- Actors: David Ogden Stiers, Louis Armstrong, Mrs. Vincent Astor, Abraham Beame, Irving Berlin
- Directors: Ric Burns
- Format: Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
- Language: English
- Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Number of discs: 1
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: Warner Bros. Home Video
- Release Date: Sept. 9 2003
- Run Time: 600 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- ASIN: B0000AQS6X
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #232,118 in Movies & TV Shows (See Top 100 in Movies & TV Shows)
New York V.8-the Center/W
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In this final chapter of Ric Burns's acclaimed series New York: A Documentary Film, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE presents a powerful portrait of the events leading up to and away from the fall of 2001. It chronicles the construction of the towers and explores the astonishing expansion of American economic power during the second half of the twentieth century.
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But, obviously the real power of the film is the buildings' horrific death on 9/11 and the aftermath. Burns walks the edge beautifully, creating a piece that is moving and terrifying, without being maudlin or exploitive. He picks powerful images, but intercuts them with touching and philosophical insights from many who were there, or were otherwise involved.
Putting the events of 9/11 into the perspective of the towers whole 'lives' gives this more depth than many of the other documentaries I've seen on the subject.
Just two notes - consider seeing the whole "New York" series that this capped off, and Amazon is way off the mark when they list this at 600 minutes. It's just over 2 hours.
Spanning a full three hours in length, "New York Episode Eight: The Center Of The World", provides the viewer an intense, in-depth look into the planning, development, construction, and sad demise of the famous Twin Towers in Manhattan, complete with breathtaking aerial views of the behemoths during construction and after completion.
The story of the complex and almost Herculean task of creating the massive World Trade Center is skillfully and entertainingly weaved on this program utilizing new interview footage, intercut with archival video footage of the day.
I like the fact that Director Ric Burns doesn't rush to tell the story at a mile-a-minute pace. The saga of these great buildings evolves at a more leisurely, relaxed pace during the program.
The sheer scope of what we lost in just a few short seconds as the Towers crumbled into dust on September 11, 2001, might not be fully realized until viewing a program like this one, which provides many of the statistics and specifications for the Trade Center's combined 220 stories.
Also included on the program is a detailed account of the fascinating tale of high-wire artist Philippe Petit, who, on August 7, 1974, walked from the top of one tower to the other, 1,360 feet above the streets of New York. In all, Petit spent 45 minutes walking (and dancing) from one tower to the other, making a total of eight passes between the immense structures. This program shows many spectacular pictures of Petit carrying out his death-defying and one-of-a-kind performance. A performance which, for many people, "humanized" the bulky steel Towers.
The final 52 minutes of the documentary focuses on the destruction of the Trade Center on 9/11/2001. During the majority of those final fifty-plus minutes of the program, you might very well find yourself with one hand clasped over your open mouth, still in near-disbelief that this awful tragedy could have possibly taken place on that sunny Tuesday morning.
No matter how many times you've seen those planes hit those two beautiful pieces of architecture, and no matter how many replays you've seen of the Towers pancaking down into the street, the events of 9/11, even years later, are still powerful enough to produce the inevitable "Oh My God...How Could This Happen?!" type of emotion within us all when we see it again, such as in this PBS documentary film. It's a tragic event of such proportions that it seemingly will never grow old, and will never cease to resonate in our minds.
A more complete, detailed, and heartfelt examination of the fallen status symbols known as the Twin Towers you're not likely to find anywhere. This DVD program is a keepsake and a timeless reminder of not only the sadness of what America lost in September 2001, but also serves as an uplifting reminder of what the Trade Center stood for in its nearly 30 years of existence. The pride and sense of accomplishment in rejuvenating a decaying New York City that was felt by the many, many people who were involved, in any small way, in helping those Towers rise to become (at the time) the tallest buildings in the world, is something that no terrorist actions can ever destroy. And that sense of pride can be felt in this documentary program. This is a DVD that you'll be proud to own, and is one to be treasured for many, many years to come.
It chronicles the construction of the towers. Somehow, to me this feels much less compelling than the masterful section of disc 5 of the Series, which chronicles the competition between the construction of the Chrysler Building and the Empire State.
However, even though anyone who can operate a DVD player knows the inevitable conclusion, it is incredibly troubling (even painful) to watch, and as another reviewer says, it is almost impossible to turn away form the screen. As another reviewer has correctly said, it is still painful to watch.
I did give this only four stars, though, because while this was indeed a epoch - switching event, there was an AWFUL lot of New York history in between the late sixties and 2001 which I think
was given the short end of the stick in Vol. 8. The decline of the City after its pre-WWII preeminence, the turbulence of the decade of the sixties and the anti-war movement, the racial awareness and concomitant strife, the ravages of drug proliferation, welfare reliance and then somehow the resurgence of New York economically in the '90's were too briefly touched upon in Vol. 7 and I think could have explored here in greater detail. I think that few would assert that until 9-11, the W.T.C. would not have merited such attention. But given the context of this single cataclysmic event which it did chronicle, perhaps I judge too harshly...
There are fewer characters presented than in the rest of the series, including former Governor Cuomo, Former Mayor Koch (staggeringly poignant in his description an encounter with the family of a 9-11 victim) and still-journalist Pete Hamill (it seems to me that he has aged a ton since the earlier episodes).
We are still way too close to the event to be able to determine the long term effect on New York, America or the world. Nonetheless, this is a fitting end to the Series.
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I was on the street within 2 or 3 minutes of the first plane hitting. I saw the second plane hit tower 2.Read more
That said, I was seriously disappointed that the DVD did not include as a bonus item the interview...Read more