The Men Who Built America: Season 1 (2012)


Season 1
The Men Who Built America

Critics Consensus

The Men Who Built America is hampered by a narrow view of greatness and unconvincing reenactments, but the sheer breadth of pioneering personalities covered makes for a compelling enough history lesson.

62%

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Critic Ratings: 13

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 4

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Episodes

Air date: Oct 16, 2012

Part 1 of 4. Cornelius Vanderbilt invests in the railroad industry; John D. Rockefeller builds a massive oil pipeline.

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Air date: Oct 23, 2012

Part 2 of 4. Andrew Carnegie is commissioned to build a bridge across the Mississippi River as his steel empire begins to emerge.

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Air date: Oct 30, 2012

Part 3 of 4. J.P. Morgan establishes a bank in New York City and invests in Thomas Edison's electric-light idea.

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Air date: Nov 6, 2012

Conclusion. The American landscape is altered by the emergence of the railroad, oil and steel industries.

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Tv Season Info

Critic Reviews for The Men Who Built America Season 1

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (8)

The material is there for an intriguing show about how big business worked in a very different era. Unfortunately, that history is presented in just about the dullest way possible; the reenactments are very corny and the narration falls flat.

Jul 10, 2020 | Full Review…

The stories of America's great 19th- and early 20th-century capitalists have rarely been told better than they are in this eight-hour History series.

Jul 10, 2020 | Full Review…

How can a documentary on robber barons be so bland? Watch this to find out.

Jul 10, 2020 | Rating: C | Full Review…

The history is dished out at a junior high level, but when you're pitting cherries that's the way you want it. At some point it hit me. This was American history as Game of Thrones. Vanderbilt et al are stamped from the die of Tywin Lannister.

Jul 10, 2020 | Full Review…

There is a story to be told about the building of America, and possibly even more than one serialized drama. The Men Who Built America isn't that, its hybridization of documentary filmmaking and reenactment coming up short on both counts.

Jul 10, 2020 | Full Review…

Eight hours is a hefty commitment to ask viewers to spend... Especially when the docudrama series' ostentatious style begins to grate within the first 30 minutes.

Jul 10, 2020 | Full Review…

It's a reminder that most of the things that directly shape our personal lives -- the jobs, the goods, the utilities, even the pollution -- are created and controlled by people who never stand for election.

Jul 10, 2020 | Full Review…

At its worse, the production slips into heavy-handedness, with over-dramatic writing and self-serious performances, lending this particularly fascinating period of American history all the gravitas of a daytime soap opera.

Jul 10, 2020 | Full Review…

Despite the fact that women and individuals from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds are missing from series' conversations, there is still a lot to be learned here.

Jul 10, 2020 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

It's a fairly decent mix with the dramatic scenes looking authentic enough but the production does its credibility no favor when blowhard publicity hound Donald Trump shows up to comment.

Jul 14, 2020 | Full Review…

[A] superb docudrama series.

Jul 14, 2020 | Full Review…

The overall narrative has a really nice rise and fall structure to it that should appeal to a wide base.

Jul 10, 2020 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Men Who Built America: Season 1

  • Sep 12, 2020
    Loved this. Make more just like it!

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