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America's Heart & Soul

4.7 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From sea to shining sea, from amber waves of grain to purple mountain majesties, it's not merely the land that makes America beautiful -- it's her people. ~~Captured with stunning cinematography, AMERICA'S HEART & SOUL takes you on a journey that weaves across this great nation, revealing a rich tapestry of ordinary people living extraordinary lives as they follow their dreams with the freedom of spirit that's uniquely American. From the Vermont dairy farmer, to the blind mountain climber, to the father and son marathon runners, their inspiring stories are as different as can be -- passionate, colorful, courageous, funny, touching. Featuring an exclusive new song by John Mellencamp, "The World Don't Bother Me None," AMERICA'S HEART & SOUL is a gloriously joyous celebration of being an American.


With its spectacular sweep of earthly treasures--the peak of Mt. Everest, a lush valley in the Western U.S., a whirl of land and sky as seen from the cockpit of an aerobatic flyer--America's Heart and Soul is an unusual Disney documentary visually grand yet thematically intimate, focusing on two dozen people from around the country who have found purpose through their passionate endeavors. First-time director Louis Schwartzberg embraces the soulful, gritty, sometimes painful cost of American freedom in the stories of cowboy Roudy Roudebush, a recovering alcoholic; Marc and Ann Savoy, Cajun musicians whose family has lived on the same Louisiana land for seven generations; and California dancer-mountainside rappeller Amelia Rudolph, who choreographs eccentric performances below the cliffs at Muir Beach. Chapters about ex-con Michael Bennett, who survived prison to become the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team captain, and the Reverend Cecil Williams, founder of a truly inclusive church in San Francisco, are particularly inspiring. --Tom Keogh

Special Features

Four Extended Musical Performances|"In Search Of AMERICA'S HEART & SOUL" Behind-The-Scenes Featurette|Feature Audio Commentary With Director/Producer Louis Schwartzberg|Two Versions Of The Film: Original Theatrical Aspect Ratio (1.85:1) Enhanced For 16x9 Televisions; Fullscreen (1.33:1)

Product Details

  • Directors: Louis Schwartzberg
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 1, 2005
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002VEWVK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,246 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "America's Heart & Soul" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alejandra Vernon HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on August 19, 2004
Format: DVD
This uplifting, brilliantly filmed and edited documentary focuses on people with the courage and strength of spirit to follow their own path, and the freedom in America that makes the expression of what are sometimes odd and inventive, and even bizarre pursuits a reality. It is about those rare souls willing to live life on their own terms, and live out the dream that is in their hearts.

The creation of Louis Schwartzberg, the concept is wonderful, and the cinematography stunning. With the exception of the steelworkers struggling to keep their town and plant alive, all these stories of human ingenuity are positive and sometimes quite humorous, like the fantastic decorated cars, and the man from Colorado with the ham bullet.

Among the many images and stories that linger in my mind are the extraordinary gravity-defying, cliff-hanging ballet, the glowing, beautiful Mosie Burks, as she sings her gospel music and spreads her joy, the wisdom of the Appalachian weaver who says "I've been broke, but I've never been poor", ex-con and Olympic boxer Michael Bennett, helping kids to re-make their lives as he has done, and Klezmer clarinetist David Krakower playing the marvelous music of his heritage.

This is a film one could see numerous times because it is packed with content, dazzling visuals, and an overall upbeat outlook; in fact, there is no way one could absorb all that is in this film in a single viewing, or even two or three viewings.

Filled with music that delights the spirit, like Mosie's gospel songs, New Orleans jazz from James Andrews, rock 'n' roll from the Pino brothers, Marc Savoy's Cajun tunes, David's soulful clarinet, some fabulous salsa dancers, and much more. The soundtrack is by Joel McNeely with a song by John Mellencamp. Bravo Mr. Schwartzberg, for this film that celebrates creativity, and the greatness of this magnificent land. Total running time is 88 minutes.
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For some reason that is curious to me, this movie has gotten a bad rap. You have to see it for yourself to decide, but I found it uplifting, funny, sometimes strange - and completely gorgeous to watch.

It is a collection of about 25 short vignettes of people doing what they love - pursuing their passions. Some of those passions are odd - like gluing stuff to your car - and some are astounding - like the cliff dancers of Bandaloop. Some are soulful and some are funny. But all of them are heartfelt and just beautifully presented.

I don't know how it got positioned as "the antidote to Farenheit 9/11", because it is not political, not polemical, and completely unrelated! About the only thing the two movies have in common is that they are both "documentaries" - although I have my doubts about Moore's film being a documentary at all.

Louis Schwarzberg has done a magnificent job of capturing some of the glories of this country - both the people and the scenery. I say, "good on ya," Louis. I can't wait to own a copy - and give one to my family and friends. I highly, highly recommend it for a change from the routine garbage presented as fact. It's just a lovely piece of filmwork.
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Format: DVD
The absolute best documentary about the vast differences in America from the language of New Orleans to the language of the mountain people in NC, and the wild, wild, west. This footage ofers places unseen by many including those who done extensive traveling. After seeing the beauty, color, and richness of the people within the greatess nation on God's green earth, the film leaves you with laughs, tears, and joy. You feel proud to be an american: part of such a great group of people. Another good thing about this film is for those who enjoy traveling, this will stir you up, make you excited, and ease your worries about staying inside the U.S. to travel because after you see the wonderful colors of mountains, streams, the praire, cowboys ridin the fences like they did a 100 years ago, the big cities and everything in between you'll be amazed that you are not making some travel plans to go see some of these places for yourself.
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This is such a fun concept for a movie. We found the music, the scenery and the slice of life segments fun and entertaining. This is almost a great family movie. The one thing that doesn't fit is a Salsa dancing scene that is too spicy!

I applaud the desire to include a segment representing the Hispanic life in America. However the dance scene with the skimpy clothing accentuated by camera angles, as well as the seductive nature of the dance moves might not fit everyone's idea of family friendly.

Otherwise, great movie! Since it's not a traditional movie with a plot, this is one you might enjoy watching repeatedly.
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Format: DVD
America's Heart & Soul sweeps across America in brilliant color as Americans tell the story of life in all its beautiful diversity. This is as much a story of the heart's desire for freedom as it is the story of individual contributions by creative individuals creating art by tapping into their heart, mind and soul.

Dancers play with gravity as they dance on rock faces and explain why we often feel a sense of wanting to throw ourselves into the freedom of falling. Decorated cars become moving art to bring happiness wherever they travel. Steel workers buy their factory to save their jobs and health insurance coverage. A former seal swims through traffic in New York as he delivers letters and faces numerous challenges.

There is also a sense of determination as a woman notes: "I've been broke many times, but I've never been poor." This story asks many questions about what it means to be rich in spirit and tells the story of how many American's find more freedom and happiness far away from the big cities.

Americans tell the story of home and belonging. There is humor, art, music and scenes in nature so profoundly beautiful it will inspire you to make plans to travel to various states. Fields of purple grapes, emerald swamps, majestic mountains and aerial views make this a stunning presentation.

Through watching Disney's celebration of the American Spirit you will get a sense of "This is how life should be." I loved the humor in the section with the Vermont Dairy Farmer. There are courageous, funny, passionate and memorable musical moments.

Special Features:

Four Extended Musical Performances
Behind-The-Scenes Featurette
Audio Commentary with Director/Produces Louis Schwartzberg

~The Rebecca Review
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