Liberty! The American Revolution is a six-hour documentary miniseries about the Revolutionary War, and the instigating factors, that brought about the United States' independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. It was first broadcast on the Public Broadcasting System in 1997.
The series consists of six hour-long episodes. Each episode is introduced by Forrest Sawyer and narrated by Edward Herrmann. Period photographs and location filming are intercut with stage and screen actors in appropriate period costume reading as figures of the time, including Campbell Scott (Thomas Jefferson), Philip Bosco (Benjamin Franklin), Victor Garber (John Dickinson), Alex Jennings (King George III), Roger Rees (Thomas Paine), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Joseph Plumb Martin), Terrence Mann (Gen. John Burgoyne), Colm Feore (Alexander Hamilton), Sebastian Roché (The Marquis de Lafayette), Donna Murphy (Abigail Adams), Austin Pendleton (Benjamin Rush) and Peter Donaldson (John Adams). Stephen Lang read the words of George Washington, but is not seen on camera.
British and American historians and authors, including Carol Berkin, Bernard Bailyn, Ron Hoffman, Claude-Anne Lopez, Pauline Maier, George C. Neumann, Richard Norton Smith, Gordon S. Wood (U.S.) and Jeremy Black, Colin Bonwick, John Keegan, and N.A.M. Rodger (U.K.) add historical background, explaining life and society of the time while interpreting events from the perspectives of the two sides of the conflict. Historical perspectives also include the status of black slaves and freemen, the participation of American Indians, and the strivings of American women as events progress.
American singer-songwriter James Taylor sings the traditional song "Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier" during the end credits. Original music was composed by violinist Mark O'Connor, who accompanies Taylor; the score, which blends new and traditional music, was performed by O'Connor, Taylor, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, trumpet player Wynton Marsalis and the Nashville Symphony. A collection of the music from the soundtrack was released as a companion album in 1997.
Liberty! was produced for Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) by Twin Cities Public Television (TPT), and won a George Foster Peabody Award. The directors were Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer, who also collaborated on the 2002 TPT production Benjamin Franklin.
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Casting Society of America, USA
Best Casting for TV Miniseries
Directors Guild of America, USA
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary