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The Ken Burns Documentary Quiz
by Staff
Filmmaker Ken Burns has made some of the most compelling and important documentaries of our time. But do you know your "Ashokan Farewell" from your Eleanor Roosevelt? Take this quiz to jump into the world of public television.

Before we jump into his films, let's do our own little investigation into Ken Burns himself. Where was Burns born?

  • Brooklyn
  • Michigan
  • Long Island

What did Burns study in college?

  • architecture
  • film
  • history

Burns' co-founded a film production company called what?

  • Big History Films
  • Florentine Films
  • Docs for Dough Films

What was the subject of Burns' first film?

  • James Madison
  • the Adirondack chair
  • the Brooklyn Bridge

How old was Burns when "Brooklyn Bridge" aired?

  • 19
  • 28
  • 40

Where did "Brooklyn Bridge" find an audience?

  • VHS tapes passed around by friends
  • indie cinema
  • PBS

What minority Christian religion was the subject of Burns' second documentary feature?

  • the Quakers
  • the Shakers
  • the Amish

What other iconic American monument did Burns make a documentary about?

  • the Statue of Liberty
  • the Vietnam Memorial
  • the Washington Monument

What respected historian has narrated many of Burns' films?

  • Stephen Ambrose
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • David McCullough

What artist did Burns choose as a subject for a 1988 film?

  • Diego Rivera
  • Jackson Pollock
  • Thomas Hart Benton

Burns' 2005 feature "Unforgivable Blackness" detailed the life of …

  • James Baldwin
  • Jack Johnson
  • Miles Davis

In 1992, Burns turned to another medium as the subject for a film. What was it?

  • radio
  • screenprinting
  • textile art

What politician did Ken Burns NOT make a documentary about?

  • Huey Long
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Harry Truman

How many episodes was Burns' "Civil War" series?

  • 5
  • 12
  • 9

How many archival photographs were included in the series?

  • 5,000
  • 16,000
  • 1 million

How many viewers watched the original "Civil War" on PBS?

  • 15 million
  • 25 million
  • 40 million

What's the name of the original musical theme composed for the series?

  • "Ashokan Farewell"
  • "War Is Hell"
  • "Battle Scars"

What historian was the primary on-camera interview for "The Civil War?"

  • Shelby Foote
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • Barbara J. Fields

What actor voiced Abraham Lincoln in the film?

  • Sam Waterston
  • Tom Cruise
  • Jerry Orbach

How many episodes are in Burns' 1994 film "Baseball?"

  • 5
  • 9
  • 12

What famous actor was an interview subject for "Baseball?"

  • Steven Spielberg
  • Tom Hanks
  • Billy Crystal

The 2007 series "The War" faced controversy for what?

  • omitting mention of internment camps
  • omitting mention of Pearl Harbor
  • not including Latino, Native American and female experiences

What musical genre did Burns turn his lens to in 2001?

  • Jazz
  • Rock and roll
  • Swing

Burns' film "Central Park Five" tells the story of five young men of color who were wrongfully convicted of raping a white woman. After the documentary aired in 2013, what happened to the men?

  • They were arrested again.
  • New York City finally agreed to a multi-million dollar settlement for them.
  • They were freed from jail.

In 2010, Burns returned to a former film to add two more episodes. Which film was it?

  • "The West"
  • "Baseball"
  • "Jazz"

What famous American family got its due from Burns in a 2014 film?

  • the Roosevelt family
  • the Addams family
  • the Kennedy family

What was NOT a subject of Burns'?

  • Prohibition
  • the Dust Bowl
  • the history of the phone book

Burns has won what?

  • an Academy Award
  • MacArthur "Genius" Award
  • Peabody, Emmy and Grammy Awards

Barak Goodman directed the documentary "Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies." What was Burns' credit for on the film?

  • executive producer, senior consultant and writer
  • writer
  • producer

Burns' latest film is "Jackie Robinson." Who voices the pioneering ballplayer?

  • Jaime Foxx
  • David Oyelowo
  • John Boyega