I only found this film when I paused my surfing of the news channels to see what was on Maryland Public Television. But within a few minutes I found myself drawn deeply into the story. Burns has done a masterful job of weaving the history of the WTC buildings and the broader history of New York as the financial "Center of the World." Poetic, moving and beautifully told, this wonderful film is his best work yet.
Since I missed the first half hour when I caught it on TV, I immediately bought the DVD and am glad I did. I have watched the film through several times and remain completely engaged with every viewing and have even watched the bonus material (something I rarely bother with). I am already thinking of who to share this with as a gift.
One last quick note, I read one review here that complained about strange cropping of the images and interviewees names being cut off. I can only imagine that that reviewer's player must have been incorrectly set to widescreen instead of letter-boxed and they were viewing on a standard 4x3 television so they lost the left and right sides of the image due to the improper settings. I experienced none of this (the film appears as letterboxed on my standard 4x3 television) and remain impressed with this beautiful and moving film.
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Format: DVD
This 8th installment of the Ric Burns' documentary series, "New York", is a fascinatingly-absorbing tale of the rise and fall of the iconic World Trade Center.
Spanning a full three hours in length, "New York Episode Eight: The Center Of The World", provides the viewer an intense, in-depth look into the planning, development, construction, and sad demise of the famous Twin Towers in Manhattan, complete with breathtaking aerial views of the behemoths during construction and after completion.
The story of the complex and almost Herculean task of creating the massive World Trade Center is skillfully and entertainingly weaved on this program utilizing new interview footage, intercut with archival video footage of the day.
I like the fact that Director Ric Burns doesn't rush to tell the story at a mile-a-minute pace. The saga of these great buildings evolves at a more leisurely, relaxed pace during the program.
The sheer scope of what we lost in just a few short seconds as the Towers crumbled into dust on September 11, 2001, might not be fully realized until viewing a program like this one, which provides many of the statistics and specifications for the Trade Center's combined 220 stories.
Also included on the program is a detailed account of the fascinating tale of high-wire artist Philippe Petit, who, on August 7, 1974, walked from the top of one tower to the other, 1,360 feet above the streets of New York. In all, Petit spent 45 minutes walking (and dancing) from one tower to the other, making a total of eight passes between the immense structures. This program shows many spectacular pictures of Petit carrying out his death-defying and one-of-a-kind performance. A performance which, for many people, "humanized" the bulky steel Towers.
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Comment 13 of 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I was there. Half a mile away. Saw the whole damn thing.
I was on the street within 2 or 3 minutes of the first plane hitting. I saw the second plane hit tower 2.
No matter what you saw on TV, you can't imagine.
It was a day of extraordinary power and emotion, fear, sorrow and loss, surreal - the knowledge that you'd seen something as profound as the JFK assination, the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Epic in scale, gobal in impact, yet inherently intimate. Your own personal disaster movie.
Even still,
This Ric Burns film is an amazing thing. It's just great. I've watched it a dozen times and I don't get tired of it - the writing, the music, the history, the wisdom - the personal feelings of a diverse and meaningful group of New Yorkers. It's historic, epic, emotional - up to the task of documenting the impact of 9/11 on New York.
It represents all the things that make New York great: ambition, literacy, reflection, humanity, wonder, perspective. The use of Philippe Petit - the French high wire man - as a linking device...was inspired.
A stunning thing.
1 Comment 17 of 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
You've just got to buy this DVD. It's about the World Trade Center, but it's really about so much more. It gives the history of the Towers from their inception in the 50s (I believe) to the aftermath of 9/11. David Ogden Stiers (Winchester of MASH) narrates it with power and grace. People connected with New York City give their perspectives on the buildings in the most poetic of ways. There are too many to mention here, but Pete Hamill (the writer), Guy Tozzoli (President of the WTC Association), and Mario Cuomo are among the standouts.

But best of all is Phillipe Petit, who did an electrifying tightwire show between the towers back in the 70s. His performance humanized these huge, cold buildings (to paraphrase Hamill from the film). Petit brings a love of life, New York City, and especially the World Trade Center to the proceedings that makes his segment the "Center of the Center of the World." The documentary "Man On Wire" covers the event in more detail.

So go order this episode right now. It's historic, informative, entertaining, moving, educational, witty, heartwrenching, and any other positive thing you can say about a 3 hour film. PBS gets a lot of flack for their programming, but they achieved perfection with this baby.
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