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Founding Fathers

4.3 out of 5 stars 93 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description



The four programs from the History Channel in this set profile America's Founding Fathers, noting right at the outset they were a "mismatched group of quarrelsome aristocrats, merchants, and lawyers." The story of how these disparate characters fomented rebellion in the colonies, formed the Continental Congress, fought the Revolutionary War, and wrote the Constitution is told by noted historians, and the production is enhanced with beautifully photographed reenactments as well as intelligent use of period paintings and engravings. The story begins with Samuel Adams and John Hancock in Boston, whose protests against British taxation led to the Boston Tea Party. Moving on to the Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia, the brilliant delegates from the South, particularly George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, appear on the scene, and the story is told of how an improbable cohesion between the colonies began. Other main characters, including Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, appear in turn, and each of the major participants is portrayed in a biographical profile. How these men all came to act together, despite the stark differences in their backgrounds and temperaments, becomes the main thread of the story. They were all quite human, as the historians who appear in interviews remind us. Some of them drank too much, some had illegitimate children, some owned slaves, and some could hardly get along with anyone. Yet these men with complicated private lives worked together and performed heroically. This is an intelligently rendered and captivating look at the men who formed the American nation. --Robert J. McNamara

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Edward Herrmann, Keith Arbour, Carol Berkin, Beau Bridges, Richard Brookhiser
  • Directors: Mark Hufnail, Melissa Jo Peltier
  • Writers: Melissa Jo Peltier, Max M. Fletcher
  • Producers: Bonnie Peterson, Cameo Wallace, Christina Lublin, John Gengl
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: January 30, 2001
  • Run Time: 200 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004ZETI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,151 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Founding Fathers" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David E. Levine on December 5, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
If you are interested in early American history, specifically the period of the Revolution, I recommend this series of tapes. The four episodes are a recent series carried by The History Channel and although the tapes can be ordered from that Channel's website, you are better off ordering from Amazon since Amazon offers a discount. The series humanizes the founding fathers. For example, did you ever realize that dour John Adams was a very hot young lover deeply in love with Abigail and whose letters to Abigail were tinged with coded sexual references? I found particularly engaging the treatment of Samuel Adams and John Hancock. The two were so very different yet they combined into a powerful voice for the revolution. Hancock was very wealthy and part of his reason to support the Revolution was to protect his interests and, perhaps, to avoid the payment of taxes. Samuel Adams, on the other hand, was a failed businessman and a frumpy dresser (whereas Hancock was always perfectly dressed). However, the two worked together to form a passionate voice. In this series we learn how close the Revolution was to failure as Washington had only a few troops whose terms of enlistment were due to expire. However, these troops were rallied by Thomas Paine's famous words, "These are the times that try men's souls." Paine earlier had rallied the populous with "Common Sense." but equally important was his rallying of the troops. All of the founding fathers, Washington, Jefferson, Henry, Franklin etc. are presented in an engaging way. They are humanized and their contributions to our fledgling nation are illuminated. This series is particularly well suited to a middle school or high school history class. I recommend it highly.
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Format: DVD
First of all, this DVD is NOT about the American Revolution. If you want to know about the American Revolution and how the country was built, then "Liberty: The American Revolution" from PBS is a much better choice. Nevertheless, this is still a decent DVD, if you want a quick overview of the biography of the Founding Fathers. Each Founding Fathers biography is covered equally in length. They are Samuel Adams, John Hancock, John Adams, Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. You will learn that each Founding Fathers has different reason to join the revolution, not all of them get along with each other, they came with many flaws just like humans, and not all of them were respected after the end of the revolution. The DVD is begin with the seed of the revolution, why each Founding Fathers decided to join the revolution, the Declaration of Independence, the Revolutionary War, and the creation of the U.S constitution along with the Bill of Rights. Overall, this is a decent DVD. My only complains are sometimes they talk about the Founding Father's character that are not important to the revolution and there is very little coverage about the war. But overall, this is a good DVD if you want a quick overview of the life of the Founding Fathers.
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Format: DVD
This DVD offers an interesting and useful perspective on the Founding Fathers. It is a relatively painless way to learn a great deal about these men, their ideals, and some of the things that gave rise to the American Revolution.
I personally thought that the historian-commentators were largely mouthy and annoying. The narration was pretty good, and in fact I wish there were a way to simply edit out the commentators while leaving the narration. It is possible to present the Founders both as the human beings they were without losing sight of the fact that America was extraordinarily fortunate to have brought forth such men at this critical time. At times I thought that this series missed the mark in this regards, and went out of its way to focus on minor personal quirks that frankly are of no importance and only minor interest. The Founding Fathers were, after all, giants.
Nevertheless, at least this piece deals with the American Revolution and the Founders, which are underrepresented topics.
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Format: DVD
I love history and in recent months I have been voraciously reading / viewing various books / DVD collections. The Founding Fathers, which I believe is based on the book by M.E. Bradford, is one of 2 DVD collections available by the History Channel that discusses the lives and times of the countries' founding fathers. The other DVD collection is based on the Pulitzer Prize winning book Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis. This DVD collection was the first one created by The History Channel.
Both DVD collections discuss the lives and times of the founding fathers (brothers). This particular DVD collection starts with a discussion of Sam Adams and the rise of discontent amongst New Englanders. It focuses on the events that led to the American Revolution much better than the other DVD collection, Founding Brothers. After viewing both of them again I would say without a doubt that this series deals with pre-revolution to the constitution whereas Founding Brothers is more constitutional conventions to post revolution times and the establishment of parties / bickering amongst the founders.
1. This DVD collection is well produced. Famous actors provided the voices for the characters.
2. While the DVD is certainly worth watching I found myself wishing it had more facts about events of the American Revolution. But, as the title states, this series is about the founding fathers.
3. The series did a nice job of discussing how various fathers had issues with slavery. It discussed whether they were pro-slavery or against it and how some had serious troubles dealing with it.
4. The one thing I thoroughly enjoyed about the DVD collection was that it clearly depicts how each of these men came together despite their different backgrounds and temperaments to found a nation.
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