In American history, few people have cut a more impressive figure than Benjamin Franklin. Beginning with his successful journalism and publishing careers, Franklin began a life of extraordinary achievement and variety. This series covers the multifaceted man whose life included public service, diplomacy, science, inventing and political action that would help redefine a world.
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We have taken some photos of "Benjamin Franklin". They represent actual movie quality.
This PBS documentary traces the epic life of Benjamin Franklin from his humble beginnings in Boston to his worldwide fame as a scientist, writer, Founding Father, and diplomat. Originally premiered on PBS on November 19-20, 2002, the documentary breaks Franklin's life into three parts: (1) "Let the Experiment Be Made" (1706-1753) looks at how Franklin quickly rose from his humble origins to become a prominent printer and publisher in Philadelphia. He "retired" to become a gentleman of leisure and devote his time to studying the new science of electricity. His discoveries not only freed the world from the harmful effects of lightning but also made him a major figure on the world stage. Throughout the series, Franklin's scientific work, from inventing the Franklin stove to charting the Gulf Stream, keep popping up along with their importance at that time.(2) "The Making of a Revolutionary" (1775-1776) finds Franklin moving to London where he ended up in the middle of the growing dispute between England and the American colonies. The focus is on how this dispute turned Franklin, a loyal subject of the British empire who had his illegitimate son William made the Royal Governor of New Jersey, into a revolutionary who would return home to help draft the Declaration of Independence. Keep in mind that this is happening in a world where getting a message back and forth across the Atlantic took weeks if not months. (3) "The Chess Master" (1776-1709) follows Franklin on the most important mission of his long life as he became the American diplomatic representative to France during the American Revolution. Despite the less than helpful presence of John Adams and others, Franklin manages to play a pivotal role in getting France to recognize the new nation of the United States of America. After the war, ends his public service helping to create the U.S. Constitution and being the only one of the Founding Fathers to actively campaign against the institution of slavery.Narrated by Colm Feore, this documentary features Dylan Baker as the young Franklin and Richard Easton as the older version. The major strength of the production is that it relies heaving upon Franklin's own writings and those of his contemporaries, which are performed by Baker, Easton and other actors addressing the camera. Easton especially does a marvelous job of catching the wisdom behind Franklin's wit and even his righteous anger when somebody gets on his bad side. The result is that Easton ranks with Howard de Silva ("1776") in the first rank of those who have portrayed Franklin on screen. There are also talking heads, such as Gordon Wood (whose "The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin" I read last year), who providing historical insights and perspective. But mostly you are going to remember what Ben tells you (e.g., the story of paying too much for the whistle), and have a much better sense of both the man and his accomplishments after spend 3 ½ hours watching this documentary.There is a short featurette on the making of the series and some program "outtakes," which consist of more examples of talking heads, primarily Franklin, reciting various writings (apparently the people at PBS are so sheltered they do not know these would be better characterized as deleted scenes, or at least excerpts). As is the case with most PBS DVD Videos you can go to their excellent website for "Benjamin Franklin" and find a Teacher's Guide and other Resources for teachers and students to learn more about Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin was really a great man. He contributed so much to shape America in what it is now. This video gave my husband and I such an interest in Benjamin's Franklin's life that thereafter we red more about him. Finally, we decided to name our son Benjamin in honor of Benjamin Franklin.What a Great Man!This video is a "must see".
This is one of my favorite documentaries to date. The acting is top notch for the young Franklin, the elder Franklin, and others in Franklin's life. Re-enactments and unique footage fill the majority of scenes instead of musty paintings or drawings. The whole documentary has a fresh and witty feel.What impressed me most, though, was how clearly and informatively the documentary sets out the life of Franklin, his character, and his effect on early America and the world. Not only is he revealed as a genius and a founding father, he is shown as a humorous man and the quintessential American. Franklin displays all the unique traits that define the American character, from the refusal to accept social status as fixed by birth to the constant search for scientific truths.Two parts, both excellent. The documentary should have great appeal to any age with even the vaguest interest in American history.
