American Experience

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25 videos in this collection

Coney Island
"It is blatant, it is cheap, it is the apotheosis of the ridiculous. But it is something more; it is like Niagara Falls or the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone Park;…
Silicon Valley
In 1957, decades before Steve Jobs dreamed up Apple or Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook, a group of eight brilliant young men defected from the Shockley Semiconductor Company in order to…
The Poisoner's Handbook
In the early 20th century, the average American medicine cabinet was a would-be poisoner's treasure chest, with radioactive radium, thallium, and morphine in everyday products. The pace of industrial innovation…
The Amish: Shunned
What is it like to be cut off from your faith and your family? The Amish: Shunned follows seven people who have chosen to leave their closed and tightly-knit communities…
The Rise and Fall of Penn Station
In 1910, the Pennsylvania Railroad successfully accomplished the enormous engineering feat of building tunnels under New York City's Hudson and East Rivers, connecting the railroad to New York and New…
1964
1964 was the year the Beatles came to America, Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali, and three civil rights workers were murdered in Mississippi. It was the year when Berkeley students…
The Lobotomist
The lobotomy was hailed by The New York Times as a "surgery of the soul", a landmark medical procedure promising hope to mentally ill patients. Championed by neurologist Walter J.…
A Midwife’s Tale
Based on her personal diary, this program presents a dramatic exploration of the life of Martha Ballard, a woman who lived through the economic boom and bust, and political and…
Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring
She was a biologist for the federal government when she first noted the effects of the unregulated use of pesticides and herbicides, especially DDT. Magazines, afraid of losing advertising, refused…
Earth Days
Director Robert Stone ("Oswald's Ghost," "Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst") traces the origins of the modern environmental movement through the eyes of nine Americans who propelled the movement from…
Stonewall Uprising
In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in the Greenwich Village section of New York City. Such raids were…
Scottsboro
In 1931, two white women stepped from a box car in Paint Rock, Alabama to make a shocking accusation: they had been raped by nine black teenagers on the train.…
Edison
By the time he died in 1931, Thomas Edison was one of the most famous men in the world. The holder of more patents than any other inventor in history,…
The Big Burn
In the summer of 1910, hundreds of wildfires raged across the Northern Rockies. By the time it was all over, more than three million acres had burned and at least…
Lost in the Grand Canyon
In the spring of 1869, a thirty-five-year-old, one-armed Civil War veteran and self-taught scientist led an expedition down the Colorado River into the last uncharted territory in the United States.…
Freedom Summer
In the hot and deadly summer of 1964, the nation could not turn away from Mississippi. Over 10 memorable weeks known as Freedom Summer, more than 700 student volunteers joined…
Remember the Alamo
In the early 1830s Texas was about to explode. Although ruled by Mexico, the region was home to more than 20,000 U.S. settlers agitated by what they saw as restrictive…
The Orphan Trains
In 1853, 10,000 homeless children roamed New York City streets. Young minister Charles Loring Brace founded the Children's Aid Society, sending orphans west to begin new lives with farm families.…
Last Days in Vietnam
April, 1975. During the chaotic final days of the American involvement in the Vietnam War, as the North Vietnamese Army closed in on Saigon, South Vietnamese resistance crumbled. City after…
Freedom Riders
FREEDOM RIDERS is the powerful harrowing and ultimately inspirational story of six months in 1961 that changed America forever. From May until November 1961, more than 400 black and white…
Panama Canal
On August 15th, 1914, the Panama Canal opened, connecting the world's two largest oceans and signaling America's emergence as a global superpower. This AMERICAN EXPERIENCE film using an extraordinary archive…
Dinosaur Wars
Dinosaur Wars, from producer Mark Davis, is the story of two talented scientists, O.C. Marsh and Edward Cope, whose once professional rivalry soured into a bitter personal feud. Together, Marsh…
Triangle Fire
It was the deadliest workplace accident in New York City's history. A dropped match on the 8th floor of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory sparked a fire that killed over a…
Eleanor Roosevelt
She was the nation's conscience, a tireless advocate for the disadvantaged, a woman who influenced American social policies for decades and pushed through the first international charter on human rights.…
Henry Ford
An absorbing life story of a farm boy who rose from obscurity to become the most influential American innovator of the 20th century, Henry Ford offers an incisive look at…

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Produced by Blackside, Eyes on the Prize tells the definitive story of the civil rights era from the point of view of the ordinary men and women whose extraordinary actions launched a movement that changed the fabric of American life, and embodied a struggle whose reverberations continue to be felt…
Balseros: Cuban Rafters
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Documentary Filmmaker: Film & TV Holly & Paul Fine
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Home from the Eastern Sea - The Story of Asian Immigration to America
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Postcards from the Great Divide - Examining The Partisan Split In America
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NOW - In the Wings on the World Stage
Kevin Spacey, Sam Mendes and the Bridge Project Company go on the road in NOW: In the Wings on a World Stage. In over 200 performances, and across 3 continents, Kevin and the troupe reveal some of the most intimate moments behind the scenes of their staging of Shakespeare's classic…
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Samsara: Death and Rebirth in Cambodia
Samsara: (Sanskrit) Perpetual repetition of birth and death from the past through the present to the future, through six illusory realms: Hell, Hungry Spirits, Animals, Fighting Spirits, Man and Heaven. Samsara documents the struggle of the Cambodian people to rebuild a shattered society in a climate of war and with…
Bubbeh Lee & Me
This Emmy-nominated documentary is a hilarious portrait of an extraordinary, ordinary grandmother and a touching account of her grandson's search for his place in the world. Whether taking daily excursions to the grocery store to return under-ripe produce or sharing hard-won wisdom over blintzes on Rosh Hashanah, Lee Abrahams is…
Living in Emergency
Bosnia. Rwanda. Kosovo. Sierra Leone. Pakistan. Just a few of the world's humanitarian and political crises in the past years. Whether the result of war or nature, these disasters devastate populations and cripple health systems. Despite the immense dangers and difficulties of the work, one organization, Doctors Without Borders, has…