Ken Burns Documentary Collection

Christina Knight | July 30, 2020

For more than three decades, filmmaker Ken Burns and his colleagues at Florentine Films – directors, writers, producers, editors, and cinematographers – have produced some of the most critically acclaimed and most watched documentaries on public television. Burns has devoted his career to examining the American experience, from his first documentary on PBS in 1981 – Brooklyn Bridge, nominated for an Academy Award – to Country Music (2019) and East Lake Meadows (2020), which looks at a public housing community in Atlanta. Two films released in 2021 are in-depth profiles of the fiction writer Ernest Hemingway and the world champion boxer who spoke out against racism and religious bigotry, Muhammad Ali. The Ken Burns Collection of thought-provoking films on PBS is available to stream on-demand with THIRTEEN Passport, starting August 4, 2020.

Ken Burns’ films include profiles of the ordinary people and icons who shaped American culture, institutions that impact American lives, and the wars that took lives from us. To stream a film or episodes of a series, click each title, below. More background on each film subject is found on the official film websites, reached by clicking “learn more.”

To stream the films, become a THIRTEEN member and use the member benefit, THIRTEEN Passport, which offers extended access to on-demand video.

See all films at a glance on our Ken Burns Documentaries page.

America at War

The making of the film, The Vietnam War (2017)

Civil War (nine episodes; learn more).
The War (World War II; seven episodes; learn more)
The Vietnam War (10 episodes, 18 hours; learn more). The Vietnam War will receive a marathon rebroadcast on THIRTEEN, August 29 and 30, 2020.

American Culture

Scene from Jazz (2000)

The Address (students with language-based learning disabilities memorize the Gettysburg Address; learn more)
Baseball (nine episodes; learn more)
Country Music (eight episodes; learn more)
Empire of the Air (the men who invented radio; learn more)
Jazz (10 episodes; learn more)
The Shakers
The Tenth Inning (a four-hour update to Baseball)

People: Biographies and Profiles

Preview Jackie Robinson (2016).

East Lake Meadows (learn more)
Frank Lloyd Wright
Hemingway (2021)
Horatio’s Drive
Huey Long
Jackie Robinson (a two-part film; learn more)
Lewis & Clark
Mark Twain
Muhammad Ali
Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony (a two-part film)
The Roosevelts: An Intimate History (seven episodes; learn more)
Thomas Hart Benton
Thomas Jefferson
Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson

American Institutions

Preview The National Parks: America’s Best Idea (2016)

The Congress
The Mayo Clinic (learn more)
The National Parks: America’s Best Idea (six episodes)

For Baseball, see American Culture, above.

New York Documentaries

Preview The Central Park Five (2013), winner of a Peabody Award.

Brooklyn Bridge (learn more)
The Central Park Five
College Behind Bars (four episodes follow incarcerated men and women in New York State who enroll in the Bard Prison Initiative; learn more)
Statue of Liberty

Health and Science Documentaries

The Gene (two episodes; learn more)
The Mayo Clinic (learn more)