For more than three decades, Ken Burns and his colleagues at Florentine Films — directors, writers, producers, editors, and cinematographers — have produced some of the most critically acclaimed and most watched documentaries on public television. The entire Ken Burns Collection is now available to watch with PBS Passport.
For more information on the titles available in the Ken Burns Collection, check out the list below.
The story of Baseball is the story of America. It is an epic overflowing with heroes and hopefuls, scoundrels and screwballs. It is a saga spanning the quest for racial justice, the clash of labor and management, the transformation of popular culture, and the unfolding of the national pastime. Watch Now with PBS Passport.
Today it’s a symbol of strength and vitality. 135 years ago, it was a source of controversy. This documentary examines the great problems and ingenious solutions that marked the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. From conception to construction, it traces the bridge’s transformation from a spectacular feat of heroic engineering to an honored symbol in American culture. Watch Now with PBS Passport.
Between 1861 and 1865, Americans made war on each other and killed each other in great numbers — if only to become the kind of country that could no longer conceive of how that was possible. What began as a bitter dispute over Union and States’ Rights, ended as a struggle over the meaning of freedom in America. Watch Now with PBS Passport.
For 200 years, the United States Congress has been one of the country’s most important and least understood institutions. Using historical photographs and newsreels, evocative live footage and interviews, Ken Burns chronicles the events that have shaped the first 200 years of congress and, in turn, our country. Watch Now with PBS Passport.
Explore the history of country music — from its roots in ballads, hymns and the blues to its mainstream popularity — and meet the unforgettable characters and storytellers who made it “America’s Music.” Watch Now with PBS Passport.
From Ken Burns comes the story of the creation of radio and the three men of genius, vision and determination who made it happen: Lee de Forest, a clergyman’s flamboyant son; Edwin Howard Armstrong, a brilliant, withdrawn inventor; and David Sarnoff, a hard-driving Russian immigrant who created the most powerful communications company on earth. This film evokes the lives of the three men whose work profoundly transformed modern America. Produced by Florentine Films in association with WETA, Washington, D.C., 1991. Watch Now with PBS Passport.
This two-part documentary explores the life of one of America’s greatest architects — hated by some, worshipped by others and ignored by many. Using archival photographs, live cinematography, interviews, newsreel footage and home movies, the film tells the story of Wright’s turbulent life and his extraordinary professional career. It includes the commentary of architects, historians, biographers, writers, artists, former students of Wright and members of his family. The film explores in detail some of his most important buildings, including the Prairie Houses; Unity Temple; the Larkin Building; the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo; Fallingwater; the Johnson Wax Building in Racine, Wisconsin; the Usonian Houses; and the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Watch Now with PBS Passport.
This film by Ken Burns follows Horatio Nelson Jackson’s adventurous and often hilarious drive from San Francisco to New York City a century ago. Jackson, a 31-year-old retired doctor from Vermont, accepted a wager: if he made the trip, something no one had done before, in less than three months, he would win 50 dollars. Four days later, Jackson and a 22-year-old bicycle repairman, Sewall K. Crocker, set off from San Francisco in a 1903 Winton Touring Car. Along the way they picked up a third member, a bulldog named Bud. Tom Hanks provides the voice of Jackson. Watch Now with PBS Passport.
A documentary about the life and times of Huey P. Long, the populist governor and senator of Louisiana in the 1930’s. The film combines rare archival material with commentary from those who knew Long and those who studied him. The film is narrated by David McCullough, directed by award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns (“The Statue of Liberty,” “The Brooklyn Bridge”) and produced by Ken Burns and Richard Kilberg. Watch Now with PBS Passport.
“Jackie Robinson” explores the legacy of a man whose exemplary life and aspirational message of equality continues to be a major influence on the lives of countless Americans. It illuminates how Robinson, after baseball, continued his fight against discrimination as an irascible, widely-read newspaper columnist, tireless fundraiser and advocate for the civil rights movement, and divisive political activist. And it will look back at a pioneering entrepreneur and devoted family man who struggled to remain relevant as diabetes crippled his body and a new generation of black leaders set a more militant course for the Civil Rights movement. Watch Now with PBS Passport.
Filmmaker Ken Burns tells the story of jazz — the quintessential American art form. The 10-part series follows the growth and development of jazz music from the gritty streets of New Orleans to the Lincoln Gardens on Chicago’s south side, where Louis Armstrong first won fame, from Prohibition-era speakeasies to the wide-open clubs of Kansas City, from the elegant Roseland Ballroom in Times Square, where only whites were allowed to dance, to the more egalitarian Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, where people of all colors mingled. Six years in the making, “Jazz” features 75 interviews, more than 500 pieces of music, 2,400 still photographs and more than 2,000 archival film clips — many rare and never before seen. Third-person voices are provided by Samuel L. Jackson, Delroy Lindo, Derek Jacobi and Harry Connick Jr., among others. Watch Now with PBS Passport.
