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American Experience: New York 1 Season 2003

Season 1
4.7 out of 5 stars (955) IMDb 8.4/10

Directed by Ric Burns, an award-winning and elegant, lyrical and compelling portrait of the greatest and most complex of cities.

Starring:
David Ogden Stiers, Thomas Bender
Original air date:
September 30, 2003

Available to watch on supported devices.

Buy Episode 1 SD $3.99
Buy Season 1 SD $29.99

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Season 1

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1. New York: The Country and the City (1609-1825)

Episode one begins in 1609 and chronicles the arrival of the Dutch.

CC TV-PG November 14, 1999 1 hour, 51 minutes
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2. New York: Order and Disorder (1825-1865)

Episode two looks at New York's rise as a burgeoning cultural center and multi-ethnic port.

CC TV-PG November 15, 1999 1 hour, 53 minutes
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3. New York: Sunshine and Shadow (1865-1898)

Episode three turns the spotlight on greed and wealth.

CC TV-PG November 16, 1999 1 hour, 50 minutes
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4. New York: The Power and the People (1898-1918)

Episode four follows New York into a new century.

CC TV-PG November 17, 1999 1 hour, 53 minutes
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5. New York: Cosmopolis (1918-1931)

Episode five tells the African-American experience and the birth of the new media industries.

CC TV-PG November 18, 1999 1 hour, 53 minutes
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6. New York: City of Tomorrow (1929-1945)

Episode six reveals the immense new forces were unleashed in New York.

CC TV-PG September 30, 2001 1 hour, 53 minutes
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7. New York: The City and the World (1945-2000)

Episode seven chronicles the history of New York from the end of the Second World War to the present.

CC TV-PG October 1, 2001 2 hours, 16 minutes
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8. New York: The Center of the World (1946-2003)

This final chapter provides a powerful portrait of the events leading up to and following 9/11, reaching back to when the idea of a "world trade center" was first conceived and the towers were constructed. Explore the physical, economic, and symbolic aftermath of the attack and what Americans can learn from the recovery effort.

CC TV-PG September 30, 2003 2 hours, 57 minutes
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Product Details

Genres Documentary
Director Ric Burns
Starring David Ogden Stiers, Thomas Bender
Supporting actors Carol Berkin, Calvin O. Butts III, Caleb Carr, E.L. Doctorow, Brendan Gill, Rudy Giuliani, John Steele Gordon, Nancy Groce, Nancy Grose, Kenneth Jackson, Margo Jefferson, Fran Lebowitz, Philip Lopate, Phillip Lopate, David McCullough, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Peter Quinn, Luc Sante
Season year 2003
Network PBS
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
If you are interested in a thorough but entertaining history of New York City this is as good as it gets. Ric Burns provides plenty of details but doesn't forget that part of the reason viewers are watching is to have some fun too. Eight DVDS may seem like too much but with a city like New York it is surprising how quickly the show passes by, this collection is large enough to give you a serious history of the topic without getting too complicated. If you are looking for a travel guide to NYC this isn't for you, if you are a sports fan look elsewhere, don't expect a guide to theatre or restaurants either. This DVD set is meant as a visual history course of America's, if not the world's, most fascinating city.
6 Comments 145 of 148 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is the definitive gift for anyone who loves New York City. The series is presented in easily digestible pieces and all the episodes draw you into a period in NYC's history and give you a good understanding of what makes the City so unique. The final episode, about the building and the destruction of the World Trade Center, will touch your heart as well as your mind.
Comment 39 of 39 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Perhaps the very best documentary on any subject ever produced...a gargantuan, incomprehensible effort, amassing a haunting and romantic archive of original film footage, photographs, print, vintage cartography, and priceless commentary by various cultural luminaries and historians. Spellbinding from first episode to the last...I found myself not wanting it to end. The series presents a broad tapestry of New York's history with an emphasis on the indomitable and resilient human spirit above all else. Ric Burns succeeds with a definitive masterpiece and tribute to New York in a unique style that captures one's imagination while tugging at the heart. If history had been taught with this medium when I was in school, it would have made the difference between passing marginally or with excellence. This DVD set is a treasure and one which I will revisit again and again. I highly recommend the amended version with 8 DVD discs, including the final post-9/11 disc.
4 Comments 49 of 53 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
As a lover of both film and history, this is undoubtably the best documentary I've ever seen. I was awed at Ric Burns ability to make the city a living breathing character with as much trials and tribulations as any great character in history. At times I forgot I was watching a documentary, because I was so dramatically tuned into the story.

With ample time devoted to it's many evolutions, each chapter is both informative and facinating. I have watched the entire series many times, and I am always amazed at how emotionally moving the legacy of this great city really is.

For the record, I have never been to New York, but I feel I will have a tremendous historic and cultural insight, when I eventually do.
1 Comment 14 of 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
The life of any great city exists on three levels - social, political and cultural. What is surprising about this documentary is how well it succeeds at presenting the first two aspects of New York, while failing so miserably at addressing the third. While I agree that a film should be evaluated on the basis of what it intended to do and not on what one thinks it should have done, it is difficult not to be critical of this omission, especially in a film with a running time approaching 18 hours.

What Ric Burns and his team have done here is present an exhaustive history of a great American city, with particular focus on the political figures at the center of it all. Peter Stuyvesant, Boss Tweed, F.H. LaGuardia, Robert Moses and countless others are given extensive coverage, as are the lives of the immigrant population that were affected, for better or worse, by these political giants. We see the various crises, upheavals and tragedies that went on to shape the city, and how the lives of its residents adapted, often with great difficulty, to the city's changes and growth.

And yet those who know New York as a center of American culture will quickly notice something missing in this film. We see the great influx of immigrants but we learn little to nothing about how these different cultures went on to form the great melting pot. The creation of ethnic neighborhoods like Chinatown and Little Italy are given only a passing mention. New York institutions like the Italian market and the Jewish deli are never seen, despite New York's position as the multicultural food capital of the world. The great Gilded Age of New York, as recounted by literary giants like Henry James and Edith Wharton, is virtually ignored. (Burns is somewhat more successful with F.
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11 Comments 44 of 58 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
For those who love NY, this series will make you fall in love with NY all over again. Its an easy, entertaining way to get a rich history of NY.
Comment 17 of 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By K. Fox on February 8, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
My dad has always been a huge history buff. When I moved to New York a few years ago, he became very interested in the history of the city, it's subways, etc. This past Christmas, I bought this collection for him. My father, who can't sit through a movie longer than an hour without falling asleep, watched the entire collection over the course of a week and is now watching other Ric Burns collections. Now, both dad and I know more about my new home and I have a running order for next Christmas!
3 Comments 13 of 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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