American Experience

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Monday 9:00 PM on PBS Premiered Oct 04, 1988 In Season

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  • Jesse Owens

    Full Episode

    S 24 : Ep 7 -

    The most famous athlete of his time, his stunning triumph at the 1936 Olympic Games captivated the world even as it infuriated the Nazis. Despite the racial slurs he endured, Jesse Owens' grace and athleticism rallied crowds across the globe. But when the four-time Olympic gold medalist returned home, he could not even ride in the front of a bus.moreless
  • Grand Coulee Dam

    Full Episode

    S 24 : Ep 6 -

    Of the many public works projects of the New Deal, Grand Coulee Dam loomed largest in America's imagination during the darkest days of the Depression. It promised to fulfill President Franklin Roosevelt's vision for a "planned promised land" where hard-working farm families would finally be free from the drought and dislocation caused by the elements.moreless
  • The Amish

    Full Episode

    S 24 : Ep 5 - 2/28/12

    An intimate portrait of contemporary Amish faith and life, this film examines how such a closed and communal culture has thrived within one of the most open, individualistic societies on earth. What does the future hold for a community whose existence is so rooted in the past? And what does our fascination with the Amish say about deep American values?moreless
  • Clinton - The Comeback Kid

    Full Episode

    S 24 : Ep 4 - 2/20/12

    From the political backwaters of Arkansas, Bill Clinton emerges as a political force unlike any seen on the national stage in a generation. Overcoming a troubled upbringing marred by alcoholism and violence, Clinton is determined from the start to succeed, first in Arkansas, then at Georgetown, Oxford and finally Yale. There he meets a young woman named Hillary Rodham who shares his intellect and idealism. Together they forge a marriage and political partnership that takes them to the Arkansas governor's mansion and ultimately the White House. Hour 1 follows their bumpy road to the 1992 presidential victory, an amazing triumph over repeated scandals and setbacks. Although they have won the presidency, the Clintons have not yet won the country. In their moment of triumph, the first couple has no way of imaging the turmoil that lies ahead.moreless
  • Billy the Kid

    Full Episode

    S 24 : Ep 3 - 1/10/12

    A fascinating look at the myth and the man behind it, who, in just a few short years transformed himself from a skinny orphan boy to the most feared man in the West and an enduring western icon.moreless
  • Custer's Last Stand

    Full Episode

    S 24 : Ep 2 - 1/17/12

    The story of a United States' attempt to spark a fresh Native uprising only to result in the massacre of a well-known soldier and his men.

  • Freedom Riders

    Full Episode

    S 23 : Ep 12 - 5/16/11

    A documentary on Americans of all ages and races who traveled the deep South to protest local segregation laws in 1961.
  • Stonewall Uprising

    Full Episode

    S 23 : Ep 10 - 4/25/11

    Riots in New York City in 1969 bring the issues of gay civil rights into the public eye.
  • The Great Famine

    Full Episode

    S 23 : Ep 9 - 4/11/11

    When the Soviet Union suffers a massive famine in the early 1920s, the United States rushes to send food and manpower to alleviate the crisis.
  • Triangle Fire

    Full Episode

    S 23 : Ep 8 - 2/28/11

    The deplorable conditions of "sweat shop" production factories are brought to America's attention after 150 people are killed in a 1911 fire in New York City.
  • The Greely Expedition

    Full Episode

    S 23 : Ep 7 - 1/31/11

    An 1881 maritime expedition to document the world of the high Arctic runs into adverse conditions that prove to be disastrous for the members of the crew.
  • The Panama Canal

    Full Episode

    S 23 : Ep 6 - 1/24/11

    The Atlantic and Pacific oceans are finally connected after one of the most arduous engineering struggles of all.
  • Dinosaur Wars

    Full Episode

    S 23 : Ep 5 - 1/17/11

    Two American paleontologists are unable to overcome their Victorian-era desires to be the top scientist of the day - and instead, wage a battle to find and describe the first dinosaurs being discovered in the American west.moreless
  • Panama Canal

    Full Episode

    S 23 : Ep 4 - 1/24/11

    This film using an extraordinary archive of photographs and footage, interviews with canal workers and firsthand accounts of life in the Canal Zone, unravels the remarkable story of one of the world's most significant technological achievements.moreless
  • Robert E. Lee

    Full Episode

    S 23 : Ep 4 - 1/3/11

    New perspectives on the man who would come to lead the major armed forces of the Confederate States of America.
  • Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World

    Full Episode

    S 22 : Ep 8 - 5/10/10

    The story of the American whaling industry and its role in the development of the ocean-going capacites of the 19th century United States.
  • Roads to Memphis

    Full Episode

    S 22 : Ep 7 - 5/3/10

    A treatment of the assassination of Martin Luther King by James Earl Ray from the perspective of the actual lives of the two men.
  • My Lai

    Full Episode

    S 22 : Ep 6 - 4/26/10

    The circumstances surrounding the 1968 atrocities committed against Vietnamese civilians by American soldiers and their effect on the perceptions of the war in Vietnam.
  • Earth Days

    Full Episode

    S 22 : Ep 5 - 4/19/10

    An account of selected citizens instrumental in shaping the United States' environmental movement in the past fifty years.
  • Dolley Madison

    Full Episode

    S 22 : Ep 4 - 3/1/10

    A profile of the famous spouse of President James Madison and her role in early American history.
  • The Civilian Conservation Corps

    Full Episode

    S 22 : Ep 1 - 11/2/09

    One part of a special series of American Experience episodes (promoted as "The 1930s") that re-packages previous broadcasts and adds original programming in order to examine the United States in crisis during the Great Depression. This episode is a new broadcast.

    FDR establishes a back-to-work program that generates employment and addresses some of the nation's environmental needs.moreless
  • The Bombing of Germany

    Full Episode

    S 21 : Ep 02.04.10 - 2/8/10

    In World War II British and American Allied forces carried out a bombing campaign of unprecedented might over Germany's cities, claiming the lives of nearly half a million civilians.
  • Wyatt Earp

    Full Episode

    S 21 : Ep 01.24.10 - 1/25/10

    Celebrated as a man who took control of his own destiny, Wyatt Earp came to epitomize the town-taming marshal responsible for bringing the forces of law, order and civilization to the Wild West.moreless
  • The Polio Crusade

    Full Episode

    S 21 : Ep 2 - 2/2/09

    The human story behind the massive American effort to eliminate the debilitating effects of the polio virus and the truly untested nature of Salk's original vaccine.
  • The Trials of J. Robert Oppenheimer

    Full Episode

    S 21 : Ep 1 - 1/26/09

    The career of America's most famous and controversial nuclear physicist and his fall from grace during the Cold War.
  • Grand Central

    Full Episode

    S 20 : Ep 4 - 2/4/08

    The story of the origins of New York's re-imagined Grand Central Station in the early 20th century, proclaimed in its time as the most majestic and advanced train terminal of all.
  • The Lobotomist

    Full Episode

    S 20 : Ep 2 - 1/21/08

    A look at the controversial work of Walter Freeman, a neurosurgeon who sought to alleviate severe mental disorder by permanently disabling the brain's frontal lobes.
  • Seabiscuit

    Full Episode

    S 15 : Ep 11 - 4/14/03

    The story of the under-sized race horse that outperformed all expectations.
  • Hoover Dam

    Full Episode

    S 11 : Ep 3 - 1/18/99

    The story behind building one of the greatest Depression-era projects, the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River.
  • Surviving the Dust Bowl

    Full Episode

    S 10 : Ep 13 - 3/2/98

    Causes and consequences of the agricultural disaster that struck the American midwest in the 1930s.
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