Watch American Masters

American Masters is a series of television programs devoted to the biographies on American actors, artists and writers. They have influenced the pop culture of the country in a way that has withstood the test of time. The producer selected each subject based on the wide ranging impact they had on American cultural history.

The life and times of each individual is studied starting from their youth. Their backgrounds are as diverse as the cultural inheritance that America prides itself on. By watching this mini- series the viewer has an opportunity to learn more about the cultural diversity that this country represents.

Learning about history can be dry and flat but when it is presented in the media like television then the viewer will often find it much more interesting. Our society is very rushed today and many feel as if they do not have the time to sit down and read about the important individuals who contributed to the pop culture of America. A mini-series provides the viewer the opportunity to give themselves permission to view a relatively short film and to walk away from it feeling as if their time was well spent.

Many of us lose touch with the importance of these contributions from the past and do not realize how much they have influenced the current culture as we know it today. So much of what is experienced is simply accepted without giving thought to its provenance. Many values were brought over from other countries and were planted in the American collective subconscious. It is interesting to be able to trace these values back to their origins and to determine if they are still relevant today.

These high quality biographies have won awards for the great impressions they have made for the viewers. Great numbers of viewers look forward to viewing the upcoming programs and still return to the archive of films to revisit the stories time and again.

Wednesday 9:00 PM et/pt on PBS
1 Season, 253 Episodes
June 23, 1986
Documentary & Biography, News
Cast: Martin Scorsese, Tony Bennett, Peter Bogdanovich, Lee Grant
Watch Episodes
Clips & Extras

American Masters Full Episode Guide

  • A profile of National Medal of Arts-winner N. Scott Momaday, the Kiowa novelist, short-story writer, essayist and poet. His 1968 novel "House Made of Dawn" won the Pulitzer Prize and helped Native American literature breakthrough to the mainstream.

  • Discover the art world giant whose color fields changed art history, and now fetch millions.

  • Discover the life of charismatic Puerto Rican actor Raul Julia, known for his versatile roles.

  • Explore the legacy of the feminist author who transformed U.S. literature with her science fiction.

  • Follow the journey of one of the greatest choral music conductors in the world, Robert Shaw.

  • Explore the six-decade career of four-time Tony Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally.

  • A profile of the conductor, his work with the civil rights movement, and his musical legacy.

  • The life and work of Garry Winogrand (1928-84), the epic storyteller in pictures who harnessed the serendipity of the streets to capture the American 1960s-70s. His "snapshot aesthetic" has become the universal language of contemporary image making.

  • A profile of Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911). A journalist who became a media mogul with an outspoken, cantankerous editorial voice and two best-selling newspapers, he championed what he regarded as the sacred role of the free press in a democracy

  • Experience the power of song in the fight for equality through the feminist singer-activist's story.

  • See how country star Charley Pride used music to triumph over prejudice and injustice.

  • The talented entertainer strove to achieve the American Dream in a time of racial prejudice.

  • A profile of molecular biologist James Watson, one of the co-discoverers of the structure of DNA. In 1962, Watson shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, who, with Rosalind Franklin, provided the data on which the structure was based.

  • Explore the life of the famous Jewish violinist, a transcendent performer and polio survivor.

  • Discover the anonymous New York graffiti artist turned '80s art world rock star.

  • Follow the artist's journey from impoverished childhood to maverick artist, voiced by Meryl Streep.

  • Uncover the hidden depths and complex inner life of the iconic artist you thought you knew. With his life's work as a background, examine his wide range of influences, including modern artists, war, film and the African American community.

  • Discover the 1960s art world icon who changed art history and women's place in the picture.

  • Discover the many sides of the Baseball Hall of Famer with Bob Costas, Wade Boggs and Joey Votto.

  • Discover the story of the most beautiful woman in the world, who was also an ingenious inventor.

  • A profile of molecular biologist James Watson, one of the co-discoverers of the structure of DNA. In 1962, Watson shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, who, with Rosalind Franklin, provided the data on which the structure was based.

  • A profile of playwright and civil rights activist Lorraine Hansberry (1930-65), whose 1959 play "A Raisin in the Sun" changed the face of American theater by depicting the limitations of the American dream through the lives of a black family on Chicago's South Side. Included: home movies; rare photos; unpublished documents; and remarks from Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Harry Belafonte and Louis Gossett Jr.

American Masters Video Clips & Extras

American Masters Season 33 Promo | PBS Clip (00:31) Decoding Watson Preview | American Masters | PBS Clip (02:55) Sammy Davis, Jr: Ive Gotta Be Me Preview | American Masters | PBS Clip (02:36) AMERICAN MASTERS | Itzhak | Trailer | PBS Clip (02:04) AMERICAN MASTERS | Artists Flight: Elizabeth Murray | Trailer | PBS Clip (01:05) AMERICAN MASTERS | Artists Flight: Jean-Michel Basquiat | Trailer | PBS Clip (03:40) AMERICAN MASTERS | Artists Flight: Eva Hesse | Trailer | PBS Clip (01:44) AMERICAN MASTERS | Artists Flight: Wyeth | Trailer | PBS Clip (01:36)

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