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American Experience - Coney Island
American Experience - Coney Island
Actors: Philip Bosco, Andrei Codrescu, Vincent Gardenia, Judd Hirsch, Nathan Lane
Director: Ric Burns
Genres: Television, Documentary, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
NR     2006     0hr 58min

Before there was Disneyland, there was Coney Island. By the turn of the century, this tiny piece of New York real estate was internationally famous. On summer Sundays, three great pleasure domes--Steeplechase, Luna Park ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Philip Bosco, Andrei Codrescu, Vincent Gardenia, Judd Hirsch, Nathan Lane
Director: Ric Burns
Creators: Bob M. McCausland, Buddy Squires, Chas Norton, Eileen Mulvey, Harlan Reiniger, Judy Crichton, Richard Snow
Genres: Television, Documentary, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Television, Documentary, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
Studio: Pbs Paramount
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 03/21/2006
Original Release Date: 02/04/1991
Theatrical Release Date: 02/04/1991
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 0hr 58min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 12
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A Haunting Tribute to a Vanished Part of America
Douglas C. Egan | New Orleans, LA | 01/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I saw this years ago, and still can't get it out of my mind. It is haunting in every way, from the simple up and down single note piano soundtrack to the ageless black and white photos. It has a storyline with a sad ending, and yet is not depressing; it goes somewhere beyond joy or sadness, and yet it contains plenty of both. It is strongly tied in my mind to the American story of immigrants, entrepreneurship, more! more! more! lights and razzle-dazzle, and yet has a coda like a lone clown blowing a sad tune from a Fellini movie. I hope that it will haunt you, too."
Superb Atmospheric Film
L. M Young | Marietta, GA USA | 08/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There are nights when I have watched this film twice or three times in a row. Wonderful silent film and still photographs accompanied by Eli Wallach's narration and a haunting score. Return to the days when Coney Island was the latest thing in American amusement. There are no other words besides "absolutely stunning.""
Great Watching
D. Hultgren | Arlington Heights, IL | 08/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I highly recommend this installment of American Experience. Between the archive footage, celebrity voice overs and atmospheric sound track it really conveys a sense of what New York life was like at the turn of the century."
Nostalgic Laughter
Samantha Kelley | USA | 01/12/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Coney Island has become legend. What once was a place for people to gather in excitement and fun is now a hollow ghost of its former self. Still, it is fun to look back on the way it once was during a simpler time in history.

This documentary is extremely well done. The narration is excellent and combines well with the film clips used. The editing is also masterful and helpful to the storytelling. Surprisingly, the film footage is in good condition. Since most of it did not come from a major motion picture, one would think it would be in the same condition as most newsreel footage, but it is clear and watchable. (Ironically, the bit from Clara Bow's "It" is in bad shape; it has since been restored.)

The only major flaw here is the little information provided about the 1920s and 30s. So much is explored from the early 1900s because that is when the amusement parks really took off, but what of the time between that and the collapse? One can get an idea of what it was like based on the film clips, but judging from the bathing suits, most of the clips come from the earliest parts of the century.

Overall, this film is a fascinating look at an era lost to the modern world. It is nostalgic and lovingly told."