Ken Burns

Ken Burns

  • Highest Rated: 100% Defying the Nazis: The Sharps' War (2016)
  • Lowest Rated: 78% Alone in the Dark (1982)
  • Birthday: Jul 29, 1953
  • Birthplace: Not Available
  • After earning his BA at Hampshire College, Brooklyn-born Ken Burns pursued a career as a documentary filmmaker. At age 22, he formed Florentine Films in his home base of Walpole, New Hampshire. Dissatisfied with dry, scholarly historical documentaries, Burns wanted his films to "live," and to that end adopted the technique of cutting rapidly from one still picture to another in a fluid, linear fashion. He then pepped up the visuals with "first hand" narration gleaned from contemporary writings and recited by top stage and screen actors. Burns' first successful venture was the award-winning documentary The Brooklyn Bridge, which ran on public television in 1981. While he was Oscar-nominated for his 1985 theatrical release The Statue of Liberty, Burns' work has enjoyed its widest exposure on television: such films as Huey Long (1985), Thomas Hart Benton (1986) and Empire of the Air (1991) (a bouquet to the pioneers of commercial radio) have become staples of local PBS stations' seasonal fund drives. In 1990, Burns completed what many consider his "chef d'oeuvre": the eleven-hour The Civil War, which earned an Emmy (among several other honors) and became the highest-rated miniseries in the history of public television. Civil War was the apotheosis of Burns' master mixture of still photos, freshly shot film footage, period music, evocative "celebrity" narration and authentic sound effects. In 1994, Ken Burns released his long-awaited Baseball, an 18-hour saga which, like The Civil War, was telecast at the same time as the publication of a companion coffee-table book. Over the coming decades, Burns would continue to ingrain his reputation as the biggest name in long-form documentary film making, creating multi-part histories of Jazz, WWII, Baseball, and Prohibition.

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

Movies

Rating

Title

Credit

Box
Office

Year

No Score Yet Ken Burns: The National Parks Director 2019
No Score Yet The Mayo Clinic: Faith - Hope - Science Director Executive Producer 2018
100% Defying the Nazis: The Sharps' War Director 2016
No Score Yet The Address Screenwriter Director Producer 2014
96% Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton As Himself Actor 2013
No Score Yet This Is America Director 2013
92% The Central Park Five Director Producer Screenwriter $0.3M 2012
No Score Yet Mark Twain Director 2012
No Score Yet The Tenth Inning Director 2010
No Score Yet The Medal of Honor Executive Producer 2008
95% Wordplay Actor $2.9M 2006
100% Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson Director Producer Executive Producer 2005
No Score Yet Horatio's Drive: America's First Road Trip Director Producer 2003
No Score Yet Seeing. Searching. Being. - 3 films on William Segal Director 2002
No Score Yet The 50 Years War: Israel and the Arabs Director 2000
No Score Yet Not For Ourselves Alone Producer Director 1999
No Score Yet Frank Lloyd Wright Director Producer 1998
No Score Yet Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery Producer Executive Producer 1997
No Score Yet Vezelay Director 1997
No Score Yet Thomas Jefferson Director 1996
80% Gettysburg Hancock's Aide 1993
No Score Yet The Congress Director Producer 1989
No Score Yet Ken Burns American Stories Producer Director Actor 1989
No Score Yet Huey Long Actor Director 1985
78% Alone in the Dark Cop at House 1982

TV

Rating

Title

Credit

Year

No Score Yet College Behind Bars
2019
Executive Producer
  • 2019
86% Country Music
2019
Director Producer
  • 2019
98% Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
2014
Voice
  • 2019
85% The Simpsons
1989
Voice
  • 2019
No Score Yet Late Night With Seth Meyers
2014
Guest
  • 2018
98% The Vietnam War
2017
Director Producer
  • 2017
No Score Yet Today
2017
Guest
  • 2017
No Score Yet The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
2015
Guest
  • 2017
  • 2016
100% Jackie Robinson
2016
Director
  • 2016
95% Difficult People
2015-2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
100% The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore
2015-2016
Panelist
  • 2016
  • 2015
No Score Yet CBS This Morning
2012
Guest
  • 2016
  • 2014
  • 2012
No Score Yet Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies
2015
Executive Producer Screenwriter Producer
  • 2015
No Score Yet Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr.
2012
Appearing
  • 2014
100% The Roosevelts: An Intimate History
2014
Executive Producer Director Producer
  • 2014
No Score Yet Late Show With David Letterman
1993-2015
Guest
  • 2014
  • 2012
No Score Yet The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
1999-2015
Guest
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2007
No Score Yet The View
1997
Guest
  • 2013
  • 2012
No Score Yet Meet the Press
1947
Panelist Guest
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2005
No Score Yet The Dust Bowl
2012
Director Producer
  • 2012
No Score Yet Colbert Report
2005-2014
Guest
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2005
No Score Yet Prohibition
2011
Director Producer
  • 2011
No Score Yet Ken Burns' Baseball
1994-2010
Executive Producer Screenwriter Voice Director Producer
  • 2010
  • 1994
No Score Yet Independent Lens
1999
Appearing
  • 2007
No Score Yet Real Time With Bill Maher
2003
Guest
  • 2007
67% The War
2007
Executive Producer Director Producer
  • 2007
No Score Yet Clifford's Puppy Days
2003-2006
Voice
  • 2005
No Score Yet Live From Lincoln Center
2000
Appearing
  • 2005

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