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The History Channel Presents The Presidents

4.3 out of 5 stars 120 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(May 31, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

THE PRESIDENTS is an unprecedented eight-part survey of the personal lives and legacies of the remarkable men who have presided over the Oval Office. From George Washington to George W. Bush, THE PRESIDENTS gathers together vivid snapshots of all 43 Commanders in Chief who have guided America throughout its history--their powerful personalities, weaknesses, and major achievements or historical insignificance. Based on the book To the Best of My Ability, edited by Pulitzer Prize-winner James McPherson, THE PRESIDENTS features rare and unseen photographs and footage, unexpected insight and trivia from journalists, scholars, and politicians such as Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, Wesley Clark, Bob Dole, and former President Jimmy Carter. Viewed within the changing contexts of each administration, the Presidency has never seemed more compelling and human. Narrated by Edward Herrmann (The Aviator), this three-DVD set is a proud addition to the award-winning documentary tradition of THE HISTORY CHANNEL®. DVD Features: Feature-length Bonus Program "All The Presidents' Wives"; Timeline of U.S. Presidents; Interactive Menus; Scene Selection

Special Features

  • Feature-length Bonus Program "All The Presidents' Wives"
  • Timeline of U.S. Presidents
  • Interactive Menus
  • Scene Selection

Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: May 31, 2005
  • Run Time: 360 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007VY3ZK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,664 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

The History Channel re-aired this series recently in a marathon one Saturday. I was at work, and it was a slow day, and we happened to turn on the TV when the programs were up to about Abraham Lincoln, in the early afternoon. For the remainder of the day, besides a few minutes here and there of having to take phone calls, my co-worker and I were absolutely glued to the TV. When 4:00 came around, I got home as quick as I could, and my fiancee and I saw and watched at least another hour of the program together.

Of course, the programs are not as in-depth as some of the more serious history buffs might have hoped for, but they were great for providing not only a general overview of each President's administration, but also for giving you a sense of the feel of the times in which each President lived; plus there was plenty of misc. trivia along the way - "useless information", as I like to call it - and I loved that, as well, because it's just interesting stuff that you would never hear in a history class.

My fiancee and I intend to buy this program and show it to our kids one day, because it seemed very much to us like something that would be good for them, and we plan to put a lot of work into their education.

In short, we HIGHLY RECOMMEND this series.
10 Comments 168 of 174 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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I absolutely LOVED this program and have learned so much from it. the ONLY criticism I have is that, in the beginning segment of each president, they have a little info card that flashes accross the screen so fast, you can't read it all unless you pause your dvd.

other than that, it is an absolute wealth of information. I have so much more respect for the presidents now. it seems that just about every one of them - even the 'bad' ones - really tried to make this country better. so many institutions and organizations were made from these presidents, and I didn't even know that until I saw this.
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2003's "The History Channel Presents The Presidents" is a nicely done survey of our first 43 presidents. Each President gets a concise description of their time in office, buttressed by short commentary from various historians and a few prominent personalties. The segements include paintings, pictures, photography, and as we get closer to the present, motion pictures of each man.

No great historical depth is promised or delivered here. The intended audience is clearly the general viewer, many of whom will have forgotten some of the more obscure presidents. The narration is short, punchy, and tone-neutral. For presidents who served before the era of widely-available television, video dating as far back as the terms of William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, turns these men from statues into real, breathing, moving human beings in context.

This DVD series is highly recommended as an introduction to the history of our presidents, suitable for a wide variety of interested viewers.
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The History Channel has come up with a series about our presidents, that is steeped in trivia, without being too deep, and is something from which even Sean Hannity could learn. Our presidents are divided into three DVD's with a bonus feature about some of the wives, very few of whom interested me outside of Eleanor Roosevelt.

This production can tell you who the first re-elected Democrat was since Andrew Jackson, who was the first president from West Point, who was the first born west of the Mississippi, who were grandfather and grandson presidents, who was the only Ph.D. or ordained preacher, where the candy bar, "Baby Ruth" came from, and which Republican president challenged the captains of industry and won. One of my favorites was an actress who sat beside President Calvin Coolidge at a dinner. She turned to him and said, "I bet I can make you say more than two words during dinner." "You lose," he replied.

The series provides an endless stream of information about each of them. A scroll announces each president by habit, personality and temperment, home state, and age upon taking office. Narrator Edward Herman continues telling something about each one. It ends with George W. Bush. The series was circulated in 2004.

I've had this for many months now, but yesterday was one of those lazy, rainy, nothing-to-do days that was perfect for watching "The Presidents." I recommend it for one of yours.

There is going to be a sequel: The History Channel Presents the Vice Presidents.

Just kidding!
12 Comments 11 of 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Like a previous reviewer, this is my first-ever review on amazon because I felt this series was absolutely butchered by the editing and use of images.

Not only do the images flash across the screen so quickly that you cannot absorb them and they give you a headache, but it is done in a repetitive and even misleading manner. In a series about all the american presidents you'd expect to see a few shots of the white house. However, the same shot of the white house is used over and over and over, and when you get tired of that, they shoot it from a different angle and show that over and over and over. It's very distracting to watch. It's almost like they couldn't think of anything for an image half the time, so they went to that tired old shot of the white house, over and over again. I think if they put some time into it they could have found hundreds of paintings, photographs, newspaper articles, statues, locations and objects to shoot video of. Heck, even more shots of the inside of the white house would have mixed it up some.

Worse than that is the inherent misleading nature of presenting modern video (with cars!) of the white house, capitol or Washington, D.C. while you are talking about events 200 years ago. The entire city of Washington looked very different than it does today and 80% of the presented video is not accurate to the time period it is talking about. They constantly zoom in on the capitol dome when the dome was not finished until 1863, and constantly show the wrong facade of the white house for the period. At one point they talk about John Adams creating the U.S. Navy while they show a jet landing on an aircraft carrier and a submarine surface (but no shots of any ships of the period).
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