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Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Actors: Dylan Baker, Richard Easton, Colm Feore
Directors: Ellen Hovde, Muffie Meyer
Genres: Documentary
UR     2002     3hr 30min

Everyone knows about the kite and the key, the Declaration of Independence, and Poor Richard's Almanac, but nonscholars will find much to learn in this documentary tracing the epic of Benjamin Franklin's life. Using actors...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Dylan Baker, Richard Easton, Colm Feore
Directors: Ellen Hovde, Muffie Meyer
Genres: Documentary
Sub-Genres: Biography
Studio: Pbs (Direct)
Format: DVD
DVD Release Date: 11/19/2002
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 3hr 30min
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 14
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English
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Movie Reviews

Near perfect account of an American Icon
T. Bux | Barnesville, PA United States | 01/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This clever and entertaining look at the life and times of Benjamin Franklin would be a great addition to the library of any Franklin buff or history buff for that matter.

It is well written, and entertainingly presented with a mix of narration and live action. Richard Easton does a fantastic job portraying Franklin and the cast does well acting out actual correspondences and written first hand accounts from the time.

The film is broken down into three segments showing the life of Franklin. Let the Experiment Be Made, The Making of a Revolutionary, and The Chessmaster.

Let the experiment be made shows the early life of Franklin, how a genius was made and his contributions to science.

The Making of a Revolutionary shows how a man who once considered himself a loyalist became a fierce proponent of independence.

The Chessmaster detailed his years in France gaining support for the war, the treaty of France, and the building of the American Experiment in democracy.

Ultimately this film does a great job portraying Franklin as a man. Sometimes flawed, as we all are, but a man who contributed so many things to making America what we know today.
It does it with wit, humor, and narration that moves quick and keeps you interested."
Richard Easton steals the show
subtitles | Fremont, CA United States | 11/04/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I fell on this by accident, and loved it. I was in a real history mode about 2 years ago, and grabbed this. I really can't remember why, but I have to admit out of all the documentaries from the channels that sell life insurance this is my favorite.

Its informative, accurate, and if watched on your laptop/desktop - you may want to investigate the background materials online that are discussed (or acted).

The acting is good. Richard Easton is a true professional, and the rest of cast does an above average job as well - for a documentary. The commentary from experts is equally as pleasing, and quite balanced. It stays on point and leads from beginning to end like a good book.

Well worth a buy for the facts, acting, and return value. I give this 4 stars as it is not anamorphic, but letterboxed widescreen (not enhanced for 16x9 TV's)."
Fabulous Documentary - Entertaining and Informative
J. Herndon | Rockwall, TX United States | 07/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is one of my favorite documentaries to date. The acting is top notch for the young Franklin, the elder Franklin, and others in Franklin's life. Re-enactments and unique footage fill the majority of scenes instead of musty paintings or drawings. The whole documentary has a fresh and witty feel.What impressed me most, though, was how clearly and informatively the documentary sets out the life of Franklin, his character, and his effect on early America and the world. Not only is he revealed as a genius and a founding father, he is shown as a humorous man and the quintessential American. Franklin displays all the unique traits that define the American character, from the refusal to accept social status as fixed by birth to the constant search for scientific truths.Two parts, both excellent. The documentary should have great appeal to any age with even the vaguest interest in American history."
Of Course It Won an EMMY AWARD
T. Bux | 10/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a superbly entertaining documentary capturing the brilliance, boldness, and bawdiness of Ben Franklin. It covers Franklin's rise to wealth as a businessman who, among other things, established perhaps the first organization for young entrepeneurs to network. It chronicles his role as a scientist (experimenting with electricity) and inventor (e.g., the Franklin stove and bifocals). Then we see how Franklin's role as diplomat helped secure the American colonies' success in freeing themselves from British rule. This documentary captures both Franklin's genius and his impishness. Franklin was a shrewd strategist who achieved his aims through calculation, perseverance, and a nimble wit. Not the typical marble statue portrayal of one of our founding fathers, "Benjamin Franklin," shows the real flesh and blood character of Franklin who was nothing if not colorful."