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The Presidents (6-Disc Set) [DVD]


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2 used from £34.99

Past Meets Present
Visit the History Channel Store to discover top documentaries on history, nature and war as well as fascinating reality TV and science fiction.

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Product details

  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: None
  • Dubbed: None
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: None
  • Audio Description: None
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: History Channel
  • DVD Release Date: 15 Nov 2010
  • Run Time: 570 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003WQ0ZVI
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 47,903 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Tom on 13 Dec 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As most documentaries about US history focus on the big names and gloss over the "mediocre presidents" as The Simpsons named them, it's good to see a more comprehensive documentary. Each president is given a slot, both Lincoln and Fillmore alike. A plethora of pundits give background commentary (sometimes at odds with each other) and visual sources fill in the gaps, including photos (where available), paintings, reenactments, and written archives. There's some good trivia included, although it's sometimes a little contrived. Unfortunately, some of the segments seem rushed and end abruptly, as if they divided up the presidents between episodes before actually writing each president's segment. Meanwhile, other presidents' segments are belaboured to fill the space allocated. I feel it would have been better to write it without constraint and then edit appropriately based on the result.

Once into living memory (and living presidents), the pundits unsurprisingly become a lot more guarded, perhaps for fear of offending the subject. This is particularly noticeable when former President Carter is himself interviewed: when the other pundits are subsequently interviewed, it's almost as if they know he's outside the door, listening!

As someone who's grown up on epic BBC documentaries, this History Channel show doesn't seem to have the gravitas and serious production quality I'd like, and whoever picked the cheesy electric guitar track for the end music needs help. Sound and picture quality are what you'd expect from a 2003 show filmed in NTSC hastily converted to PAL DVD, so this isn't going to look great on a modern post-digital UK TV.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Egremont21 on 11 July 2011
Format: DVD
A very impressively packaged box set, but three of the discs are rather superfluous. The real meat of the set is in the three discs about the Presidents from Washington to GW Bush. The background music in the first few programmes is so wildly inappropriate, loud and intrusive that it makes those episodes almost unwatchable. But persevere because the music improves and moves to where it should be - in the background.

Some of the content of the early episodes is a bit patchy, but again this improves as the series goes on. It also helps to have some knowledge already of American history as the series assumes this. If you don't know, for instance, what the Teapot Dome Scandal was you probably aren't going to be any wiser after watching this.

Overall I enjoyed this series, but the first few episodes are almost destroyed by ill conceived background music.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Miss J Gray on 21 July 2011
Format: DVD
It is a very comprehensive set - covers lots of aspects related to American Presidents.
I bought it for my 11-y.o. son who is extremely interested in American history and knows a great deal about it. He found lots of new information on these DVDs.
However, I can imagine that for an older history fan these DVDs might seem a bit superficial as they mainly cover facts, not underlying causes or ideas.
Therefore I would recommend these to young enthusiasts and beginners.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gimli on 17 Jan 2012
Format: DVD
This DVD set is perfect for people who want to learn more about the Presidents, how the Presidential position came to be and has changed throughout the years, and just what the most important events, scandals and moments in American history are all about, and how did the Presidents deal with them?

The fact that every President is covered with seemingly the same care and attention must be a bonus for those who want to know more about Presidents that are generally unheard of. I have personally come away with far greater knowledge of many of the "forgotten" Presidents, and wonder quite frankly, how they have been allowed to become "forgotten". If everyone watched this set, they may be inspired to seek out a book regarding Van Buren or Taft and learn even more and that is what is so great about these kind of DVD packages - they inspire people to learn more about the subject.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the extra DVD's. The insight into how the First Lady position has become far more important than was ever intended, and the glimpses of just what life could be like for these women, and what they truly felt about being First Lady and living in The White House, should not be ignored as a "filler DVD". Characters just as strong as those of the Presidents emerged, from the likes of Dolley Madison, who whilst in fear of the British arriving in Washington during the War of 1812, and even with their plans to kidnap her, she saved many valuables from The White House before fleeing and not only did she save a famous painting of George Washington before the British arrived, but also original drafts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By HF on 1 Jan 2011
Format: DVD
Interesting documentary on US Presidents. I personally enjoyed watching this series, although the historians quoted seem to approach their study of the Presidents from a rather one-sided approach. They only mentioned their opinions and understanding of the Presidents, and at times seem to speak for the Presidents themselves. The only real minus in watching the documentary was the rather melodramtic intro & background music.
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