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Ken Burns: The Address

4.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

At Greenwood School in Vermont, its students, boys, ages 11 to 17, are asked each year to memorize the Gettysburg Address. These boys all suffer from learning differences that have made their progress extremely challenging. Interweaving the history of this famous American speech with the journey of the boys, The Address reveals the timeless resonance of Lincolns words, while culminating in the triumph of the human spirit.

Product Details

  • Actors: .
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    G
    General Audience
  • Studio: PBS (Direct)
  • DVD Release Date: April 22, 2014
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00HUAH02O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,643 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By komyathy VINE VOICE on May 11, 2014
This Ken Burns documentary is about a small school in Vermont that seeks to educate boys (11-17) with language-based learning disabilities. The Gettysburg Address is employed at this school as a challenge to learn, as a means to get students to deal with public speaking, and as an idea of new beginnings. Students begin trying to memorize it at the beginning of the school year and in February the school throws a gala social function where parents come to see their children (it is primarily a boarding school, which costs $65,000 a year to attend) recite `The Address' before everyone and compete for who does it the best. Everyone who succeeds without mistakes, however, gets a school commemorative coin as a token of their development.

Most of this video focuses on the students learning the vocabulary of the speech and the meaning behind it, as well as much video of their playing in the Vermont snow, paling around with one another, interacting with teachers in class and playing music.

Why so employ the Gettysburg Address? I will use the words of one student named Ian: "When you are angry it is never good but when you have grit and perseverance, you can get through stuff a lot more. This year I'm reciting the Gettysburg and that's huge for me. It just tells people that I'm not stupid. I'm not dumb, I'm not, like, worthless. Every kid that has been bullied excessively, their life is a battlefield and every time you're shot down, you just get---you try to get right back up, but then they just keep shooting you and shooting you. When you're down for the count, either a devil cries and you're done, or the angels sing, they lift you up, they heal you. I want to go up there, I want to nail it, I want to get off, I want to shake [teacher] Stewart's hand and I want to get that coin.
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I start with full disclosure: I am a fan of Ken Burns and his work. I was therefore amazed to see this pop up when I was actually working to order "The Roosevelts". As noted by other reviewers, I've no idea how I'd never heard of it before!

If you are an educator, you must experience this film! If you are a believer in the human spirit you must see this film! It is very different from what you'd expect of Ken Burns in one way: it is not about the artful presentation of zooms or pans of vintage photos accompanied by masterful script and narration: it is live video, and the participants tell the story.

It is exactly like many of Ken Burn's works in the most important ways. This is a film of the highest quality. It enlightens you, you experience the struggles of others, you are lifted up and at the end of it all you gently exhale while breathing on word:

"Wow".
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This is a truly amazing documentary about a group of academically challenged students who have to learn the Gettysburg Address and to recite it in front of students, faculty and parents. It is an example of how students with learning disabilities (in some cases multiple disabilities) can overcome and truly shine.You also get a chance to remember & perhaps relearn one of the greatest speeches of all time! I strongly advise everyone to view this amazing video.
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This is a very special documentary about a real life school in Vermont where the main focus of the students is learning to recite the Gettysburg Address. It is incredibly touching, and really grabbed me. The camera follows various students along their struggles and successes. I was surprised at how this film touched me. So even though I saw in on public television, I just had to order it.
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This Ken Burns documentary is outstanding! I absolutely loved watching it and had to own it. The lives of the young boys are so impacted by the brilliant program of this school they attend. What a blessing for them to have the privilege of working with such powerful mentors.

When they journey to Gettysburg and see for themselves the vastness of the destruction that took place there, they are forever changed. How would it be if all Americans could experience the awakening of awareness that takes place in these young people's lives.

I highly recommend this for anyone who loves learning, teaching, parenting, mentoring, or our Nation's history.
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About to be re-aired for Memorial Day, this personal Ken Burns' project includes the history of the Gettysburg Address, narrated at intervals by students, but its real focus is on the achievements of boys, with varying kinds of learning challenges, at the Greenwood School in Putney, VT, where once a year there's a challenge from the principal to memorize and recite the Address. The finale of this one, a recitation event for the parents, brought everyone watching it with me, esp. a group of special ed teachers, to tears! an't express how wonderful and moving this film is.
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I had never heard of this film until it I was flipping through the TV channels in March or April of 2014 and it was on my local NPR station. Ken Burns is one of the best documentary filmmakers-THE best in my opinion. I've seen many of his films but had not heard of this one which is kind of astonishing since we have a 14-year-old son who has many of the issues that the boys at this school face.

The tradition of the school portrayed is having the boys learn and recite the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln's most well-known speech but only 2 minutes in length but 2 minutes to a child with a myriad of issues? Might as well say "2 hours."

Even if you do not have a child or know one who has a learning disability and/or mood disorder with the accompanying emotional difficulties with self-esteem and other things, you will be touched greatly by the film.

After I watched The Address for the first time, I looked for and read some reviews and the NY Times wrote a few things that really emphasized just how amazing this film is. The film may primarily be about a group of incredible boys but there's a whole lot more. The teachers, counselors, aides-every single adult at that school was phenomenal. As the Times said, "For these kinds of students, sometimes a well-trained teacher or other professional has insights that escape even the child’s parents."

In addition to the "insights" of the staff was larger message that the Times included in their review-
“American culture is identified as very individualistic, and yet there’s a tremendous social pressure to conform and to be like everybody else, and to marginalize and pathologize people who function differently in all different kinds of ways,” says Tom Ehrenberg, a therapist.
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