Walt Disney (film)

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 with part two on the following day and centers on the life, times and legacy of Walt Disney. 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[8] 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]

Walt Disney
DVD cover
GenreDocumentary film
Written bySarah Colt
Tom Jennings
Mark Zwonitzer
Directed bySarah Colt
Narrated byOliver Platt
Theme music composerJoel Goodman
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes2
ProducersSarah Colt
Molly Jacobs
CinematographyJohn Baynard
EditorsMark Dugas
Glenn Fukushima
Jon Neuburger
Running time222 minutes
Production companySarah Colt Productions
DistributorPublic Broadcasting Service
Original networkPBS
Original releaseSeptember 14, 2015 (2015-09-14)
External links


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

Reviews and criticismEdit

The film was met with mixed reviews for its presentation of Walt.[9][10]

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] Neal Gabler, author of the biography "Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination” (2006), notes that “the film takes the measure of [Walt Disney] as a human being."[7]

It was nominated for a Peabody Award.[11][12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Staff (September 14, 2015). "Video: Walt Disney". PBS. Retrieved September 19, 2015.
  2. ^ Jacobs, Molly (June 4, 2015). "Walt Disney Comes to American Experience in September". PBS. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Genzlinger, Neil (September 11, 2015). "Review: PBS's 'Walt Disney' Explores a Complex Legacy". New York Times. 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. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  5. ^ Shine, Bernie (September 17, 2015). "Walt Disney: Parlaying a Mouse". Huffington Post. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  6. ^ a b c Littleton, Cynthia (August 2, 2015). "Walt Disney 'American Experience' Documentary Balances Man & Myths". Variety. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Lowman, Rob (September 14, 2015). "New PBS documentary 'American Experience: Walt Disney' shows man behind the American icon". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  8. ^ Walt Disney was not anti-Semitic, American Experience PBS panel says|EW.com
  9. ^ 'Walt Disney' Life, Legacy Chronicled By PBS Documentary — Variety
  10. ^ A Few Things I Noticed about American Experience: Walt Disney — Part Two — Disney History Institute
  11. ^ The Peabody Awards
  12. ^ The Peabody Awards - American Experience: Walt Disney

External linksEdit