Johnstown Flood (2003)
Average Rating: 5.8/10
Reviews Counted: 11
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 3
No consensus yet.
Release Date: Jan 1, 2003 Wide
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 313
Narrated by Richard Dreyfuss and directed by Mark Bussler, Johnstown Flood, tells the story of the massive flood that destroyed the town of Johnstown, PA, on May 31, 1889. Using old photos, etchings, recreated footage, and dramatic readings of first-hand accounts, this black-and-white film explores the history of the town, which, at the time of the flood, had become a major center of steel production in the U.S. Dreyfuss describes how the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, a resort for the
Jan 1, 2003 Wide
Aug 26, 2003
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Mark Bussler's Johnstown Flood is an excellent documentary about one of the worst tragedies to occur in America during the 1800s.
Bussler understands the purpose of telling this story in documentary form, but it's the facts themselves that should be driving the storytelling, not the other way around.
Johnstown Flood has its weaknesses (the firsthand accounts weren't written to be recited like dialogue), but it still does a fine job of explaining why the impact of May 31, 1889 remains with us.
Story is king - if the budgetary limits are a little too obvious, we must smile and forgive, because the writing & research is excellent.
Johnstown Flood is the kind of movie I wouldn't have minded watching in school. It concurrently educates and entertains. While it's not perfect, it's still a worthy introduction to an American tragedy.
The gold standard for this kind of documentary is set by filmmaker Ken Burns. "Johnstown Flood" doesn't rise to that level, but it is an informative historical tale.
While the horrors of the tragedy automatically give it weight (after all, how can one truly rate a documentary about an event in which 2,200 people died poorly?), it did have one main flaw, which quickly got on my nerves: the re-enactments.
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