HBO’s epic miniseries John Adams comes to DVD in June
By M&C News Mar 20, 2008, 23:28 GMT
Executive producers Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman (Band of Brothers) thrilled critics and viewers when the epic seven-part miniseries John Adams aired on HBO in March.
John Adams, a perfect gift for Fathers’ Day, will be available for the suggested retail price of $59.99.
Starring Paul Giamatti (Sideways, American Splendor) and Laura Linney (The Savages, Breach), John Adams explores American history through one of its greatest founding fathers, set against the backdrop of a nation’s stormy birth.
The John Adams three-disc DVD set boasts over an hour of bonus features including the complete seven-part miniseries, a fascinating David McCullough documentary, and a behind-the-scenes featurette. In addition, all three discs include an on-screen historical guide, providing historically relevant information available throughout each episode.
John Adams marks the second HBO miniseries co-executive produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, the team behind multiple award-winning, critically-acclaimed Band of Brothers. The miniseries was adapted from John Adams, the Pulitzer Prize winning book by American historian and “master of the art of narrative history,” David McCullough (The Path Between the Seas, Truman, 1776).
The New York Review of Books called John Adams “by far the best biography of Adams ever written,” and readers agreed; the biography spent over 60 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list and sold millions of copies. The brand new “David McCullough: Painting With Words” documentary and DVD bonus feature will air independently on HBO May 28 at 7:00pm.
Along with Academy Award nominees Giamatti and Linney, John Adams features an impressive cast of award winning actors. Stephen Dillane (The Hours, King Arthur) plays Declaration of Independence author and third U.S. president, Thomas Jefferson, two-time Academy Award nominee Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton, In the Bedroom) plays fellow founding father and inventor Benjamin Franklin, and recent Emmy nominee David Morse (“House”, Disturbia) plays a spot-on Continental Army general and first president, George Washington.
John Adams was directed by Emmy award winner Tom Hooper (Elizabeth I) whose previous HBO Films feature, Longford, was the recipient of three Golden Globe Awards, including Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.
John Adams, told through the eyes of Adams and his wife Abigail, is an intimate portrait that taps into the uncertainty and intensity surrounding the birth of the American republic and its first 50 years.
A farmer and lawyer, Adams struggled to find the delicate balance between his love for his family and his passion for his country as he rose to a leadership position in newly created Continental Congress, and became the driving force in uniting the original 13 colonies in their declaration of independence from Great Britain.
Adams was the nation’s first ambassador to Holland and to the English court of King George III, the first American vice president, the second American president and the father of the sixth American president, John Quincy Adams.
John Adams also explores the well-documented relationship between John and Abigail Adams. Married for 54 years, their lifetime together is regarded as one of the greatest love stories and partnerships of American history. Abigail was not only John’s closest confidant, she was his sounding board, muse, most indispensible advisor, and spoke the truth about his weaknesses.
In addition, as a proponent of the rights of women and someone who openly criticized slavery, Abigail’s views on politics were sought out and respected by many of the leaders of the newly-formed country.
DVD Bonus Features include: “David McCullough: Painting with Words” – a brand new documentary which explores the artistry of the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and his approach to writing; “Making of John Adams” – a behind-the-scenes look with cast and crew as they talk about bringing the book to the screen, with an on-set location tour; “Facts Are Stubborn Things”– an on-screen historical guide presented as a pop-up feature available throughout each of the seven episodes.
Part One – Disc 1
The epic story of John Adams begins in 1770 Boston, as Adams takes on his first high profile court case defending accused British soldiers caught up in the deadly street confrontation known as the Boston Massacre.
A loyal colonist, Adams earns a reputation for his ability to be unbiased and fair by taking an unpopular stand, and winning the case. He is soon invited to Philadelphia to be a part of the first Colonial Congress, representing Massachusetts.
Part Two – Disc 1
In Congress, Adams’ strong opinions and oratory skills earn him a leadership role among the colonial representatives who yearn for independence from mother Britain. With the oppressive British navy just outside the New York harbor, and a proclamation in hand from King George III threatening death to all colonial rebels, an agreement is made to officially declare the independence of all 13 “states” from English rule.
Part Three – Disc 2
In 1977, Adams is appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to France, where he must persuade French officials to continue their support of America’s war efforts. He next visits Holland to solicit funds, but falls victim to a long illness and fever, helpless to further advance the revolution he helped spawn.
Part Four – Disc 2
As he convalesces in Holland, Adams learns of the British surrender to Washington at Yorktown, and the Dutch, unwilling to part with their money during war-time, generously open their purses eager to begin commerce with an independent America. Adams travels back to France to secure commerce with other nations, and Abigail joins her husband in Paris where they luxuriate in the city’s intoxicating lifestyle.
Adams is next sent to London as the first Ambassador to Britain, but returns to Boston, reuniting with his family as the new federal government is about to be elected.
Part Five – Disc 2
Adams is elected America’s first vice president in 1789, and once again must put his private life on hold. Though he’s vilified for casting an unpopular swing vote in the Senate that ratifies a new treaty with Britain, Adams wins the presidential election in 1797, a mere three votes over Jefferson.
Part Six – Disc 3
As president, Adams holds firm on keeping the nation out of war, despite the French aggression and pro-war sentiment among his advisors. Meanwhile, Adams faces a crisis at home when he disowns his alcoholic son Charles: when Charles later dies, Abigail pleads to her husband to make peace with their son’s memory, but Adams refuses and a disappointed Abigail returns to the family home in Massachusetts.
The president is vindicated as peace is brokered with Napoleon, but loses the third presidential election to Jefferson. Drained by politics and family tragedy, Adams leaves the new capital, Washington City, and the still unfinished White House.
Part Seven – Disc 3
In 1801, John Adams retires and begins writing his memoirs. Family tragedy strikes again with the death of his daughter Nabby, and then his beloved Abigail. On July 4, 1826, having lived to see his son John Quincy become president, 90 year old John Adams dies on the 50 anniversary of the ratification of the Declaration of Independence, and coincidently, the very same day as Thomas Jefferson.
At a time when the nation finds itself increasingly polarized politically, John Adams celebrates those who joined together because of a shared belief in personal liberty and the dream of creating a nation committed to those values. In particular John Adams celebrates the man and the woman whose tireless dedication, impassioned discourse and immense fortitude helped guide our nation through its infancy.