Walt Disney (film)

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Template:Infobox television show Walt Disney is a documentary film created by PBS[1][2][3] for the American Experience program.[4][5] The two-part, four-hour documentary premiered on September 14, 2015 and centers on the life, times and legacy of Walt Disney. The episode was written for the PBS series American Experience which is about American history and is not endorsed by Walt Disney Television nor its affiliates.

According to Sarah Colt, director of the documentary film, the biggest challenge was "capturing the truth of the man who had such [an] outsized influence and notoriety ... People think they know him but in reality they don't know him ... He was a human being with many layers of complexity."[6] Rob Lowman, of the Los Angeles Daily News, described "Disneyesque" as being "synonymous with a specific artistic style and, eventually, a fantasy world."[7] Richard Sherman, a Disney songwriter, recalled that "Disney was never driven by a desire for wealth or fame. He wanted to be seen as a master storyteller ... He got great joy out of making people happy with his movies."[6]


The documentary film is narrated by Oliver Platt and includes the following participants (alphabetized by last name):

  • Michael Barrier (historian)
  • Rolly Crump, (Disney Imagineer)
  • Susan J. Douglas (media historian)
  • Neal Gabler (historian; journalist)
  • Robert Givens (Disney animator)
  • Bob Gurr (Disney Imagineer)
  • Don Hahn (artist; producer; writer)
  • Carmenita Higginbotham (art historian; University of Virginia)
  • Don Lusk (Disney animator)
  • Ron Miller (Son-in-Law)
  • Floyd Norman (Disney animator)
  • Oliver Platt (narrator)
  • Mark Samels (producer)
  • Richard Schickel (historian; film critic)
  • Richard Sherman (Disney songwriter)
  • Ron Suskind (Writer)
  • Ruthie Tompson (Disney artist)

Reviews and criticism[edit]

According to Neil Genzlinger, of The New York Times, "Before [Walt Disney] became synonymous with a staid, whitewashed version of Americana, [he] was considered a boundary pusher, expanding the possibilities and ambitions of his art form ... [the documentary film is] a workmanlike treatment of a titanic life ... [and] makes you feel the limitations of the familiar 'American Experience' format: no-nonsense narration; archival footage and photographs; talking heads delivering sound-bite-length flourishes."[3] Cynthia Littleton, of Variety, writes that "Walt Disney was a dictator who ruled his studio with an iron fist. Walt Disney was a generous soul who loved nothing more than making people happy. Both of those sides of the man who has achieved mythic status were on display [in the documentary film]."[6]

See also[edit]


  1. Staff (September 14, 2015). "Video: Walt Disney". PBS. http://video.pbs.org/video/2365556519/. Retrieved September 19, 2015.
  2. Jacobs, Molly (June 4, 2015). "Walt Disney Comes to American Experience in September". PBS. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/blog/2015/6/4/walt-disney-comes-american-experience-september/. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Genzlinger, Neil (September 11, 2015). "Review: PBS’s ‘Walt Disney’ Explores a Complex Legacy". New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/12/arts/television/review-pbss-walt-disney-explores-a-complex-legacy.html. Retrieved September 19, 2015.
  4. Harris, Aisha (September 15, 2015). "This New Walt Disney Doc Might Be Our Best Look Yet at Just How Complicated His Legacy Is". Slate. http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2015/09/15/american_experience_walt_disney_new_pbs_documentary_points_to_the_genius.html. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  5. Shine, Bernie (September 17, 2015). "Walt Disney: Parlaying a Mouse". Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bernie-shine/walt-disney-parlaying-a-m_b_8150596.html. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Littleton, Cynthia (August 2, 2015). "Walt Disney 'American Experience' Documentary Balances Man & Myths". Variety. https://variety.com/2015/tv/news/walt-disney-american-experience-pbs-documentary-1201555181/. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  7. Lowman, Rob (September 14, 2015). "New PBS documentary 'American Experience: Walt Disney’ shows man behind the American icon". Los Angeles Daily News. http://www.dailynews.com/arts-and-entertainment/20150914/new-pbs-documentary-american-experience-walt-disney-shows-man-behind-the-american-icon. Retrieved September 20, 2015.

External links[edit]

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