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Brooklyn Bridge 1x60

Ken Burns’s first film traces the transformation of the Bridge from a spectacular and heroic engineering feat to a symbol in American culture of strength, vitality, ingenuity and promise. The first part recounts the dramatic struggle to construct the Bridge, while the second attempts to understand the last century of response, both conscious and unconscious, to the Bridge by artists, historians, engineers, and popular culture. In the former, rare archival material coupled with the voices of Paul Roebling (great grandson of the builder of the Bridge), Julie Harris, Arthur Miller, Kurt Vonnegut, David McCullough and others, weave the intricate story of the greatest engineering feat of the 19th century. It is a heroic and epic story of perseverance and innovation against all odds. The film uses a lively combination of modern cinematography of the Bridge, old movie footage, time-lapse photography and the comments of Lewis Mumford, Paul Goldberger, David McCullough and Arthur Miller, to present all the diverse, complex and joyous elements of the Bridge and touch something of the power of monuments and symbols to transform our lives.

“…a beautifully realized labor of love…” — Vincent Canby, The New York Times