This review is from: Benjamin Franklin (DVD) Loved this documentary. Went between historians talking to actors playing the role. If you want to learn about Ben Franklin, this is a great way to do it.
This review is from: Benjamin Franklin (DVD) This film is about another founding father of the United States, Benjamin Franklin. It categorizes three parts to decipt him and I think this arrangement is pretty adequate.The first part, Let the Experiment Be Made, is about his enthusiasm on the science and the impacts to the world. The most famous story may be the kite and the lightning. In addition, this part also talks about his early life. Some of his scientific works are scattered in the other parts of this film.The second part, The Making of a Revolutionary, is about how he becomes a Patriot rather than sticking to a Loyalist. It is somewhat ironic since he regards himself as an Englishman rather than an American most of his life. At last, this turns out to be his darkest time since he and his son, who helped him in the kite and lightning experiment, are separated for different political beliefs.The third part, The Chess Master, is mostly about his endeavors in France during the Revolution War. After winning the independence, he is also a key man for the peace treaty with England and France and the U.S. Constitution. It is not straightforward as we might think to reach the peace treaty with the European powers because they had their own agendas. The U.S. Constitution is also not seemed to work at that time since no one is satisfied with it due to so many compromises and fears. Overall, these make him the only one sign in the three most important documents in the early U.S. history, the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Paris and the U.S. Constitution. The time is well spent after I have finished it. The narration and comments from experts are smooth and on focus. It's very pleasing to watch during the whole running time. I recommend this DVD to anyone interested in Benjamin Franklin, who deserves his fame.
This DVD is excellent. With a mixture of fantastic acting and insightful commentary from various well-known scholars, it gives a broad overview of Franklin's long life. The film describes various aspects of Franklin's character and genius, from his childhood on, and how these affected his social and political action. The actors often speak lines taken from letters and other writings of the time. Highly recommended!
This review is from: Benjamin Franklin (DVD) Beautifully written book made difficult by the complexity of the man and still an enjoyable read.
The video was awesome. The acting was awesome. Even if you had no interest in this guy, by the end of the DVD you want to read everything you can about this amazing man. BF was well ahead of his time! Born with no social rank whatsoever, his insatiable desire to learn & his vast intellect allowed him to rub elbows with kings, heads of states, scientists, philosophers, musicians, literary giants..and every other walk of life you can possibly imagine. Make this video a part of your American History collection - it entertains as well as educate.
I fell on this by accident, and loved it. I was in a real history mode about 2 years ago, and grabbed this. I really can't remember why, but I have to admit out of all the documentaries from the channels that sell life insurance this is my favorite.Its informative, accurate, and if watched on your laptop/desktop - you may want to investigate the background materials online that are discussed (or acted).The acting is good. Richard Easton is a true professional, and the rest of cast does an above average job as well - for a documentary. The commentary from experts is equally as pleasing, and quite balanced. It stays on point and leads from beginning to end like a good book.Well worth a buy for the facts, acting, and return value. I give this 4 stars as it is not anamorphic, but letterboxed widescreen (not enhanced for 16x9 TV's).
I have not seen many biographical documentaries, but this has to be among the best I've seen. It was very thorough in the treatment of Ben Franklin's life as a scientist, diplomat and bussiness man. Whether you are looking for a good introduction to Ben Franklin or looking for something to solidify and review your knowledge of him and or the times he lived, this is an excellent program. What I really like about this video is that it doesn't shy away from some of the more unflattering aspects of Ben. This shows that all men (small and great) have their faults. You will learn about his whole character which will provide an excellent foundation.
This review is from: Benjamin Franklin (DVD) mom loves history movies/shows so I bought this for her. She enjoyed it so I guess its good if you are a history fanatic.
This is a superbly entertaining documentary capturing the brilliance, boldness, and bawdiness of Ben Franklin. It covers Franklin's rise to wealth as a businessman who, among other things, established perhaps the first organization for young entrepeneurs to network. It chronicles his role as a scientist (experimenting with electricity) and inventor (e.g., the Franklin stove and bifocals). Then we see how Franklin's role as diplomat helped secure the American colonies' success in freeing themselves from British rule. This documentary captures both Franklin's genius and his impishness. Franklin was a shrewd strategist who achieved his aims through calculation, perseverance, and a nimble wit. Not the typical marble statue portrayal of one of our founding fathers, "Benjamin Franklin," shows the real flesh and blood character of Franklin who was nothing if not colorful.
