West Point: The First 200 Years

Watch West Point: The First 200 Years

  • NR
  • 2002
  • 1 hr 57 min
  • 6.0  (12)

West Point: The First 200 Years is a documentary film that explores the rich history and legacy of the United States Military Academy at West Point. Narrated by actor Andre Braugher, the film takes viewers on a journey through the first two centuries of West Point's existence, from its inception during the American Revolution to its continued importance in modern times.

The film begins by providing an overview of the early years of West Point and its role in the Revolutionary War. It then moves on to examine the institution's evolution throughout the 19th century, including the various conflicts and wars in which West Point played a significant role. One of the key themes throughout the film is the emphasis on West Point's role as both a military training institution and an academic institution, and how these two aspects have worked together over the years to produce some of the country's most successful military leaders.

The film pays particular attention to the Civil War, which had a profound impact on West Point and its graduates. Many of the Union's most famous generals, including Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman, were West Point graduates, and the film explores the crucial role played by these men and their colleagues in securing Union victory. It also looks at how the war changed the institution itself, both in terms of its curriculum and its student body.

Beyond the Civil War, the film examines West Point's ongoing evolution throughout the 20th century, including its involvement in both world wars and its continued role as a training ground for military leaders. Along the way, viewers are introduced to a wide range of notable West Point alumni, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, Norman Schwarzkopf, and David Petraeus.

One of the most striking aspects of the film is the way it balances a sense of reverence for West Point's history with a clear-eyed view of its flaws and challenges. For example, the film acknowledges the institution's troubled record on issues of racial and gender diversity, and explores how it has worked to improve in these areas in recent years. It also looks at some of the controversies that have surrounded West Point over the years, including the role of hazing in the institution's culture.

Throughout the film, the stunning natural beauty of West Point is on full display, with sweeping shots of the Hudson River, the surrounding mountains, and the iconic buildings and monuments that make up the campus. Viewers also get a sense of the intense physical and mental demands placed on West Point cadets, from grueling physical training exercises to rigorous academic coursework.

Ultimately, West Point: The First 200 Years is both an informative and visually stunning tribute to one of America's most revered institutions. It provides a comprehensive overview of West Point's history and importance, while also offering a nuanced view of its challenges and controversies. For anyone interested in American military history or simply curious about one of the country's most iconic institutions, this film is a must-see.

West Point: The First 200 Years
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 57 min
  • IMDB Rating
    6.0  (12)