Ken Burns Docuseries ‘Muhammad Ali’ Streaming on PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel Sept. 19

Muhammad Ali, a new four-part documentary directed by Ken Burns, will begin streaming on the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel Sept. 19.

It will be available in 4K Ultra HD.

The subscription rate for the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel is $3.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

The new series, which was in development for six years, was also written and co-directed by Sarah Burns and David McMahon, whose previous collaborations with Burns include The Central Park Five (2012), Jackie Robinson (2016) and East Lake Meadows: A Public Housing Story (2020).

The film follows the life of one of the most consequential men of the 20th century, a three-time heavyweight boxing champion who captivated billions with his combination of speed, agility and power in the ring, as well as his charm, wit and outspokenness outside of it. At the height of his fame, Ali challenged Americans’ racial prejudices, religious biases and notions about what roles celebrities and athletes play in our society, and inspired people all over the world with his message of pride and self-affirmation.

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Drawing from archival footage and photographs, contemporary music, and the insights and memories of eyewitnesses — including family and friends, journalists, boxers and historians, among many others — the docuseries is a sweeping portrait of an American icon. The series details the story of the athlete who called himself — and was considered by many to be — “the greatest of all time” and competed in some of the most dramatic and widely viewed sporting events in history, including “The Fight of the Century” and “The Thrilla in Manila,” both against his great rival Joe Frazier, as well as “The Rumble in the Jungle,” in which he defeated George Foreman to regain the heavyweight title that was stripped from him seven years earlier.

Muhammad Ali captures Ali’s principled resistance to the Vietnam War, his steadfast commitment to his Muslim faith, and his complex relationships with Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X. While largely celebrated today as an icon of American sport and culture, Ali was not always embraced. At times he was reviled by many in America, especially white Americans and members of the media. Ali faced a firestorm of criticism when he said, “I ain’t got nothing against them Viet Cong” — a stance that would result in five years of legal jeopardy and a three-and-a-half-year banishment from boxing.

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Ali’s story is full of contradictions. Despite his ruthlessness in the ring, he was a symbol of peace and pacifism. Though committed to a faith that expected dignified conduct, he was notoriously unfaithful to his wives. A clever showman with unparalleled genius for promotion, he occasionally allowed partners and friends to take advantage of him. Endlessly trumpeting his own greatness, he anonymously donated much of his fortune.

Muhammad Ali includes interviews with Ali’s daughters Hana Ali and Rasheda Ali, his second wife Khalilah Ali, his third wife Veronica Porche, and his brother and confidant Rahaman Ali. Others appearing in the film include activist and former basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, sportswriter Howard Bryant, historian Gerald Early, civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, friend and business manager Gene Kilroy, boxing promoter Don King, novelist Walter Mosley, long-time friend Abdul Rahman, and New Yorker editor David Remnick, among others.

Other titles coming to the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in September include American Experience: Citizen Hearst, American Experience: Jimmy Carter, Season 1, American Experience: Reagan, Season 1, American Experience: Supreme Justice: Sandra Day O’Connor, American Masters: Raul Julia: The World’s a Stage, American Masters: Twyla Moves, Discovering Your Warrior Spirit with D.J. Vanas, Frontline: America After 9/11, Frontline: Boeing’s Fatal Flaw, Generation 9/11, Independent Lens: Harvest Season, Lives Well Lived, Nova: Bat Superpowers and Nova: The Cannabis Question.

‘American Experience: Tesla’ Headlines Titles Coming to PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in August

American Experience: Tesla, The Botany of Desire and Doc World: Cocaine Prison headline the titles coming to the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in August.

The subscription rate for the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel is $3.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

Due Aug. 6 is American Experience: Tesla. The documentary chronicles the life and influence of Nikola Tesla, dubbed the “patron saint of geeks.” Tesla has had electric cars, rock bands, a unit of measurement, a minor planet, and a lunar crater named after him. Still eclipsed however by contemporaries such as Edison and Marconi, Tesla, the visionary scientist died impoverished and largely forgotten. During his lifetime, he gained international fame for his invention of a system of alternating current that made possible the distribution of electricity over vast distances and is the basis for the electrical grid that powers 21st century life. But the visionary Tesla imagined much more — robots, radio, radar, remote control, the wireless transmission of messages and pictures, and harnessing the wind and sun to provide free energy to all. As a showman, he dazzled his scientific peers who flocked to see him demonstrate his inventions and send thousands of volts of electricity pulsing through his body. His fertile, yet undisciplined imagination was the source of his genius and also his downfall, as the image of Tesla as a “mad scientist” came to overshadow his reputation as a brilliant innovator. It is his exhilarating sense of the future that has inspired renewed interest in the man, as his once scoffed-at vision of a world connected by wireless technology has become a reality.

