Liberty! The American Revolution Documentary Series Overview (1997)


Introduction

Liberty! The American Revolution is a six-hour documentary miniseries about the Revolutionary War, and the instigating factors, that brought about the United States’ independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Outline

From the passage of the Stamp Act (1765) through the ratification of the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights (1789). In addition to narration and interviews with historians, the series uses re-enactments of military engagements and excerpts from letters, diaries and other documents of the period, spoken by actors.

The series consists of six hour-long episodes. Each episode is introduced by Forrest Sawyer and narrated by Edward Herrmann. Period photographs and location filming are intercut with stage and screen actors in appropriate period costume reading as figures of the time, including Campbell Scott (Thomas Jefferson), Philip Bosco (Benjamin Franklin), Victor Garber (John Dickinson), Alex Jennings (King George III), Roger Rees (Thomas Paine), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Joseph Plumb Martin), Terrence Mann (Gen. John Burgoyne), Colm Feore (Alexander Hamilton), Sebastian Roché (The Marquis de Lafayette), Donna Murphy (Abigail Adams), Austin Pendleton (Benjamin Rush) and Peter Donaldson (John Adams). Stephen Lang read the words of George Washington, but is not seen on camera.

British and American historians and authors, including Carol Berkin, Bernard Bailyn, Ron Hoffman, Claude-Anne Lopez, Pauline Maier, George C. Neumann, Richard Norton Smith, Gordon S. Wood (US) and Jeremy Black, Colin Bonwick, John Keegan, and N.A.M. Rodger (UK) add historical background, explaining life and society of the time while interpreting events from the perspectives of the two sides of the conflict. Historical perspectives also include the status of black slaves and freemen, the participation of American Indians, and the strivings of American women as events progress.

Soundtrack

American singer-songwriter James Taylor sings the traditional song “Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier” during the end credits. Original music was composed by violinist Mark O’Connor, who accompanies Taylor; the score, which blends new and traditional music, was performed by O’Connor, Taylor, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, trumpet player Wynton Marsalis and the Nashville Symphony. A collection of the music from the soundtrack was released as a companion album in 1997.

Liberty! The American Revolution Series

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • Ellen Hovde … (6 episodes, 1997).
    • Muffie Meyer … (6 episodes, 1997).
  • Producer(s):
    • Catherine Allan … executive producer (6 episodes, 1997).
    • Ronald Blumer … co-producer (6 episodes, 1997).
    • Smokey Forester … producer (6 episodes, 1997).
    • Ellen Hovde … producer (6 episodes, 1997).
    • Laurie Jones … field producer (6 episodes, 1997).
    • Amy J. Kaufman … producer (6 episodes, 1997).
    • Muffie Meyer … producer (6 episodes, 1997).
    • Jennifer Raikes … associate producer (6 episodes, 1997).
    • Sharon Sachs … co-producer (6 episodes, 1997).
    • Jo Umans … producer (6 episodes, 1997).
  • Writer(s):
    • Ronald Blumer … (6 episodes, 1997).
  • Music:
    • James Taylor.
    • Mark O’Connor.
  • Cinematography:
    • Tom Hurwitz … (6 episodes, 1997).
  • Editor(s):
    • Sharon Sachs … (4 episodes, 1997).
    • Molly Bernstein … (3 episodes, 1997).
    • Joshua Waletzky … (2 episodes, 1997).
    • Alison Ellwood … (1 episode, 1997).
  • Production:
    • Middlemarch Films.
    • Twin Cities Public Television Inc.
  • Distributor(s):
    • PBS Home Video (USA) (VHS).
    • Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) (all media).
  • Release Date: 23 November 1997 to 25 November 1997.
  • Running Time: 360 minutes (total running time).
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

Video Link

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