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The West - Ken Burns [DVD]


Price: £105.99
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The West - Ken Burns [DVD] + Ken Burns - The Civil War Commemorative Edition [DVD] + Prohibition [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Narrated by Peter Coyote, Matthew Broderick, Gary Sinise, Jimmy Smits, Adam Arkin
  • Directors: Stephen Ives
  • Format: Box set, HiFi Sound, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Simply Media
  • DVD Release Date: 1 Dec 2009
  • Run Time: 703 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008AWTO
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,995 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

103 of 105 people found the following review helpful By Leigh Munro on 10 Feb 2004
Format: DVD
If you have seen and enjoyed Ken Burns' legendary documentary mini-series, The American Civil War, then you will not be disappointed by The West.
Burns employs the same techniques (letters, photos, old maps, drawings with Hollywood actors providing the voices and historians occasionally fleshing out the tones) to tell the story of the American West. It is a wonderful story told from every angle. If you enjoy American history and value good film-making, then do not miss this wonderful documentary series.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Can Ortac on 10 Oct 2008
Format: DVD
Ken Burns has captured the drama, the triumph, the tragedy and more importantly - The truth of the opening and colonization of the American West in this masterpiece of film work. I ordered "The West" as a follow up to watching Ken Burns' "The Civil War" (also an excellent production) to fill in some of the "gaps" and I was not disappointed, "The West" provides a massive amount of historical information in a well-planned, easy to follow and concise manner. The rich panoramic camera-work coupled with original photos, quotes, commentaries and period music delivers a sense of reality, one can almost imagine standing on the plains with the pioneers or cringing from a cavalry charge. The film is not patriotic, there is no attempt to conceal or sugarcoat unpleasant events perpetrated in the course of "manifest destiny", the film is raw and unapologetic, Ken Burns merely delivers the truth of what happened, he doesn't take sides. I highly recommend this series for anyone wishing to know about "The West" or how the United States came to be what it is today. Again, kudos to Mr. Burns, keep up the good work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ian Lawrence on 19 Dec 2009
Format: DVD
Excellent DVD set giving 11 hours 43 minutes' viewing, from the series shown on BBC TV in late 1990s. Beautifully filmed and sensitively narrated. Gives a balanced view on the history of the American West and helps redress the balance of earlier historical essays and films. Covers the period 1500 to 1914.

It would be good to see a similar quality product covering 1914 to the present day, giving due emphasis to all the different ethnic groups living in the West.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Brawny Withed on 6 Aug 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a breathtakingly epic history documentary on a much misunderstood and mythologised subject: The American Wild West.

The documentary starts back in prehistoric times with the Native Americans, The Spanish conquests of the New World, Lewis and Clark's search for the North West passage, The Civil War and Cowboys & Gold Rush.

Ken Burns is epic in this production: 8 Episodes Over 12 Hours. The program includes talking heads such as the historians Stephen Ambrose, J. S. Holliday, and Richard White; the novelists Maxine Hong Kingston and N. Scott Momaday; and the politicians Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Ann Richards, Stewart Udall, and Ralph Yarborough.

Another Ken Burns method used in 'The West' is the voices of the characters in the various episodes who are voiced by actors and actresses such as Adam Arkin, Matthew Broderick, Keith Carradine, John Lithgow, Gary Sinise, and Jimmy Smits.

I would suggest this to anyone who loves History. It teaches you so much about American History for better or worse (Usually the latter) but it also focuses on the ordinary peoples lives and their struggles which is always refreshing when dealing with History.

Despite the prices it is an investment and you will want to watch it again and is quality American film making at its Very Best!
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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful By DF McCleland VINE VOICE on 16 Dec 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This landmark series will probably always be the definitive series on how the West was "won". These vast roaming plains were initially the home to the various Indian tribes & equally vast herds of bison.

The video deals with the slow dispossession of the Indians to these lands. Initially the impact of the white man was inconsequential as they only had to deal with hunters, traders & trappers. These were hardy frontiersmen who impinged little on the Indians traditional way of life except for 3 things - guns, horses & booze.

This idyll was about to change irrevocably with the discovery of gold in California & the building of the railroads across the continent. With the opening up of the West, came the immigrants from Europe and the outlaws, unemployed & adventurers from the east coast. Their voracious appetite for land meant the slow inexorable dispossession of the Indian peoples despite treaties to the contrary. By reneging on these promises, the Indians experienced the eventual demise of their traditional way of life. Part of this change was wrought by the utter destruction of the bison heads - once estimated to number up to 30 million - to the point of their imminent extinction.

Ironically the greatest victory of the Indians against the white man viz the slaughter of the federal troops under George Custer at Little Bighorn was the prelude to their eventual rounding up & placement in reservations.

One gets a sense of the dichotomy of the opening up of the West to development but also the simultaneous destruction of the Indian way of life.

This reviewer certainly finds fault in the production. These principally revolve around what I refer to as the cardinal sins of documentary making. The first relates to the repeated use of the same footage.
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