Doc World: Cocaine Prison, coming Aug. 15, follows the lives of three Bolivians who work at the lowest levels of the cocaine trade: two prison inmates who film their daily experiences and an inmate’s sister who must decide whether to traffic cocaine or pursue a college education. The film bridges the ever-widening gap between the North and the South and brings a new perspective to the war on drugs being waged in the Andes.

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The Botany of Desire

Based on Michael Pollan’s best-selling book, The Botany of Desire, brought to life through narration by Frances McDormand, is coming Aug. 27. The film focuses on four species of plants that we’ve all interacted with and details how humans have completely shaped these plants’ evolutions and destinies. The documentary takes viewers on an eye-opening exploration of the human relationship with the plant world — seen from the plants’ point of view. The program shows how four familiar species ─ the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato ─ evolved to satisfy our yearnings for sweetness, beauty, intoxication and control. The Botany of Desire shows how human desires are an essential, intricate part of natural history. It begins in Michael Pollan’s garden, and then roams the world from the corn fields of Iowa to the apple forests of Kazakhstan, from a medical marijuana hot house to the tulip markets of Amsterdam. One of the great conceits of human civilization is to put ourselves outside nature — constantly shaping and re-shaping the wild for our own purposes. Taking the plants’ view of the world pushes viewers to understand Pollan’s call to restore human activity to its proper place in the matrix of nature.

‘Hemingway’ Coming to PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel April 5

Hemingway, a documentary from filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick chronicling the life of literary icon Ernest Hemingway, will be available to stream on the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel on April 5.

The channel will also be streaming a 4K Ultra High-Definition version of the program beginning April 11. The subscription rate for the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel is $3.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

The title will come out on Blu-ray and DVD May 4.

The three-part, six-hour film examines the life and work of Hemingway, one of the most influential writers America has ever produced. Narrated by long-time collaborator Peter Coyote, the series features an all-star cast of actors bringing Hemingway (voiced by Jeff Daniels), his friends and family to life. Through letters to and from his four wives — voiced by Meryl Streep, Keri Russell, Mary-Louise Parker and Patricia Clarkson — the film reveals Hemingway at his most romantic and his most vulnerable, grappling at times with insecurity, anxiety and existential loneliness.

Burns and Novick paint a picture of Hemingway, who captured on paper the complexities of the human condition in profound prose, and whose work remains deeply influential around the world. Informed by interviews with celebrated writers, scholars and Hemingway’s son Patrick, the filmmakers explore the painstaking process through which Hemingway created some of the most notable works of fiction, in novels such as The Sun Also RisesA Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea; short stories “Hills Like White Elephants,” “The Short and Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” “Up in Michigan,” “Indian Camp” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro;” as well as the nonfiction works Death in the Afternoon and A Moveable Feast.

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His relationships with women — his mother, sisters, wives and the World War I nurse who broke his heart — profoundly affected his work. Yet for all his bravado and hyper-masculine posturing, Hemingway wrote about relationships between men and women with sensitivity, nuance and clarity.

The filmmakers were granted unusually open access to the treasure trove of Hemingway’s manuscripts, correspondence, scrapbooks and photographs housed at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. The film also explores Hemingway’s limitations and biases as an artist and a man of his time.

Remastered ‘Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns’ Coming to PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel March 18

The Emmy Award-winning documentary series Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns is coming to the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel March 18.

The series, coming to the service in time for Major League Baseball’s opening day, is remastered in HD and has also been rejuvenated, as each photograph and clip were meticulously inspected and repaired.

The Emmy Award Winner for Outstanding Informational Series tells the story of how, over the years, baseball has not just been a game, but America’s pastime, continuously echoing social issues and creating unforgettable moments in history. The series sheds light on the icons who of the game and the moments that have forever changed the way fans look at it.

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The subscription rate for PBS Documentaries is $3.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

‘A Thousand Cuts’ Debuts Jan. 9 on PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel

The “Frontline” documentary A Thousand Cuts will debut on the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel Jan. 9.

