New Release: Ken Burns' Civil War 150th Anniversary DVD

Ken Burns' The Civil War sceneNo, it hasn’t been 150 years since documentarian Ken Burns finished his Civil War opus, but 2011 was the 150th anniversary of the Civil War itself, and Paramount Home Entertainment celebrated by releasing Burns’ acclaimed nine-part series in a new six-DVD set on March 29, 2011.

Burns’ The Civil War documentary aired on PBS in 1990, winning two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Individual Achievement — Informational Programming and Outstanding Informational Series. The TV program features Morgan Freeman (Seven), Jason Robards (All the President’s Men) and others in recreations.

Nearly six years in the making, The Civil War also features archival photographs and first-person voices to tell the story of America’s first modern battle. As Paramount’s press materials say, “The Civil War unearths the very heart of the American experience; listening to the ghosts and echoes of an almost inexpressibly wise past.”

PBS re-broadcast the documentary mini-series during five consecutive nights starting on April 3, 2011. But the DVD set, which was priced at $99.99, includes a bonus disc with newly released interviews with Civil War author Shelby Foote, a new interview with Burns and a collector’s booklet.

Here’s the breakdown of the full six-disc set:

Disc 1:

“Episode 1: 1861—The Cause”

  • Commentary
  • Battlefield Maps
  • Civil War Challenge—1861
  • Civil War Biographies

Disc 2:

“Episode 2: 1862—A Very Bloody Affair”

“Episode 3: 1862—Forever Free”

  • Commentary
  • Battlefield Maps
  • Civil War Challenge—1862

Disc 3:

“Episode 4: 1863—Simply Murder”

“Episode 5: 1863—The Universe of Battle”

  • Commentary
  • Battlefield Maps
  • Civil War Challenge—1863

Disc 4:

“Episode 6: 1864—The Valley of the Shadow of Death”

“Episode 7: 1864—Most Hallowed Ground”

  • Commentary
  • Battlefield Maps
  • Civil War Challenge—1864

Disc 5:

“Episode 8: 1865—War Is All Hell”

“Episode 9: 1865—The Better Angels of Our Nature”

  • Commentary
  • Battlefield Maps
  • Civil War Challenge—1865

Disc 6 (bonus disc):

“From the Archive: Shelby Foote Interview/Outtakes”

“Remembering the Civil War: An Interview With Ken Burns”

  • Part 1
  • Part 2

Additional Interviews:

  • Shelby Foote
  • George Will
  • Stanley Crouch
  • Jay Ungar & Molly Mason


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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.