I have a different perspective on this wonderful documentary than most because a few years back, I read one of the best biographies I've ever read--David McCullough's book about John Adams. It was SO good that I forever was thinking '...yeah, but the book said it so much better...' and the like. Now this isn't really that fair, as McCullough's book is something like 700-800 pages in length--and a two-hour film simply cannot go into the same amount of detail. However, I was pleased that at least McCullough was one of those interviewed for the show and I am sure his book greatly shaped this show--so it's probably about as good as it could be given it's small time slot.
Despite the title, the film is MUCH more a biography of John and much of the time his wife, Abigail, is barely mentioned. So, if you are looking for a show that discusses their long and tender letters (of which a HUGE number still survive today--and they are striking for their openness and loving nature), this is NOT your best bet. My advice--read them yourself--they are without equal.
Overall, the usual "American Experience" quality abounds. Actors acting out the lives of the people, wonderful narration (by David Ogden Stiers), FANTASTIC music and brilliant production values throughout. The only qualms listed above really aren't complaints--I just would have loved to have seen MORE--more because he was a truly amazing man--a man whose importance to the nation has only recently been reassessed. See this film.
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