1 user 1 critic

In the Arena (1901-1910) 

The presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. Franklin's marriage to Eleanor. Eleanor's search for her own identity and place in the world.


Ken Burns




Episode credited cast:
Peter Coyote ... Self - Narrator (voice)
George F. Will ... Self - Writer
David McCullough ... Self - Historian
Clay Jenkinson ... Self - Historian
H.W. Brands ... Self - Biographer
Blanche Wiesen Cook Blanche Wiesen Cook ... Self - Biographer
Geoffrey C. Ward Geoffrey C. Ward ... Self - Biographer
Doris Kearns Goodwin ... Self - Historian
Edna Gurewitsch Edna Gurewitsch ... Self - Family Friend
Paul Giamatti ... Theodore Roosevelt (voice)
Meryl Streep ... Eleanor Roosevelt (voice)
Edward Herrmann ... Franklin Roosevelt (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
John Lithgow ... Miscelleaneous (voice)
Franklin D. Roosevelt ... Self (archive footage)
Theodore Roosevelt ... Self (archive footage)


Having boundless energy Teddy Roosevelt proved to be a president like no other. He set out to shift power from the Congress, which dominated at the time, to the executive branch of government. He went after combines and trusts and then focused on completing the Panama canal, purchasing shares owned by France. When the Columbian Senate refused to pass a deal he had negotiated with them, he threw his support behind Panamanian rebels. He faced re-election in 1904 and won easily but he also committed what is considered to be the gravest error of his political career: he promised not to run again. For brokering a deal between Russia and Japan, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Meanwhile, TR's favorite niece Eleanor was living an unhappy childhood. An orphan by the age of 10, she was sent to live with her maternal grandmother. She constantly felt like a fish out of water with little or no self-esteem and few friends she could call her own. The happiest time in her young life was likely ... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



User Reviews

Good...but not quite as good as the first episode.
20 December 2015 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

This is the second episode of Ken Burns' huge biography of the Roosevelts--Teddy, Franklin and Eleanor. Much of the episode focuses on Teddy--mostly because the show finds him assuming the presidency. Much of his agenda is discussed including his trust- busting work, how he orchestrated the war for Panamanian Independence, his ending the miners' strike, his negotiations which helped end the Russo-Japanese War and his great African safari post- presidency. As for the other Roosevelts, much of the show is about Young Franklin and his time at Harvard as well as his courtship and marriage with Eleanor. Much time is also devoted to her upbringing- -a very sad life due to a father's death and insanity in the family. Fortunately, finishing school abroad proved to be a very welcome relief from these problems and Eleanor apparently blossomed.

This was generally very good but to me it seemed to have one major problem--the entire 7+ years of the Teddy Roosevelt administration was crammed into only one episode...and much of the episode actually concerned Franklin and Eleanor! As a result, you miss out on hearing about some important aspects of the Roosevelt administration, such as his Great White Fleet. Odd in its omissions, but generally still quite good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See one user review »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.


Release Date:

15 September 2014 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Florentine Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed