Search - American Experience - The Orphan Trains on DVD

American Experience - The Orphan Trains
American Experience - The Orphan Trains
Genres: Television, Documentary
NR     2006     1hr 0min

Studio: Pbs Release Date: 05/04/2009 Run time: 60 minutes


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Movie Details

Genres: Television, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Television, Documentary
Studio: Pbs (Direct)
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 06/13/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 11
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

Movie Reviews

The remarkable story of the orphan trains and the children w
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 11/18/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"American Experience - The Orphan Trains tells the story of how The Children's Aid Society was formed in 1853 to help poor and often homeless children in New York City get a better life by sending them on long train rides to more rural parts of our nation. It was thought that if the children could escape the city they would have a better chance at a happy, normal life. We see how Charles Loring Brace founded the society when the only help available for children was a type of "orphan asylum" in which the children were taught skills so that they could earn money.

Brace desperately wanted a better way to help these children; he and his peers did not believe that the orphan asylums were teaching skills valuable enough to truly help the children. This program changed the lives of so many children--between 1853 and 1929, more than 150,000 abandoned, abused and orphaned children were taken from a life of poverty usually while living on the streets and begging for money, and sent, more often than not, to relatively stable homes where they could have a much better sense of family.

On the down side, however, children were essentially rounded up (the film doesn't say exactly how) and sent forcibly to other parts of the country by train where they hopefully had a real chance at a better childhood. Of course there's more to the story but I don't want to spoil it for you so I'll leave the rest out. You can rest assured that if this topic interests you, you won't be bored watching this film!

The real electricity of the film comes from invaluable interview footage in which now elderly people who rode orphan trains tell their most personal stories about their experiences both good and bad. The emotions these people display truly moved me and I could see that in some ways The Children's Aid Society had helped some while it had been insensitive to the emotional needs of other children.

The DVD comes with few extras; there is a type of advertisement for other features of the Public Broadcasting System website but unfortunately that's about it. However, this film is so good I can overlook it. Another reviewer mentions the fact that the photos and stories of these children are about white children only--what happened to African-American children and children of other races? I would have liked to know.

American Experience-The Orphan Trains is quite a powerful story and I recommend this for anyone interested in this topic."
PBS wins again!
K. K. T. Coyle | Grants, NM | 02/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a wonderful DVD to introduce students into this aspect of american history. I wish it could have been a little longer, perhaps had more interviews and stories as special features seperate from the main feature etc... so my students could use it as part of research. Anything made by PBS is always high quality and has resources on"
Orphan Train DVD
Frances Palmer | Southern Illinois | 01/30/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I am a Special Education Teacher of high school age students. I used this DVD as a concrete learning tool after we had read in the textbook about this event happening in our country many years ago. This movie is of such high quality that it helped my students realize that these young people really existed and how they felt going through this experience. In turn, my students also realized how fortunate they are to have their own families that love them and take care of them. Many very important life lessons are taught in this film. My students were so quiet and focused while viewing this film. They also learned about how our society has progressed and how much better children are cared for in this country at this time. They also learned the skill about caring for others who can't take care of themselves. I highly recommend this film to all Social Studies teachers. It is one of the important success stories of our country and how conditions for children have greatly improved. Frances Palmer"