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Triumph of the Nerds

102 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Jul 22, 2002)
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$29.99 $201.75

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

It happened more or less by accident; the people who made it happen wereamateurs; and for the most part they still are. From his own Silicon Valley garage, author Bob Cringley puts PC bigshots and nerds on the spot, and tells their incredible true stories. Like the industry itself, the series is informative, funny and brash. Some of the episode participants include: Bill Gates (Chairman of Microsoft, the richest man in the world), Steve Jobs (Hippie co-founder of Apple Computer; CEO of NeXT Computer; and the man who wanted to change the world), and Steve Wozniak (Co-founder of Apple Computer; engineering genius, practical joker).

Written and Presented by: Bob Cringely

All 3 volumes on 1 DVD:

*Impressing Their Friends

*Riding the Bear

*Great Artists Steal

DVD has English Sub-titles that can be turned on or off.


Bob Cringley hosts this terrific three-part video history of the computer industry. More than a pedestrian history of the industry, this compelling program contains animated segments, promotional clips, archival footage, and intriguingly honest interview with wealthy industry nerds (Gates, Wozniak, Jobs, etc.). With computers such a pervasive presence in society, this fascinating set holds wide appeal even for computer illiterates. --Booklist

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Bob Cringely, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates
  • Directors: Paul Sen
  • Format: Multiple Formats, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Ambrose Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 22, 2002
  • Run Time: 165 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006FXQO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,736 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Triumph of the Nerds" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

126 of 128 people found the following review helpful By S. Breazeal on October 28, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Triumph of the Nerds is still one of the best public level documentaries about the origins and development of personal computers from their beginnings in the mid-70's on through the IBM/Apple years and into the mid-90's with the launch of Windows 95. It is dated somewhat, especially at the end with the forecasts about the future growth of the internet and what it would mean to PC and Mac development and the world. Nothing was truer then than remains today, predicting the long-term future of the computer and internet industry is simply impossible.

What troubles me with this edition by Ambrose is that they have apparently sacrificed bits and pieces here and there for some unfathomable reason. The main points are all still there, but some of the side stories and flavors have been cut. Examples include Steve Wozniak's description of his early interest in electronics in finding an old AT&T phone company manual to learn to hack into the phone system to call the Pope. It cuts Steve Jobs' description of his early experiences with Bill Gates, saying that the original version of Word was "just terrible but they kept at it...", and someone whose name I can't remember describing the early mainframes and trying to use one as "you were lucky if your entire city had one mainframe, and, if your company had it, there would only be one." These are the ones I noticed right off, I'm sure there are others and they are minor things, but it's troubling that a company buys the rights to a show and edits it for whatever reason rather than simply giving us the whole deal.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By 5150 on May 13, 2006
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I am in agreement with several of the reviews that indicate the DVD version is editted. Sadly, so is the used VHS copy I purchased. Maybe it was once available on VHS uneditted but not anymore. Beyond the scenes already mentioned as missing, additional scenes include more background on the Mac team and Steve Job's recruitment for the team; early discussions at Apple to make the Mac open source; and an extended scene about the "Microserfs". By my count there are 21 edits (large and small) which add an additional 15 to 20 minutes. I see no reason for the edits since they could easily fit on a videotape or stereo DVD. I am guessing Bob thought he improved the pacing of this program by the edits and a few are more "politically correct." But I am still waiting for the full version. In the meantime, I will keep my old broadcast edition.
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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Joe Ekaitis on September 19, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
And we have THEM to thank for all of this.
Your humble author can't help but wonder how Bob Cringely got the likes of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Paul Allen and others in front of the cameras for an honest look inside the slightly twisted minds that begat the personal computer.
At 3 hours in length, "Triumph of the Nerds" isn't just a PBS miniseries. On home video, it becomes an epic. And why shouldn't it be? The personal computer has an impact on our lives equal to that of the light bulb and the automobile. But in the case of the PC, most of the people responsible for its creation and worldwide influence are still alive. These are flesh and blood humans, not fading historical sketches like Henry Ford and Thomas Edison.
"Triumph of the Nerds" was originally produced as a 20-year retrospective on the personal computer. But the PC will be 25 years old in the year 2000. I can't wait to see Bob Cringely's follow up.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 5, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
This is the most interesting educational videotape that I have ever seen. It irreverently, but accurately, chronicles the rise of the PC as a force in the modern world. Quite naturally, much of the focus is on Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Paul Allen and Bill Gates, as they are the four most widely known individuals in the personal computer field. However, a great deal of time is also spent in explaining the role of others, so that it could be more accurately titled, "Triumph of Some of the Nerds." While the actions of Gates, Jobs and gang are important, some of the most significant events are those of others, who missed incredible opportunities.
It is astonishing to learn that the program that became MS-DOS was purchased for $50,000 with no residuals. This should become a story to rival the purchase of Manhattan for the fabled $... in beads. Representatives from IBM went to the creator of CPM, which was the best-selling microcomputer operating system at the time. Their goal was to obtain an operating system that could be used in their upcoming line of personal computers. Unbelievably, they were kept waiting and those representatives gave up and went back to Microsoft where they
signed the deal for MS-DOS.
The scientists at Xerox Palto Alto Research Center (PARC) created many of the modern principles of computing such as the Graphical User Interface (GUI). Steve Jobs is passionate in his description of his reaction when he saw it for the first time. However, Xerox gained nothing but prestige from their inventions. The last of these stories is that the creators of the spreadsheet receive no royalties at all from their invention.
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Topic From this Discussion
Email response from Ambrose Video
That's a very amusing, and patently false statement coming from them since even Robert Cringely himself has said it was cut up. The numerous cuts are well-documented here in various reviews and having the original that I taped from PBS when it was first shown I can verify them all.
May 28, 2007 by S. Breazeal |  See all 5 posts
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