9 user 3 critic

Thomas Jefferson 

A biographical film about The United States' influential and profoundly enigmatic Founding Father.

On Disc

at Amazon






Learn more

More Like This 

Mark Twain (TV Movie 2001)
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A biographical film about the acclaimed American humourist and author.

Director: Ken Burns
Stars: Keith David, Kevin Conway, Philip Bosco
Documentary | Adventure | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

The story of the most important American exploration expedition in American history and the participants in it.

Director: Ken Burns
Stars: Hal Holbrook, Adam Arkin, John Logan Allen
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Documentary showing the history of the world-famous Statue of Liberty in New York harbor, the impact it still has on people and the state of liberty as a personal and political concept in America in 1985.

Director: Ken Burns
Stars: David McCullough, Jeremy Irons, Derek Jacobi
Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A biography of the life and work of the American architect.

Directors: Ken Burns, Lynn Novick
Stars: Edward Herrmann, Philip Bosco, Julie Harris
The Dust Bowl (TV Mini-Series 2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A documentary about the 1930s drought of North American prairie farm land, and its consequences during the great depression.

Stars: Dorothy Williamson, Donald Worster, Timothy Egan
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

This documentary chronicles the world-famous Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. The difficult construction process is described in interesting detail; later parts of the film interview ... See full summary »

Director: Ken Burns
Stars: Paul Roebling, Julie Harris, Arthur Miller
The Roosevelts: An Intimate History (TV Mini-Series 2014)
Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

A documentary that weaves together the stories of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, three members of one of the most prominent and influential families in American politics.

Stars: Meryl Streep, Edward Herrmann, George Will
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

The history of the U.S. National Parks system, including the initial ideas which led to the world's first national parks and the expansion of the system over 150 years.

Stars: Peter Coyote, William Cronon, Dayton Duncan
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

For 50 years, radio dominated the airwaves as the first mass medium. Ken Burns examines the lives of three men who shared the responsibility for its invention and early success.

Director: Ken Burns
Stars: Jason Robards, Red Barber, Erik Barnouw
Jazz (2001)
Documentary | History | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

A survey of the musical form's history and major talents.

Stars: Keith David, Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet
Documentary | Biography | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

The story of Jack Johnson, the first African-American Heavyweight boxing champion.

Director: Ken Burns
Stars: Jack Johnson, Keith David, Samuel L. Jackson
The Congress (TV Movie 1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The U. S. Congress is one of the country's most important and misunderstood institutions. Ken Burns tells the story behind this branch of government.

Director: Ken Burns
Stars: David McCullough, Charles McDowell, Barbara Fields


Series cast summary:
Ossie Davis ...  Narrator 2 episodes, 1997
Joseph Ellis ...  Himself - Historian 2 episodes, 1997
John Hope Franklin ...  Himself - Historian 2 episodes, 1997
Gwyneth Paltrow ...  Jefferson's Grandaughter 2 episodes, 1997
Michael Potts ...  Isaac 2 episodes, 1997
Gore Vidal ...  Himself - Writer 2 episodes, 1997
Sam Waterston ...  Thomas Jefferson 2 episodes, 1997
George Will ...  Himself - Writer 2 episodes, 1997
Garry Wills Garry Wills ...  Himself - Historian 2 episodes, 1997


A biographical film about The United States' influential and profoundly enigmatic Founding Father.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Official Sites:






Release Date:

1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Thomas Jefferson See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Blythe Danner also portrayed Martha Jefferson in 1776 (1972). See more »


In recounting the story of the 1800 presidential election, the narrator says "In early 1801, the Electoral College met in the new capital to pick the next president." The Electoral College does not meet in the capital. In accordance with the Constitution, in December 1800 (not early 1801) the electors from each state met in their respective states to cast their votes. What the program should have said was that in early 1801 Congress met in the new capital to count the votes of the Electoral College. See more »


Thomas Jefferson: "The life of a cabbage is paradise".
See more »


Featured in Ken Burns: America's Storyteller (2017) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The verdict of history
13 November 2002 | by ivan-22See all my reviews

Ken Burns and company do an excellent job of giving us the whole Jefferson, warts and all. But one begins to wonder why they didn't do a documentary about someone else of the times, someone who didn't own slaves, didn't deport all Eastern Indians to the West, didn't build a museum for his personal abode, didn't praise the French Revolution in the most immoderate terms and didn't sink deep into debt. Whether he impregnated slave Sally is almost tangential and immaterial. He "did" so many other things! It is often said, one shouldn't judge a historical figure by today's exacting standards. Yet it is also said, by those same people, that time must pass to allow us to objectively evaluate today's leaders. And as if this weren't enough, one also hears these souls denounce "moral relativism". Go figure. But one needn't judge Jefferson by today's "politically correct" standards. One can be content with judging him by his own time's and, indeed, by his very own standards. And, one can emulate his own extremely harsh judgments of fellow founding father Alexander Hamilton. It's disrespectful to the founding fathers not to judge them. They judged each other, and they wanted to be judged. This good documentary is marred by interruptions from overexposed, self-important pundits from all corners of the vaunted political spectrum, a common documentary flaw. Interpretation and opinion should be served on a separate plate - please! A little more verve and humor would have added spice and made for a less reverential opus. Jefferson wrote so many letters. There should have been more quotations from the horse's mouth.

4 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 9 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed