American Experience

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

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  • Truman on the Enemy: Sizing up Stalin

    Clip

    11/1/11

  • FDR and Lying: Lend-Lease

    Clip

    11/1/11

  • Reagan on Policing the World: Aiding Freedom Fighters

    Clip

    11/1/11

  • Stonewall Uprising Preview

    Clip

    4/18/11

  • The American Experience: Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid

    Trailer

    Long before Paul Newman and Robert Redford immortalized them on screen, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid captivated Americans from coast to coast. In the 1890s, their exploits robbing banks and trains in the West - and then seemingly vanishing into thin air - became national news and the basis of rumors andmoreless
  • The American Experience: The Poisoner's Handbook

    Trailer

    In the early 20th century*the average American medicine cabinet was a would-be poisoner's treasure chest. There was radioactive radium in health tonics*thallium in depilatory creams*and morphine in teething medicine and potassium cyanide in cleaning supplies. While the tools of the murderer's trade multiplied as the pace of industrial innovation increased*the scientific knowledge (and the political will) to detect and prevent the crimes lagged behind. All this changed in 1918*when New York City hired its first scientifically trained medical examiner Charles Norris. Over the course of a decade and a half*Norris and his extraordinarily driven and talented chief toxicologist*Alexander Gettler*would turn forensic chemistry into a formidable science*sending many a murderer to the electric chair and setting the standards that the rest of the country would ultimately adopt.moreless
  • The American Experience: Jfk

    Trailer

    Scheduled for broadcast around the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination, this biography provides a fresh look at an enigmatic man who has become one of the nation's most beloved and most mourned leaders. The newest addition to The Presidents collection, the documentary explores Kennedy's childhood years as the overlooked second son of a multimillionaire exploding with ambition, his early political career as a lackluster congressman, his subsequent successful run for senate, and the election victory that turned him into the youngest elected president in U.S. history. With the benefit of newly opened archives and recently released documents, the film re-evaluates JFK's strengths and weaknesses in the Oval Office and looks at how he navigated some of the most explosive events of the mid-20th century: the Cuban missile crisis, the escalating conflict in Southeast Asia, and the urgent demands of an increasingly impatient civil rights movement. It also provides new insights into his private life -- his relationship with his beautiful, accomplished wife, his obsessive womanizing, his inappropriate friendships, his reliance on his younger brothers, and his deference to the all-powerful father who had helped make him who he was.moreless
  • American Experience: Henry Ford

    Trailer

    HENRY FORD paints a fascinating portrait of a farm boy who rose from obscurity to become the most influential American innovator of the 20th century. Ford's Model T automobile and his five-dollar-a-day wage ushered in the modern world, earning Ford reverence from millions of Americans. Yet many of the changes he wrought deeply troubled the carmaker. In frustration, he lashed out at enemies, real and imagined.moreless
  • 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.
  • Into The Deep: America, Whaling & The World

    Trailer

    For nearly 400 years, few aspects of the American experience have struck more deeply into the imagination of the American people-or resonated more profoundly with the deepest American hopes, fears, and dreams-than the savagely primal, unfathomably limit-testing experience of whaling. From the dawn of the 17th century-when the first sea-weary pilgrims looked on in wonder as teeming pods of whales breached the waters off Cape Cod-to the eve of the Civil War-when more than 700 of the 900 ships in the world wide whaling fleet hailed from American ports, and American whalemen dominated the globe-the epic story of the commercial pursuit of the largest creature on earth would be intimately bound up with the story of America, in strange and telling ways: as a dark and shining parable of American capitalism on the rise; as a riveting case study in maritime culture at its most extreme; and as an allegory for the American, and the human experience-long before a restless sometime-whaleman and would-be writer named Herman Melville ever went to sea. At one a fantastic sea-adventure, a cautionary economic and environmental tale, and a mythic saga of man and nature, this thrilling, epic film tells the amazing story of three centuries of American whaling, interweaving along the way the riveting tale of the doomed whaleship Essex, which set sail from Nantucket in the summer of 1819, and the deeply moving story of a young Herman Melville-whose own real life and imaginative voyage into the deep would give rise to one of the greatest works of literature ever created by an American.moreless
  • 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
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