On February 28, 1803, President Thomas Jefferson won approval from Congress for a visionary project, an endeavor that would become one of America’s greatest stories of adventure. Twenty-five hundred dollars were appropriated to fund a small expeditionary group, whose mission was to explore the uncharted West. Jefferson called the group the Corps of Discovery. It would be led by Jefferson’s secretary, Meriwether Lewis, and Lewis’ friend,William Clark. Over the next four years, the Corps of Discovery would travel thousands of miles, experiencing lands, rivers and peoples that no Americans ever had before. Watch Now with PBS Passport.
In his time, Mark Twain was considered the funniest man on earth. Yet he was also an unflinching critic of human nature, using his humor to attack hypocrisy, greed and racism. In this series, Ken Burns has created an illuminating portrait of the man who is also one of the greatest writers in American history. Watch Now with PBS Passport.
Two women. One allegiance. Together they fought for women everywhere, and their strong willpower and sheer determination still ripples through contemporary society. Recount the trials, tribulations and triumphs of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony as they strive to give birth to the women’s movement. Not until their deaths was their shared vision of women’s suffrage realized. Watch Now with PBS Passport.
This series, directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, tells the story of the rise, rule, and fall of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the era it encompassed. The culmination of nearly a century of activism, Prohibition was intended to protect individuals, families, and society at large from the devastating effects of alcohol abuse. But a faith-driven moral code in the Constitution paradoxically caused millions of Americans to rethink their definition of morality. Prohibition turned law-abiding citizens into criminals, made a mockery of the justice system, caused illicit drinking to seem glamorous, encouraged neighborhood gangs to become national crime syndicates, and fostered cynicism and hypocrisy that corroded the social contract all across the country. Watch Now with PBS Passport.
“The Roosevelts: An Intimate History” chronicles the lives of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, three members of the most prominent and influential family in American politics. Watch Now with PBS Passport.
They called themselves the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, but because of their ecstatic dancing, the world called them Shakers. Ken Burns creates a moving portrait of this particularly American movement, and in the process, offers us a new and unusually moving way to understand the Shakers. Watch Now with PBS Passport.
This 1985 Ken Burns film chronicles the creation and history of the Statue of Liberty and what it represents to all Americans. Narrated by David McCullough, the film traces the development of the monument — from its conception, to its complicated and often controversial construction, to its final dedication — and offers interviews with a wide range of Americans to explore the meaning of the Statue of Liberty. Watch Now with PBS Passport.
“The Address” tells the story of a tiny school in Putney, Vermont, the Greenwood School, where each year the students are encouraged to memorize, practice and recite the Gettysburg Address. Watch Now with PBS Passport.
Take a timely look at how one institution has met the changing demands of healthcare for 150 years — and what it can teach us about facing the challenges of patient care today. Watch Now with PBS Passport.
The story of the five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were wrongly convicted of raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park in 1989. Directed and produced by Ken Burns, David McMahon and Sarah Burns, the film chronicles the Central Park Jogger case, from the perspective of the five teenagers whose lives were upended by this miscarriage of justice. Watch Now with PBS Passport.
“The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” is the story of an idea as uniquely American as the Declaration of Independence and just as radical: that the most special places in the nation should be preserved, not for royalty or the rich, but for everyone. As such, it follows in the tradition of Ken Burns’s exploration of other American inventions, such as baseball and jazz. Watch Now with PBS Passport.
Introducing an unforgettable array of players, teams and fans, the film showcases the era’s extraordinary accomplishments as well as its devastating disappointments. Combining extraordinary highlights, stunning still photographs, and insightful commentary by players, managers, and fans, “The Tenth Inning” interweaves the story of the national pastime with the story of America. Watch Now with PBS Passport.
In an immersive narrative, Ken Burns and Lynn Novick tell the epic story of the Vietnam War as it has never-before been told on film. The Vietnam War features testimony from nearly 100 witnesses, including many Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides. Watch Now with PBS Passport.
The War, a seven-part documentary series directed and produced by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, explores the history and horror of the Second World War from an American perspective by following the fortunes of so-called ordinary men and women who become caught up in one of the greatest cataclysms in human history. Six years in the making, this epic 15-hour film focuses on the stories of citizens from four geographically distributed American towns — Waterbury, Connecticut; Mobile, Alabama; Sacramento, California; and the tiny farming town of Luverne, Minnesota. These four communities stand in for — and could represent — any town in the United States that went through the war’s four devastating years. Watch Now with PBS Passport.
His painting were burly. Energetic. Thomas Hart Benton depicted a self-reliant America emerging from the Depression. Ken Burns tells the bittersweet story of an extraordinary American artist who became emblematic of the price all artists must pay to remain true to their talents and themselves. Watch Now with PBS Passport.
Thomas Jefferson is a two-part portrait of our enigmatic and brilliant third president. Thomas Jefferson embodies within his own life the most profound contradictions of American history: as the author of the Declaration of Independence, he gave voice to our fervent desire for freedom, but he also owned more than 150 slaves and never saw fit to free them. Watch Now with PBS Passport.
Jack Johnson was the first African American Heavyweight Champion of the World. His dominance over his white opponents spurred furious debates and race riots in the early 20th century. Watch Now with PBS Passport.