This review is from: Benjamin Franklin (DVD) This is an outstanding series in three parts about one of our most fascinating citizens. The writers have demonstrated the changing philosophical, religious, and scientific context of Franklin's life. The contributions of this man were amazing, though his normal human limitations are evident as well. The director of these videos employs actors, often speaking Franklin's actual words, as well as many art works that the depict the subject.
This review is from: Benjamin Franklin (DVD) this was great until it got to the end, which in this case ended when he returned to the u.s. (then america). the whole chapter on the revolution and france is not included on my dvd. i couldn't understand it. i am so disappointed. does anyone know how i can get it?
This clever and entertaining look at the life and times of Benjamin Franklin would be a great addition to the library of any Franklin buff or history buff for that matter.It is well written, and entertainingly presented with a mix of narration and live action. Richard Easton does a fantastic job portraying Franklin and the cast does well acting out actual correspondences and written first hand accounts from the time.The film is broken down into three segments showing the life of Franklin. Let the Experiment Be Made, The Making of a Revolutionary, and The Chessmaster.Let the experiment be made shows the early life of Franklin, how a genius was made and his contributions to science.The Making of a Revolutionary shows how a man who once considered himself a loyalist became a fierce proponent of independence.The Chessmaster detailed his years in France gaining support for the war, the treaty of France, and the building of the American Experiment in democracy.Ultimately this film does a great job portraying Franklin as a man. Sometimes flawed, as we all are, but a man who contributed so many things to making America what we know today. It does it with wit, humor, and narration that moves quick and keeps you interested.
Not only does this documentary keeps you interested, it brings it to life with wonderful acting. The script is based on all of the letters from Franklin makes this a great dvd to own because of it's uniqueness. There are times as if Ben himself was speaking to the camera, and there are moments that will have you laughing, OUT LOUD! Great perspective on a man who we know but at the same time we do not know enough (for example, out of all the "founding fathers" he was the only one who was against slavery). A great job!
Many would say Abraham Lincoln, some maybe George Washington...but in my opinion, Benjamin Franklin was, and is, the greatest American. Why? Franklin was accomplished in so many areas, you'd have a hard time just trying to keep track of everything he did. Luckily, this program does it for you, and does it rather well.It is split into three episodes, but throughout, you will see the many sides of Franklin: statesman, diplomat, inventor, scientist, philosopher, self-made businessman, humanitarian, visionary...and that's just what I can remember! Franklin was one of those rare individuals who was able to succeed at seemingly anything he tried; a multi-talent who, really, was a giant among his peers. That's what it comes down to, and one of the historians interviewed at the end of this program nailed it: Franklin was, simply put, a genius. His story is told in a variety of ways - re-enactments, readings from Franklin's "Autobiography," letters, on-site location filming, commentary from noted authors, and more. It is all woven together rather neatly, which helps to make the 3+ hour program pass without noticing. In the end, even though Franklin lived to be 84 years old, you are left wishing there was more to tell.Five stars. Anyone watching this program cannot help but come away with a new appreciation and admiration for Franklin, even if you already know his story. Let the others fight over Lincoln and Washington, because it's only for 2nd place anyway. Franklin tops them all!
This review is from: Benjamin Franklin (DVD) This move was educational but nowhere as good as John Adams, would I recommend buying this item, yes.
Benjamin Franklin is an impressive production about an amazing person - in the Ken Burns tradition, but better.
This review is from: Benjamin Franklin (DVD) I loved this, so did my entire family. We've watched this several times, and get something more out of it each time we watch it. I'd seen part of it on PBS and had to track it down. The stories are detailed, and the way the actor comes across, you forget that he isn't the real Benjamin Franklin. I highly recommend this DVD.