The Ultimate Civil War Series

Season 1
 (608)
6.8201213+
This documentary mini-series traces the causes, courses as well as the major events and personalities of the American Civil War
Genres
Documentary
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English

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  1. 1. Sins of the Fathers
    July 23, 2012
    52min
    13+
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    The Road to Civil War, battles over Slavery turn violent in Kansas and Harper's Ferry. The election of Lincoln, Secession, Fort Sumter and the First Battle of Manassas
  2. 2. A Deep, Steady Thunder
    July 23, 2012
    49min
    13+
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    The first battles of the war go poorly for the North, the rise of General Lee and the 1862 invasion of Maryland
  3. 3. Days of Infamy
    July 23, 2012
    49min
    13+
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    The Battle of Antietam, Northern leaders fail at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville - Lee marches toward Gettysburg
  4. 4. The Turning Points
    July 23, 2012
    49min
    13+
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Brandy Station - the largest Cavalry battle followed by the epic struggle at Gettysburg and the fall of Vicksburg
  5. 5. Not War, But Murder
    July 23, 2012
    49min
    13+
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Chickamauga and Chattanooga in the west. Grant takes command and begins to attack Lee in Virginia. The Wilderness to Cold Harbor and the Petersburg siege
  6. 6. The Killing Fields
    July 23, 2012
    55min
    13+
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Battles for Petersburg - The Crater. The futile fights of Franklin and Nashville in Tennessee. The Battle of Five Forks shatters Lee's Army
  7. 7. New Birth of Freedom
    July 23, 2012
    52min
    13+
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    April 2, 1865 and the fall of Petersburg and Richmond. Lee surrenders to Grant and Sherman takes the surrender of the western Confederate Army. Lincoln's assassination and the second war over reconstruction and the citizenship of former slaves. The legacy of the war.

More details

Directors
Kevin Hershberger
Season year
2012
Network
Mill Creek Entertainment
Content advisory
Alcohol usefoul languagesmokingviolence
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

608 global ratings

  1. 69% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 18% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 7% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 5% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

GJReviewed in the United States on February 10, 2013
4.0 out of 5 stars
a must for Civil War buffs,or beginners.
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This series skims,highlights,and focus' on event leading,throughtout,and after the Civil War. The skimming in the first chapter("Sins of the Fathers") is basically from the Foundng Fathers,leaving debatable issues such as slavery,open.it highlights the rise of the abolitionist movement,key figures in and around the 1830.The effects of the movement on states seeking admittion.Reaching South Carolina's(&others) Succession,Lincoln's election,and the first shots fired.the final chapter New Birth of Freedom.Gives us a look at the end of the war and the final battle fought,by Sherman's western army,against a force of 90,000 southern troops .Two days after Lincoln's death.And the capture of Pres.Jeff Davis and his 3000 men,Almost a month later.from there,a brief summary of the reconstruction,and the treatmet the South received from a avenging North:Along with the Civil Rights movement.The five chapters in between give seemlingly unbias,and equaltreatment too both North and South.Eastern and Western theatres,durning the war. Troops movements,shown on maps.Political pressures from both sides durning the campains,Letters,reports journals read.And of course re-enactments.The Valor,Glory and defeat,of the commanders and troops involved in the various actions also mentioned.
For the low price an the amount of information this vidio is well worth it. This past Nov.I visted my brother in GA.We spent,3days visting spots that were in the path of Sherman's march too Atlanta.So when that part of the series was reached- I was a bit surprised at how well it matched what I read and herd(on tours).This was anoher plus in my book.These people did do there job putting this vidio together.The minus which makes me round this down too a 4 from a 4.5(choice not offerd).Vidio quility is a little weak in some spots,like the films been shown to many times,or not cleaned properly(Maybe Blu-version is better):The music at times over powers the narrator in spots.Finally on the first chapter ,i had too skip the end of the segmet on John Brown due too audio,&picture problem(about 2minutes).The last disc a letter that is suppose too read about the feelings toward Lincolns death,from a Ny woman-is not here ,but replaced by unbalanced music,and the narrator babbling something not too clearly.Then skips too a southern woman,who seems to of felt his assination was a terrible loss for the South as well as the North.Apparently Pres.Davis had simular feelings.Aside from minor audio,and vidio problems-this, set is worthy addition too your vidio libary.And just perhapes it will lead you to come too or find your own conclusions-to the bloodiest time of American history....
26 people found this helpful
Mark A SpencerReviewed in the United States on June 12, 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
Well Worth Watching
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As someone who spent his first 9 years in Massachusetts and the next 9 in Virginia digging up minie-balls and in Maryland in the '60s, I have always been fascinated by The Civil War. When other kids were reading about dinosaurs or sports figures, I was reading about Antietam, Gettysburg, and Vicksburg; about Lee and Jackson, Grant and Sherman.

I have watched the Ken Burns The Civil War many times and it is superb. But the Burns series is mostly still pictures and the individual consequences, personal letters, and driving social forces. I lamented a lack of battlefield details and live action.

The Ultimate Civil War provides that. While beginning with the underlying causes of the war (Episode 1, Sins Of The Fathers) which I consider the best summary of the causes of the war I have seen, the subsequent episodes move promptly into the battles.

The battle maps, while briefly shown (well there IS the pause button of course) are detailed, clear and excellent. The maps of the battle of Gettysburg particularly showed the complex and sometimes chaotic nature of the attacks and counterattacks. I particularly liked the way that arrows of attacks were straight when successful but curved back when failed. I compliment the map-drawer.

There are still photos and live re-enactments, and they are woven together well.