The film follows Philippine journalist and Time Person of the Year Maria Ressa as she is targeted by President Rodrigo Duterte for exposing the truth of the political corruption in her country on her news site, Rappler. The film offers an inside look at the key players in the escalating war between press and government in the Philippines and the ongoing threat against freedom of the press.

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It examines social media disinformation campaigns and the crackdown on the news media in the Philippines by Duterte — who has made Ressa one of his top targets. At great personal risk, Ressa has been at the forefront of holding Duterte and his government accountable for their violent war on drugs. In response, Duterte has barred Rappler reporters from the presidential palace and revoked Rappler’s license. Ressa herself has been charged with a cyber libel case. Ressa places the tools of the free press — and her own freedom — on the line in defense of truth and democracy in “A Thousand Cuts.”

The film received a Grand Jury Prize nomination from the Sundance Film Festival and a Best Documentary Award Nomination at the Gotham Independent Film Festival.

The subscription rate for the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel is $3.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

Season Seven of ‘Finding Your Roots’ and ‘Ken Burns: Here and There’ Among Titles Debuting on PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in January

American Masters: How It Feels to Be Free, season seven of “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.” and Ken Burns: Here and There are among the programs debuting on the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in January.

The subscription rate for the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel is $3.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

American Masters: How It Feels to Be Free

American Masters: How It Feels to Be Free starts streaming Jan. 19. From Award-winning director Yoruba Richen and based on the book of the same name, the program tells the inspiring story of how six iconic African American female entertainers, Lena Horne, Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson and Pam Grier, challenged an entertainment industry deeply complicit in perpetuating racist stereotypes, and transformed themselves and their audiences in the process. The documentary features interviews and archival performances with all six women, as well as original conversations with contemporary artists influenced by them, including one of the documentary’s executive producers Alicia Keys, along with Halle Berry, Lena Waithe, Meagan Good, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson and many others. The documentary also includes interviews with family members, including Horne’s daughter Gail Lumet Buckley.

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“Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.”

Season seven of “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.” is due Jan. 20. Over the course of 10 episodes, Gates uses genealogical detective work and cutting-edge DNA analysis to guide twenty influential guests through the branches of their family trees, traveling hundreds of years into the past to discover people and places long forgotten. The season features actors Glenn Close, John Lithgow, Jane Lynch, Christopher Meloni, and Tony Shalhoub; Broadway stars Audra McDonald and Mandy Patinkin; filmmakers Kasi Lemmons and John Waters; talk show host and author Andy Cohen; journalists Gretchen Carlson, Maria Hinojosa, Don Lemon, and Nina Totenberg; comedians Lewis Black, Jim Gaffigan, and Roy Wood, Jr.; and musicians Clint Black, Rosanne Cash, and Pharrell Williams.

Ken Burns: Here and There debuts Jan. 1. The biography is about the life and work of the documentary filmmaker and follows the story of his love for filmmaking and storytelling, the evolution of his career throughout the years, his fondness of small-town life, and his love for a bridge in Brooklyn. Filled with small stories and monologues, this program captures the 40-year intimate relationship Burns has with his America, with his colleagues, his family, his community, his craft, and taking sweeping historical concepts and making them relatable to his audiences.

Doc ‘Driving While Black’ Streaming on PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel

The documentary film Driving While Black is streaming now on PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel.

From Emmy award-winning Ric Burns and Gretchen Sorin, the film explores the deep background of a recent phrase rooted in realities that have been an indelible part of the African-American experience for hundreds of years. Chronicling the riveting history and personal experiences of African-Americans on the road from the advent of the automobile through the seismic changes of the 1960s and beyond, Driving While Black examines the history of African-Americans on the road from the depths of the Depression to the height of the Civil Rights movement and beyond, exploring the deeply embedded dynamics of race, space and mobility in America.

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Driving While Black utilizes archive material from the period — including footage, photographs, advertisements, road signs, maps, letters and legal records — and weaves together oral histories and the on-camera insights of scholars, writers, musicians and ordinary American travelers. The film also delves deeply into the history of The Green Book, the travel guide authored by New York City mailman Victor Hugo Green. From a first edition focused on the Northeast, Green expanded his guide to include much of the country, providing travel tips for African Americans driving, including safe and welcoming places to stop, dine and rest, as well as places to avoid, given the potential for racially motivated violence. “Vacation without aggravation,” the book advised African American families planning a road trip.