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The Adams Chronicles
The Adams Chronicles
Actors: George Grizzard, William Daniels, Nicholas Pryor
Director: Paul Bogart;James Cellan Jones;Fred Coe
Genres: Drama, Television
NR     2008     13hr 0min

Four generations of a founding family Winner of four EmmysŪ and a Peabody, The Adams Chronicles created a sensation when it debuted in 1976. Lauded by contemporary critics as "the best and highest-rated series in the histo...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: George Grizzard, William Daniels, Nicholas Pryor
Director: Paul Bogart;James Cellan Jones;Fred Coe
Genres: Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Drama, Drama, Classic TV
Studio: Acorn Media
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 04/15/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/1976
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1976
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 13hr 0min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 4
SwapaDVD Credits: 4
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 8
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A brilliant chronicle of four generations of Adams'
Mike Birman | Brooklyn, New York USA | 03/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Produced by PBS as part of the American Bicentennial celebration in 1976, this superb 13 hour television film chronicles the lives of four generations of the illustrious Adams family. It depicts approximately 150 years - from 1750 to 1900 - in the saga of this family whose history is nearly synonymous with that of the difficult birth and adolescence of the American republic. Central to this sprawling tale are the lives of four Adams men: the patriarch John Adams, the second president of the United States, his son John Quincy Adams, the sixth president, his son Charles Francis Adams, an Ambassador to Great Britain during the era of the Civil War, and his son, the historian Henry Adams. Because the family inevitably participated in the central events of their time, especially during the era of the Revolution and shortly thereafter, the series becomes a splendid, often probing depiction of America's early years. Featuring superb acting, wonderful period sets and costumes and, most importantly, truly stellar writing, this may arguably be the finest miniseries, along with the still unreleased Oppenheimer starring Sam Waterston, that American television has ever produced.

George Grizzard portrays John Adams from youth to old age. He is splendid, as is William Daniels who portrays John Quincy from ages 50 to 81. Daniels is no stranger to portraying Adams's having played John Adams in the film of the musical 1776. David Birney portrays John Quincy Adams from ages 36 to 48. John Beal plays Charles Francis Adams and Peter Brandon plays Henry Adams. John Houseman reprises his Paper Chase crotchety attorney role as the irrascible Justice Gridley, John Adam's early legal mentor. The series depicts all of the founding fathers, doing so with humanity and very few marble bust performances. The women of the Adams family are portrayed with sensitivity and subtlety, averting the temptation of allowing them to become mere cyphers. Kathryn Walker and Leora Dana play Abigail Adams from her youth to her death, both actresses portraying John Adams' beloved wife with warmth, gentle humor, keen intelligence and stunning emotional depth. Her character's portrayal is crucial to the success of this series and they acquit it with grace and style. All of the many performances are exemplary in their own unique ways. It is gratifying that this series is finally available on DVD. If you enjoy historical drama and/or American history, then you will certainly enjoy this superb series. Most strongly recommended.

Mike Birman"
JohnAdamsFan | Springfield, IL USA | 03/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"At long last, the "Adams Chronicles" miniseries is coming to DVD. Anyone with any interest in American history will enjoy this great work. The recently-deceased George Grizzard does a stellar job as John, William Daniels (accustomed to playing John Adams in "1776") is remarkable as John Quincy, and the rest of the cast is not too shabby either! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED."
Bicentennial Era Chronicles Bring Revolution to Reality
Michael Ziegler | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United States | 04/20/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"One of our oldest PBS series dramas that focused on our Founding Fathers and their activities to create the United States of America from the roots of Revolution to the establishment of Political order has finally been brought back for us to enjoy once again. The series was based on a book by Jack Shepherd entitled: "The Adams Chronicles, Four Generations of Greatness" with an introduction by the famous author Daniel J. Boorstin (Long before he became popular for his "Discoverers", etc.) Published by Little, Brown in Boston, Mass. in 1975 (very appropriate !) and covered 150 years of the Adams family involvement in the emerging nation and the politics of the era in which they lived.
The series mirrored the book almost chapter by chapter. Intended to re-familiarize our nation with the leaders from Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, etc. for the celebration of the Bicentennial of America in 1976.,this is past history to be proud of in every respect. The most surprising element is how well the actors played their roles and the interesting insights we get to see, including the popularity of Dr. Franklin in France and his "adventures" in becoming a living pop icon of the era.
The transfer is very plain, but this was not a big production anyway and was rather skimpy with sets, relying on actors to fill out the picture for us. This they do very well. Any History major, specializing in the Revolutionary era in America will not be able to resist the charm of seeing pages of the past made into the land of the living.
A great legacy of cultural film. Reviewing it now you may find that you need to refresh your usage of certain words. The Adams were an educated lot and the words used in this work have been out of favor for some time, so have a Dictionary near to remind yourself when you hear them.
Well recommended, somewhat scholarly but also entertaining. Providing a unique look into a proud American past. You can't leave these 13 episodes without learning something and most likely a favorable impression."
Excellent Miniseries
Anita L. Baker | Cleveland, OH | 04/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I am so glad this marvelous series is finally being released. I watched the series in its entirety when it aired in 1976, as a young adult, and still remember it well. For anyone with an interest in American history, this series is a must see. The acting is excellent, and it is very accurate, which for me is crucial."