You should not confuse the Ken Burns series with this one; they are different in focus, style and presentation much as West Side Story is different from Romeo and Juliet, but are both are telling the same same story. You should have both. Still, if I only one, I would prefer The Ultimate Civil War.
119 people found this helpful
Busy BeeReviewed in the United States on August 1, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
History from Eyewitness letters, actual events and historian analysis with Top View Maps showing the Events and Turmoil !
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History from Eyewitness letters, actual events and historian analysis with Top View Maps showing the Events and Turmoil leading to the Civil War. Enactment and Voices of President Lincoln and many of the Solders in the field help in drawing me into the documentary and feeling some of what they felt during those historical moments. The show does jump between various points of view and characters and with the complex war plans drawn on maps it’s very hard for a non-civil war buff to keep track of the events, I lost track after the First Battel of Manassas of who is moving where and under whose command. The changes in command and tactics made it look like a game of trial and error rather than detailed military planning in many instances. I have the Battle of Gettysburg Blu-ray, Glory, and my one time favourite Series North & South which may be better for living the events of the Civil war in detail and understanding the what was going on in the minds of Soldiers and People living through that Era. If you are looking for Eyewitness accounts and Facts with some enactments, this is for you. You want more I guess other shows may be more suited.
3 people found this helpful
lolReviewed in the United States on December 31, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
Good but tends to have a Southern Sympathy
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Narrated with a Southern sympathy. Grant stopped prisoner exchanges simply because the Southerners were recycled back to their fighting units. The south did not have the manpower and stopping prisoner exchanges cut into the Souths ability to field troops. A crucial historical fact concerning Lee vs Grant should be made. Lee averaged a loss of 20% of his troops on every campaign. As Lee typically fought with smaller armies than the North, this percentage would cut deeper in his force. In fact when Lee was the aggressor like Antietam and Gettysburg, his losses averaged 30% of his command. Grant on the other hand averaged a loss of 10% of his troops on every campaign. However this documentary focuses on the largest losses of the North and not the rest of the campaigns. Lee fought battle strategy. Grant fought a war strategy. Richmond was not Grant's objective. The objective was always Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia. I recommend the 'Great Commanders' series. There is an episode on Grant and Lee.
5 people found this helpful
Tough CustomerReviewed in the United States on October 1, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Better than Ken Burns
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I have seen a lot of documentaries including many on this subject and this one really stands out both for its good organization and its careful attention to all aspects of the war including the causes of the same and the motivations of the people involved.

Until now my top Civil War series was the ubiquitous Ken burns production but I think this series it better if you actually want to understand the war rather than just look at old photos. This isn't the usual attempt to please everyone by glossing over the reality of war; this is an unsentimental look at an ugly period of American history that actual students of history will really appreciate.
32 people found this helpful
Lee A. BartholomewReviewed in the United States on June 8, 2015
3.0 out of 5 stars
Bought more because of what it's on than whats in it. and great price.
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Well blu-ray * c.... figure it out. kinda blasted this for being the anti ken burns documentary. now having been around some historians. They don't think of the Civil War Ken Burns movies as a documentary but as entertainment. So depending on what your view is of Ken Burns work... This could be a deal breaker ie if you like his work stay away from this disc. If you don't like his work this might be useful. Video quality though ... only format is good. ie I've always preferred blu-ray over any other format for one reason. The scratch resistant layer. (that and it's one layer of plastic) It's more durable than dvd which is brittle. So is HD DVD Gonna confuse you soon when UHD's come out. yes indeed HD DVD as a name sucked. But they think the'll make another go of it. why not Ultra Blu Ray HD not Ultra High Definition ?? gonna confuse some people and already are with the red cases that are really blu. frankly many of the red cases I'll probably either throw away or chisle out the blu ray logo and stick HD DVD in there. Oddly I was a very early Blu Ray fan everyone else in MCSE loved HD DVD. have no idea why. super easy to scratch and cracks. X_X DVD's all over again.
2 people found this helpful
cyReviewed in the United States on January 10, 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
Those who don't like, don't REALLY want history but versions
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I too do not just read a lot- but read more than most anyone I know and yet there were many things I could verify in this I had no idea of. Yes, it is synopsis as all must be, but it covers well the primary events leading to, dramatic during and nearing conclusion. To those who say, oh, not accurate enough they are looking for entire, well read 4 years on it and you MIGHT come close. Well done, great bargain never anticipated so much for such a small price and FAR more accurate than many who focus on personal relationships rather than cause and effect. I would well say teachers should use this but then many don't want to present what has not been known, they might have to explain and then they would have to read. Most prefer to accept what they are told and not to learn to think, read from other sources, find out for sure. This sure prompted me to do far more reading and I'm glad, it told it, I verified, I am impressed.
5 people found this helpful
John VanvoorhisReviewed in the United States on January 13, 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
Should be seen by all high school students
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After having seen this wonderful production by Ken Burns several times over the years, my conclusion remains the same. It is genuinely OUTSTANDING!

The well-chosen letters read by voices familiar to many, the gripping musical selections (mostly period pieces though Ashokan is modern), and especially the wonderfully engaging and honest comments of Shelby Foote, make this a production which should be viewed by all Americans, and indeed by non-Americans as well.

Having lived much of my life in the South (though a New Yorker at birth), I am keenly aware of the differences in viewpoint as to the political aspects of the terrible War Between the States. These will continue to be debated ad infinitum. But I think the film has been quite fair in pointing out the deficiencies as well as the strengths of the major characters.

I would affirm once again that every school student should see this production. It is extremely moving.
6 people found this helpful
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