Adapted from David McCullough's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, this lavish seven-part miniseries chronicles the life of Founding Father John Adams, starting with the Boston Massacre of 1770 through his years as an ambassador in Europe, then his terms as vice president and president of the United States, up to his death on July 4, 1826. Written by
History buffs might recall that a British Navy surgeon shortly before 1750 concluded that sailors, by sucking on limes, could reduce the incidence of painful and debilitating scurvy. Concurrent experiments involving sailors taking vinegar or sea water failed. Eighteenth century medicine was unaware that limes contained Vitamin C (a substance not really understood until the 1930s) and also did not fully comprehend scurvy as a nutritional disease, but crews were issued limes in their rations after the field study. British sailors and later British people generally were nicknamed "limeys" shortly afterward. At the film's dock set, around a peck of sucked-on cut limes litter the ground as if discarded by sailors. See more »
John Trumbull asserts that his painting, "Declaration of Independence" was well researched for authenticity, but contained many inaccuracies; principally that it showed a noticeably higher Congressional attendance than actually occurred at any given session. Even if one can grant artistic license to allow for the depiction members who were not actually present on 28 June 1776, it shows Charles Caroll of Carlton who was not only elsewhere at the time, but was not even a member yet. Caroll was elected by Maryland on 4 July and did not arrive in Philadelphia until well after that. See more »
I will not voluntarily put on the chains of France while struggling to throw off those of Great Britain!
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Although the miniseries title and episodes focus on the life of John Adams, the strength of the film lies in the exceptional ensemble cast. It was impressive to see such giants as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin, as well as the lesser known individuals, truly inhabited by the actors.
The challenge of the series was to breathe life into those stories and lives we know so well. The filmmakers worked closely to David McCullough's outstanding book for the details, along with the human side of the story captured in the voluminous correspondence of John and Abigail Adams. The political, military, and personal issues were all thoughtfully brought to life. The design values of the film were also superb. Nothing looked stagy or stilted in the sets and costumes, which provided an unusual authenticity of period style for television drama. With each appearance of George Washington (David Morse), it was hard not to gasp due to the believability of his character.
The drama of America's breaking from England for independence was an improbable story and one dependent on the courage and idealism of the individuals portrayed in this film. The personalities of these great figures make this program an accessible and rewarding experience for the entire family. For the patient viewer, what emerges from the John Adams miniseries is not merely a history lesson, but a drama with great relevance today. Simply put, we need more people in our country right now just like John and Abigail Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Knox, and, above all, the ordinary human beings heroically portrayed in this fine film!
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