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The War: A Film by Ken Burns [Blu-ray]

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Editorial Reviews

THE WAR a new seven-part documentary series directed and produced by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick explores the history and horror of the Second World War from an American perspective by following the fortunes of so-called ordinary men and women who become caught up in one of the greatest cataclysms in human history. Six years in the making this epic 14-hour film focuses on the stories of citizens from four geographically distributed American towns - Waterbury Connecticut; Mobile Alabama; Sacramento California; and the tiny farming town of Luverne Minnesota. These four communities stand in for - and could represent - any town in the United States that went through the war's four devastating years. Individuals from each community take the viewer through their own personal and quite often harrowing journeys into war painting vivid portraits of how the war dramatically altered their lives and those of their neighbors as well as the country they helped to save for generations to come.


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Box set, Closed-captioned, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Pbs (Direct)
  • DVD Release Date: January 2, 2013
  • Run Time: 900 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,198 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007BMIFI4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,243 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

319 of 332 people found the following review helpful By BK on September 25, 2007
Format: DVD
This series is not a comprehensive account of the Second World War - it was not meant to be. It is unabashedly Americentric - and a "Peoples History" of WWII. It does not chronicle every detail of American involvement in places like North Africa( for that, read Rick Atkinson's Pulitzer winner An Army at Dawn - 5 stars). There are no generals or politicians. It fails to chronicle the struggles of my in-laws during the Blitz or much of the suffering felt around the globe during this terrible period of our history. It is not the BBC's The World at War. Why remake The World at War? I was fortunate enough to attend the premier in Waterbury Connecticut, where Mr. Burns addressed all of these issues. The War tries to convey how this momentous period defined the lives in four American towns that could really be Anytown, USA. It tries to explain why my grandfather has never really been able to speak about his experiences and his refrain of, "I don't need to see the movie, I starred in the original." It also explains much about my grandmother and the world my parents grew up in. Some of the hundreds of veterans at the screening were watching with their families for the first time what they had spent half a century trying to forget and had never been able to talk about. The emotion in the Palace Theater by the end of the screening was almost overwhelming. Most of the men who fought this war are dead, and the rest soon will be. The documentary tries to capture what remains of their stories before it is too late. I doubt most of the men fighting over there were as overly concerned with a complete picture and full understanding of the war as they were staying alive and hoping to return home. Few documentaries have explored in great depth the homefront beyond the newsreels of Rosie the Riveter.Read more ›
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177 of 187 people found the following review helpful By Axton Blessendon, Jr. on September 25, 2007
Format: DVD
It sure would be nice if people would quit trying to project their own agendas onto this documentary. Ken Burns didn't set out to make the ultimate World War Two narrative; just because a bunch of people expected that he would, doesn't mean that his film is somehow lacking.

Burns did exactly what he said he was going to do: tell the American experience of World War Two from the point of view of everyday, average American citizens.

I'm sure that Burns and co-producer Lynn Novick would be the first to agree that viewers looking for more "big picture" information (about political alliances, military strategy, technological development, the war's global impact) would do well to supplement this series with other sources of information. Burns isn't telling those stories, and the omissions are on purpose. This film looks at the war from a different angle, adding a new layer of social history to the big stories that have already been told. I think people should judge this work on the merits of the goals that Burns set out for himself, and not simply project their own personal historical and political wishlists onto it. (Axton)
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248 of 277 people found the following review helpful By Diane M. Crook on September 30, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
After watching the latest episode of "The War" - FUBAR...I now know why my father who served this county during WW II did not like Thanksgiving. All those years of never knowing, and to learn 20 years after his death why he felt the way he did. I'm sure that by the end of the series, I will understand why he felt the same about Christmas. Till the day he died, he refused to talk about being a Army medic in WW II. I have kept all the letters he and my mother wrote each other during this time. I've never been able to read these letters, but now feel it is time to do so.......My prayers and respect for all who served. For those still alive - God Bless.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Hui Chen on October 1, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
After watching the HBO DVD program "Band of Brothers" this summer I became interested in WWII history. As a late baby-boomer I had forgotten much of what I had ever learned about this time period other than Pearl Harbor, D-day, and the two atom bombs the US dropped on Japan.

Ken Burns has done an outstanding job with this new series. He tells the history of the war in it its many theaters, but more importantly, he tells the history from the average person's viewpoint. This is what makes the series sometimes hard to watch because it makes the horrors of war all too real. Hearing a private fighting in the Phillipines realize that his life is "expendable", hearing a d-day veteran who lost his brother in the same campaign say that he would have rather returned without his arms and legs than without his brother, seeing the massive toll of lives in lesser known (at least to my generation) operations such as market garden brings the history of this war into our hearts and minds. I've learned about America's isolationist policy before entering the war as well as much more detail about the war. It was a horrible war and my heart aches for all of the lives lost. I hope this scope of war is never again fought on our planet. This is why I'm purchasing this series - for my children to watch and learn from when they are old enough. This is history that should not be forgotten. Thank you Ken Burns.
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54 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Lynn R. Fairbanks on October 6, 2007
Format: DVD
I think people should see all seven parts before passing judgment. A recent review labeled THE WAR "garbage", indicating it was too "feminist". If this person had seen the episode entitled FUBAR and Burns' description of the Peleliu campaign, she would, I think, feel otherwise. Burns relied on the reminisces of E.B. Sledge whose WITH THE OLD BREED AT PELELIU AND OKINAWA is largely considered one of the finest memoirs to come out of the Pacific war, if not the entire war itself. The segment shows horrific footage of the savage fighting on the island and is anything but "girly", an extremely immature and poorly chosen term, especially for college student. In my estimation THE WAR is the most unique documentary yet on the conflict. Many have indicated a preferece for WORLD AT WAR, which was excellent in its own right, but Burns has given us a different perspective of l941-l945--a perspective that humanizes perhaps the most inhumane period in history.
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The War: A Film by Ken Burns [Blu-ray]
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