The Donner Party: A Film by Ric Burns

8.41 h 23 min1992NR
Trapped in the Sierra Nevadas during the bitter winter of 1846, an untried shortcut became a death warrant for half of the Donner and Reed families as they became victims of madness, death and cannibalism.
Ric Burns
Amy MadiganDavid McCulloughGene Jones
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
J.D. CannonTimothy Hutton
Ric BurnsLisa AdesMark Samels
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4.4 out of 5 stars

399 global ratings

  1. 68% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 15% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 10% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on July 22, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great documentary.
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I watched this more than once. Is a tragic and heroic story of a true event. Loved the narrator too.
ZechReviewed in the United States on July 29, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Couldn't stop watching!
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This documentary was wonderfully done. True story of hardship in America and I couldn't stop watching once it started. Truly enjoyed this.
AugustReviewed in the United States on January 22, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great documentary with spectacular pacing
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Kept my attention the whole time, both when I started it as background music while I was working and then at home the next day during the weekend when I had to finish it. What an 8 year old, honestly.
BegbyReviewed in the United States on November 6, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Solid, if conventional, documentary
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The growing sense of dread and the devastated realization of having made a series of disastrous mistakes fuels this account of the infamous voyage. Recommended for that alone; the conventional approach at times slows progression of the film but in a way that works, mimicking the simultaneously mundane and depleted journey itself. That anyone survived this peril is amazing; that some resorted to cannibalism to do so is, in the final account, less heinous than it is pragmatic.
3 people found this helpful
DovelyReviewed in the United States on December 9, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Survival by any means
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What a fantastic and tragic story.
phillip krikorianReviewed in the United States on September 2, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
history is great
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anything about history is great and ken burns does it the best ! watch over and over and learn
Laugh and laufReviewed in the United States on January 11, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
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DarleneReviewed in the United States on May 12, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Disturbing story
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I heard about the Donner Party. What a sad story.
One person found this helpful
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