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American Experience: Henry Ford

4.5 out of 5 stars 137 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

HENRY FORD paints a fascinating portrait of a farm boy who rose from obscurity to become the most influential American innovator of the 20th century. Fords Model T automobile and his five-dollar-a-day wage ushered in the modern world, earning Ford reverence from millions of Americans. Yet many of the changes he wrought deeply troubled the carmaker. In frustration, he lashed out at enemies, real and imagined.

Product Details

  • Actors: .
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: February 19, 2013
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00AJER44M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,420 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steve Ramm TOP 100 REVIEWER on February 5, 2013
Format: DVD
This is another fine example of the kind of documentaries that PBS' "American Experience" produces. They make the assumption that the viewer may be well versed in the basics of a subject's life or they could just as well know nothing. The basics are often covered entertainingly so as not to bore the former and the musical score often keeps the interest in the story, even if the facts get too technical.

This 110-minute documentary begins in the rubber forests of Brazil - and ends there. Not something you would expect for the story of one of America's great industrialists. But - as you will see if you watch it - it makes sense. And, it moves - just like Ford's Model T Ford - at a nice pace. Ford was responsible to the ground-breaking $5.00 wage and the assembly line but he also did "social engineering" building "towns" for his workers to live in and providing social activities for them. He also was an anti-Semite and this is not denied in the script.
The director is clever in using lots of archival movie footage - which keeps things moving along, but younger viewers should remember that until the mid-1920s, except for some experimental sound films by Ford's friend Thomas Edison, all movies were silent. So all the sounds you hear until 1930 (which is the bulk of footage here) has been supplemented by sound effects. But nicely done.

One weakness I found in this production that I don't remember being in other AE productions is the identification of the "talking heads" who are interviewed. With the sole exception of Bob Casey, Curator of the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI - all the "experts" are identified by their name and the title "Historian".
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This is a very interesting documentary. My family is a FORD family. My husband also works for a FORD dealer.
This documentary not only shows Henry's industrial life and ideas but also his personal life. How he grew up and where.
He is a master and without his ideas and knowledge and his heart to just take a chance, out world would not be what is is today.
Henry Ford along with other greats like Thomas Edison and Leonardo da Vinci and Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Graham Bell,
Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.Just to name a few. I can watch any documentary. You are never to old to learn! Can you imagine a world without cars or a telephone or music or airplanes and trains?......Exactly! Knowing how these inventors minds worked. What made them tick? The sacrafice they made and did. The way their ideas revolutionized this world. This is definitely and great documentary to watch. I give this 5 starts!

Brew your favorite coffee, grab a snack, slip into some comfy clothes and get comfy cozy and press play and enjoy!
You will not be disapointed!
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Stunning portrait of this odd man, rising from the farm to become the richest man in America if not the world, but unconcerned about this fortune.

At the end, building a Disneyland of fantasy from his early years, complete with the china his mother once had, very moving, and sad.

He was anti-Semitic and anti-intellectual. Yet his court-adduced ignorance (in a libel case) only made him more popular with the masses.

Watch this film, read the Stephen Watts biography, on which it is based, to study the genius of this unique American, our greatest industrialist, who ushered in the decline of the 19th Century, and himself escaped from it, after driving his only son to his early death, in his own fantasy land of his early years.
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Lots of good history here, Story line jumped around a bit and would have been better more chronologically. Only gave a little history of his terrible fight and brutality against organized labor. And just the briefest mention of his antisemitism and support of Hitler. Demonstrated how mentally troubled he was and why he should have been removed from the company. Without his son there would be no Ford today, but Henry was too unstable to see that. It does have good historical footage that has rarely been seen.
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Although I was looking for a movie type script showing this great American I found the documentary style informative and interesting, I do believe Mr. Ford came out a little better in court when the newspaper labeled him as ignorant because from what I've read in other sources he questioned the lawyer grilling him about such nonsense and that he has a bank of information at his fingertips of anything he wanted, that education is just information unless its used to help others.

I recommend this movie to anyone interested in the life of Mr. Ford. If more focus would have been on the many failures, breakthroughs, and personal strengths leading up to his accomplishments I would have gladly given a five star rating
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I had seen this excellent PBS documentary on TV before, but it was certainly worth viewing again. The producer provided a balanced view of this fascinating, and ultimately profoundly disturbing individual. His virulent anti-Semitism was appropriately highlighted, as well as the less well known, unrelenting perjorative attitude towards his only child, Edsel, who ultimately succumbed to stomach cancer at the age of 49. While he made his mark on the industrial progress of our country, and the world at large, ultimately, he was a very flawed figure, whose megalomaniacal perrsonality made him anything but admirable. Highly recommended viewing.
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