American Experience: New York

Season 1
 (1,626)8.62003TV-PG
Directed by Ric Burns, an award-winning and elegant, lyrical and compelling portrait of the greatest and most complex of cities.
Genres
Special InterestDocumentary
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English

Included with PBS Documentaries on Amazon for $3.99/month after trial

Add to Watchlist
Add to
Watchlist
By ordering or viewing, you agree to our Terms. Sold by Amazon.com Services LLC.
Write review

  1. 1. New York: The Country and the City (1609-1825)
    November 14, 1999
    1 h 51 min
    13+
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Episode one begins in 1609 and chronicles the arrival of the Dutch.
  2. 2. New York: Order and Disorder (1825-1865)
    November 15, 1999
    1 h 53 min
    18+
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Episode two looks at New York's rise as a burgeoning cultural center and multi-ethnic port.
  3. 3. New York: Sunshine and Shadow (1865-1898)
    November 16, 1999
    1 h 50 min
    13+
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Episode three turns the spotlight on greed and wealth.
  4. 4. New York: The Power and the People (1898-1918)
    November 17, 1999
    1 h 53 min
    TV-PG
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Episode four follows New York into a new century.
  5. 5. New York: Cosmopolis (1918-1931)
    November 18, 1999
    1 h 53 min
    13+
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Episode five tells the African-American experience and the birth of the new media industries.
  6. 6. New York: City of Tomorrow (1929-1945)
    September 30, 2001
    1 h 53 min
    13+
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Episode six reveals the immense new forces were unleashed in New York.
  7. 7. New York: The City and the World (1945-2000)
    October 1, 2001
    2 h 16 min
    13+
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Episode seven chronicles the history of New York from the end of the Second World War to the present.
  8. 8. New York: The Center of the World (1946-2003)
    September 30, 2003
    2 h 57 min
    TV-PG
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    This final chapter provides a powerful portrait of the events leading up to and following 9/11, reaching back to when the idea of a "world trade center" was first conceived and the towers were constructed. Explore the physical, economic, and symbolic aftermath of the attack and what Americans can learn from the recovery effort.

More details

Directors
Ric Burns
Producers
Steeplechase Films, WGBH
Season year
2003
Network
PBS
Content advisory
Drug usefoul languagesexual contentviolence
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Other formats

Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

1626 global ratings

  1. 90% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 6% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 2% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 1% of reviews have 1 stars

How are ratings calculated?

Write a customer review
Sorted by:

Top reviews from the United States

Joseph F. DelgadoReviewed in the United States on August 24, 2018
5.0 out of 5 starsIncredibly good, worth watching many times
Verified purchase
Let me get the "but" out of the way: the narration is so full of superlatives about the city the praise becomes tedious and borderline annoying.

Now. I missed the series when it was on PBS and thus took advantage of a lull in my other responsibilities to watch the series. The Burns never cease to amaze: the breadth, the scope of their research and yet thir ability to cover the highlights without missing important details is nothing short of genius. My particular interest in the series came from my involvement in research on immigration to the US for a play of my own (my drama on the subject is being produced this month in Columbia, SC, but I intend to expand my focus with the next play). I don't think I could have gotten a better sense of what early NYC was and what it has become over the years if I had spent a month in a library.
22 people found this helpful
T RobertsonReviewed in the United States on December 30, 2017
5.0 out of 5 starsWatch history unfold
Verified purchase
The depth and breadth of this documentary series is nothing short of amazing. It's like watching the birth of our country - the good, the bad and the ugly. It's so untarnished. The photos and footage are amazing. I've never seen anything like this. I view this as a history course. Truly a must-see. It can be harrowing. There were times I needed a break. But it draws you in nonetheless.
13 people found this helpful
Thomas G. Field, Jr.Reviewed in the United States on July 14, 2017
4.0 out of 5 starsThis series should appeal to many who aren't particularly interested in New York
Verified purchase
It gets 5 (maybe 10) stars if compared to other historical accounts. For those unaware of the background, it brings the Erie Canal and the World Trade Center to life. I particularly liked the account of the wire walker, but it was painful for an acrophobic person to watch. The account of the horrific Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and similar events provide a perspective on the New Deal. Such accounts also provide interrsting insights into the development of the interstate highway system, urban "renewal" and many other things affecting the entire country.
11 people found this helpful
Chris DaSilvaReviewed in the United States on October 3, 2016
5.0 out of 5 starsA Truly Great NYC History Documentary!!
Verified purchase
Any history (NYC history, to be precise) enthusiast should love this series. Ric Burns does a great job of directing a very long, yet very interesting story on NYC's history, all the way back from the "beginning", when the Dutch discovered the land. Supposedly, the series was originally 7 episodes, and then the events of 9/11 took place, which prompted them to make the 8th episode, which is dedicated to the World Trade Center. Just like the previous 7 episodes on the history of NYC, this 8th episode covers the entire history of the World Trade Center.

I've tried to watch several other geographical history documentaries, and they tend to get slow and kind of boring, but not this. I've watched it several times... all 8 episodes. It's still GREAT.

If you have Amazon Prime, it's currently playing there, so you can stream it "for free" (requires the Amazon Prime membership, obviously). That can change at any time, so if it's still available there, do yourself a favor and get on that!
15 people found this helpful
Tara A. Lawrence-StuartReviewed in the United States on July 25, 2020
5.0 out of 5 starsIt is so great to buy this landmark series--again.
Verified purchase
I was born in New York (slightly upstate) in the late 1930s, left at age 9 for Arizona, returned at 14, but left again. A lot of the City is still in my memory, especially the Brooklyn Bridge. Taped this series on VCR in the 90s, and bought the series and PBS book as well. When the DVD came out, I bought that too. Watched it on Netflix after wearing the DVD out. Now own it on Prime. Still watch it again and again. What does that tell you?
3 people found this helpful
William GustavsonReviewed in the United States on September 9, 2017
5.0 out of 5 starsGreater Understanding for these Trying Times!
Verified purchase
We are ordering our second copy! A wonderful gift to give to anyone, especially those with ties to NYC. My husband grew up in Brooklyn, so this is of great interest to him. I grew up in Los Angeles, but, even so, can see that NYC became the model and lessons (good and bad) for all cities. Make sure you buy the version that includes 9/11 as some only go to 2000. This series offers the viewer greater understanding of American history as the city developed displaying its resiliency and power to overcome economic ups and downs. I would recommend it for viewing to families and schools. In addition, this series is helping me to understand more the personality of President Trump and the city he comes from, a city where its strength is found in the diversity of its people, rather than money. Perfect viewing for these trying times! Thanks to all who had a part in its making.
13 people found this helpful
Simon SezReviewed in the United States on September 26, 2016
5.0 out of 5 starsThe city that never sleeps ...
Verified purchase
A must view for history and those that are curious about New York and it's impact on our society and the world. The Series is long at 17 hours, and it's not in high definition, but still very good and passionate about the details and understanding of how New York was formed and how it continues today to be more evolving then ever before. They should do a follow up episode to reflect the 21st century more and NYC impact on today and the future. Recommend highly!
9 people found this helpful
DJL0455Reviewed in the United States on September 3, 2019
5.0 out of 5 starsOne of the Best Documentaries I’ve Ever Seen
Verified purchase
Loved everything about this documentary. Great music, great narration by David Ogden Stiers (Major Charles Emerson Winchester III from the TV show M.A.S.H.). I highly recommend this for anybody interested in the history of the City of New York. Full Disclosure: I was born in NYC, and lived there for the first 31 years of my life.
2 people found this helpful
See all reviews