Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns

Watch Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns

  • TV-PG
  • 1994
  • 1 Season
  • 9.2  (4,710)

Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns is a documentary series about the history of baseball, one of America's greatest sports, with nine episodes that were released between 1994 to 2010. The show is hosted by prominent journalists and writers like Daniel Okrent, George F. Will, and John Chancellor, who present a comprehensive look at the game from its modest beginnings to its influential role in American culture.

The show explores the evolution of the game, its iconic players, its influence on pop culture, and the transformative role that it has played in the political and social landscape of the country. This documentary highlights the journey of baseball from the mid-19th century to the present day, examining its highs, lows, and transformational moments for a country that has undergone significant changes in the past century.

The first episode of the series, "Our Game," introduces viewers to the origins of baseball, which can be traced back to the mid-1800s. By examining the development and transformation of the game, Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns presents the history of the sport as the story of America's transformation from an agrarian society to an industrial powerhouse with a thriving popular culture.

The series then proceeds to explore the various stages of baseball's growth, tracing the game from its humble beginnings in small ballparks, through to the creation of the national league, and the modern era of multimillion-dollar contracts, free agency, and player strikes. The documentary examines moments of triumph such as Babe Ruth's home run record and Jackie Robinson's integration of baseball, as well as moments of great sadness, including the Black Sox scandal and the infamous steroid era.

Through breathtaking archival footage, interviews with scholars and baseball legends, the film takes viewers on a journey through the important moments, controversies, and personalities in baseball history. From Ty Cobb to Hank Aaron to Derek Jeter, the series looks at the people who have played the game, the major events that have transformed it, and the fans that have followed it.

Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns is not just a history of the sport but an examination of the impact that it has had on American society. The show explores some of the darker moments in American history, including the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War, showing how baseball played a pivotal role through the stories of Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier, and Curt Flood, who challenged the reserve clause.

The documentary also looks at the changing political landscape of America, showing how baseball has played a role in guiding the conversation surrounding issues like immigration and national identity. Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns argues that baseball has always been both shaped by and influenced American society, and that the game has the power to both reflect and transcend the conflicts of a changing country.

Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns is more than just a sports documentary. It is an epic tale of America itself, told through the lens of a uniquely American pastime. The series covers all of baseball's landmark moments, from the first world series to the controversial 1994 player's strike. It is a history of the game, but also a history of America itself, with all its hope, tension, and tragic failings.

In conclusion, Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns is a magnificent showcase of America's favorite pastime, presented entertainingly and intelligently. Entrenched in baseball's history, the show is embellished with captivating footage, which takes viewers on a journey through baseball's best, brightest, and darkest moments. If you can only watch one baseball documentary, Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns is definitely worth watching.

Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (11 episodes). The series first aired on September 18, 1994.

Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns
Filter by Source

The Tenth Inning - Bottom of the Tenth
11. The Tenth Inning - Bottom of the Tenth
September 29, 2010
As the new millenium dawns, baseball on the field is better than ever before. In an era of offense, Pedro Martinez and a handful of other pitchers still manage to dominate. Ichiro Suzuki proves that Asian players can be superstars, while Barry Bonds becomes one of the most dominant hitters of all time. In the fall of 2001, when a badly frightened country yearns for normalcy, baseball helps provide it. In an epic battle with the Yankees, the benighted Boston Red Sox stage the greatest comeback in history. Baseball is more popular and profitable than ever, but suspicions and revelations about performance enhancing drugs keep surfacing, calling the integrity of the game itself into question.
The Tenth Inning - Top of the Tenth
10. The Tenth Inning - Top of the Tenth
September 28, 2010
In an age of globalization and deregulation, a cataclysmic strike over money and power brings baseball to the brink, dazzlingly talented Latin players transform the sport, Cal Ripken, Jr. becomes baseball's new Iron Man, and Ken Griffey, Jr. and Barry Bonds are simply superb. The Braves dominate the National League while the Yankees build a new dynasty. As home run totals soar, sluggers Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa smash one of the game's most hallowed records. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, players on every team must make life altering decisions about how far they are willing to go to succeed.
9. Home
September 28, 1994
America and the world are seeing more changes then at any time in history. And so is baseball. Free agency, multi-million dollar salaries, designated hitters, a new all-time home run champion, a Canadian world champion. And yet, today, we can still look at the game and see something not much different than what our fathers and grandfathers saw.
A Whole New Ball Game
8. A Whole New Ball Game
September 27, 1994
The 1960s are a turbulent decade for America. There are race riots, anti-war protests, hippies, Woodstock. It is also a turbulent decade for baseball, as one by one its "sacred" institutions fall. It starts with Bill Mazeroski bringing down the mighty Yankees with one dramatic home run, the first ever to end a World Series. Then, in 1961, Roger Maris pursues Babe Ruth's "untouchable" record. In 1962, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants are replaced by the New York Mets, who compile the worst single season record of the century.
The Capitol of Baseball
7. The Capitol of Baseball
September 26, 1994
Americans are on the move. Moving to the suburbs. Moving across the country. They are, it seems, restless. Of course, if you're a baseball fan in New York, you don't want to move. You're in baseball heaven. Year after year, the Yankees are on top of the American League. Year after year, the Giants and Dodgers fight for the National league crown. Starting in 1949, there is a New York team in the World Series for 10 straight years. And in six of those years, both teams are from New York.
The National Pastime
6. The National Pastime
September 25, 1994
In Europe, in the Pacific, on the homefront, both African-Americans and whites fight to make the world safe for democracy. When the world ends, Major League Baseball becomes, in fact, what it has always claimed to be: the national pastime. But, at the beginning of the decade, Jackie Robinson's debut is still some years away. Meanwhile, Joe DiMaggio sets a consecutive game-hitting streak that still stands. Ted Williams becomes the last man to hit .400. The once-lowly Brooklyn Dodgers win their first pennant. And world War II takes so much talent from the majors that the St. Louis Browns win a pennant.
Shadow Ball
5. Shadow Ball
September 22, 1994
Throughout America, and even on the baseball diamonds in New York's Central Park, thousands of homeless people build shantytowns called "Hoovervilles." More than ever, America needs heroes. And even as it struggles to make it through the Depression, baseball provides them. But the heroes do not come only from the Major Leagues. The Negro Leagues being baseball to towns the Major leagues ignore - to people the Major Leagues spurn. To delight the fans, they develop an elaborate warm-up routine in pantomime, throwing and hitting an invisible ball so convincingly. spectators can't believe it's not real. It's called "shadow ball."
A National Heirloom
4. A National Heirloom
September 21, 1994
The 1920s begin with America trying to recover from World War I and baseball trying to recover from the scandal of the 1919 World Series. America finds relief in the boom market and the Jazz Age. Baseball finds its own boom market in a player with a Jazz Age personality: a troubled youth from a Baltimore reformatory school who can hit a ball farther than anyone.
The Faith of 5 Million People
3. The Faith of 5 Million People
September 20, 1994
Before and after World War I, a steady stream of immigrants lands on the shores of America. They want instantly to become American. To pursue the American dream. To play the American game. But even as thousands of new Americans pick up a ball for the first time, even as the country endures a world war, baseball is trying to endure a decade that includes the meanest, vilest, angriest player ever to step onto a field and a scandal that almost destroys the game.
Something Like a War
2. Something Like a War
September 19, 1994
In 1894, a sportwriter named Byron Bancroft "Ban" Johnson takes over a struggling minor league - the Western League - and turns it into a financial success. In 1900, he changes its name to the American League and begins talking about challenging the big city monopoly held by the National League. The revolution takes only three years. In 1903, the first World Series is played between the American League Boston Pilgrims and the National League Pittsburg Pirates.
Our Game
1. Our Game
September 18, 1994
In New York City, in the 1840s, people need a diversion from the "railroad pace" at which they work and live. They find it in a game of questionable origins. On June 19, 1846, at the Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey, a team of well-dressed gentlemen, the Knickerbockers, play the first game of baseball. By 1856, the game is already being called "the national pastime," or simply, "Our Game." But the nation is about to be torn apart. And, in the midst of the Civil War, there is one thing that Americans North and South have in common: baseball.
Where to Watch Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns
Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns is available for streaming on the PBS website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns on demand at Amazon Prime, Amazon and Apple TV.
  • Premiere Date
    September 18, 1994
  • IMDB Rating
    9.2  (4,710)