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Ric Burns

Ric Burns
Ric Burns (Left) with Brian Keane
Born 1955 (age 60–61)
Baltimore, Maryland
Occupation Filmmaker

Ric Burns (born 1955) is an American documentary filmmaker and writer. He has written, directed and produced historical documentaries for nearly 20 years, beginning with his collaboration on the celebrated PBS series The Civil War (1990), which he produced with his older brother Ken Burns and wrote with Geoffrey C. Ward.


  • Biography 1
    • New York: A Documentary Film 1.1
    • More recent films 1.2
  • Selected filmography 2
  • Bibliography 3
  • Selected list of awards and nominations 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Burns moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan at an early age, and attended Columbia University and Cambridge University, breaking from his graduate work to join his brother on the production of the Civil War series. Since founding Steeplechase Films in 1989, he has directed several programs for WGBH Boston's American Experience, including Coney Island (1991). He also wrote and directed The Donner Party (1992).

In 1995, Burns wrote, directed, and co-produced The Way West. In April 2002, Burns completed Ansel Adams, a co-production of Steeplechase Films and Sierra Club Productions for American Experience.

New York: A Documentary Film

Burns is probably best known for his series New York: A Documentary Film, which premiered nationally on PBS. The eight-part, seventeen-and-a-half-hour film chronicles the city’s rise from a tiny Dutch trading post through its continuing preeminence as an economic and cultural capital of the world.

The first five episodes of New York were broadcast in November 1999; the sixth and seventh episodes in the fall of 2001; and the eighth and final episode in September 2003.

More recent films

Burns’s more recently completed projects include We Shall Remain (April 2009), which tells the story of the life and hardships of Native Americans in the United States. Another, Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World is the story of U.S. whaling industry and its eventual collapse following World War I.

Selected filmography


  • The companion book to the Civil War series (with Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns)
  • New York: An Illustrated History (with James Sanders and Lisa Ades)

Selected list of awards and nominations


  1. ^ "Nominees for the 31st Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards". Retrieved 9 March 2011.
  2. ^ a b c "Nominees for the 27th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards". Retrieved 9 March 2011.
  3. ^ "GEORGE FOSTER PEABODY AWARD WINNERS". Retrieved 9 March 2011.

External links

  • Steeplechase Films
  • WGBH-Eugene O'Neill
  • Andy Warhol
  • New York: A Documentary Film
  • The Donner Party: A Documentary Film
  • Ansel Adams: A Documentary Film
  • Ric Burns at the Internet Movie Database
  • The Other Civil War, Newsweek
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