The Roosevelts: An Intimate History is a seven-part, 14-hour documentary by Ken Burns. The film weaves the stories of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, three members of one of the most prominent and influential families in American politics. The series marks the first time their individual stories have been woven into a single narrative.
The Roosevelts follows the family’s story for more than a century, from Theodore’s birth in 1858 to Eleanor’s death in 1962. Over the course of those years, Theodore would become the 26th president of the United States, and his beloved niece, Eleanor, would marry his fifth cousin, Franklin, who became the 32nd president. Together, they redefined the relationship Americans had with their government and with each other, and redefined, as well, the role of the United States within the wider world. The series encompasses all the history the Roosevelts helped to make — the creation of National Parks and the digging of the Panama Canal, the New Deal and the defeat of Hitler, and the postwar struggles for civil rights at home and human rights around the world in which Eleanor Roosevelt played a central role. But it is also an intimate human story about love and betrayal, family feeling and personal courage and the conquest of fear.
Legendary actress Meryl Streep portrays Eleanor Roosevelt in readings from her personal letters and writings. Joining Streep are Paul Giamatti as the voice of Theodore Roosevelt and Edward Herrmann, two-time Emmy Award nominee for his performance as Franklin Roosevelt, as the voice of FDR. Rounding out the cast are Patricia Clarkson, Adam Arkin, Philip Bosco, Keith Carradine, Kevin Conway, Ed Harris, John Lithgow, Josh Lucas, Carl Lumbly, Amy Madigan, Carolyn McCormick, Pamela Reed, Billy Bob Thornton and the late Eli Wallach.