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A pair of groundbreaking documentaries from director Pare Lorentz leads off with "The Plow That Broke the Plains," a government-sponsored look at how the uncontrolled plowing of the Midwest led to the Dust Bowl. Then, produced by the U.S. Farm Security Administration, Lorentz's acclaimed documentary "The River" looks at the history ... more
Aaron Copland composed the riveting score for this powerful documentary, created to be presented at the 1939 World's Fair. Predating the kind of audiovisual social commentary offered by the likes of "Koyaanisqatsi" by decades, this profile of Depression-era America fuses music, narration, and unforgettable images to tell a story of ... more
Life In The Thirties(1960)
An exhilarating look at life in the 1930s, an era rich with discovery and excitement despite the turmoil of the Great Depression. Alexander Scourby narrates this "Project Twenty" program that spans from the Crash of 1929 to 1939's New York's World Fair and includes footage of bank nights at the movies, Benny Goodman and the birth of ... more
The Crash Of 1929(1990)
Can too much optimism destroy an economy? This installment of the "American Experience" series suggests it was exactly that kind of unbounded thinking that lulled an entire country into a false sense of security before the stock market crash of 1929 hurled America into the Depression. This program revisits that transformative event ... more
Riding The Rails(1997)
During the Great Depression, hundreds of thousands of teenagers would leave their hometowns and hop freight trains, hoping to find a better life wherever the rails would take them. Their remarkable true stories are recounted in this acclaimed "American Experience" documentary that mixes interviews, archival film footage, period music ... more
Surviving The Dust Bowl(1998)
Unlike the Joad clan of John Steinbeck's novel "The Grapes of Wrath," many families living in the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma, western Kansas, and the eastern regions of Colorado and New Mexico remained in place, determined to survive the crippling dust storms brought on by an eight-year drought lasting from 1931 to 1939. This ... more
When the stock market crashed in October of 1929, it ushered in the decade of the Great Depression. Featuring newsreel footage, eyewitness accounts, period photographs, and popular music of the era, this program examines the many ways in which people coped with the economic hardships. 120 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English; bonus CD.
Founded by Franklin Roosevelt amid the Great Depression in 1933, the Civilian Conservation Corps would go on to put nearly three million young men, living in military-style camps, to work preserving national parks and forests and building roads, dams, and other infrastructure projects. This PBS "American Experience" documentary looks ... more
Grand Coulee Dam(2012)
The building the Grand Coulee Dam during the Great Depression was indeed a grand "American Experience." The acclaimed PBS series here revisits how the hydroelectric power facility in the state of Washington both delivered power for the Manhattan Project and threatened the extinction of massive populations of fish, reviewing the lasting ... more