User Reviews (23)

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  • 1961 was the much-promoted Centennial of the Civil War. There were all sorts of specials, and docu-series, and articles in LIFE magazine, etc. This TV drama was excellent with a brother against brother theme. The fact that it lasted one year says a lot about the audience rather than the show. This was quality TV - and cross-reference "Arrest and Trial" (the precursor of "Law and Order") to see how long some quality shows last. I even remember in grade school trying to get classmates to watch "The Americans" with no luck. Their loss. And in this age of gutter, juvenile, and vicious humor a thoughtful drama like this won't ever be rerun or even on video. Too bad. With the right marketing there are enough Civil War enthusiasts to make video sales feasible. It was a memorable series showing how the war tore America apart.
  • I loved this show when I was a kid, and I remember being very disappointed when it was taken off the air. I remember that it was a gripping drama, and that it held my attention even though I was very young at the time and not too interested in anything other than comedies and cartoons. I also remember my mother complaining once that it was too violent, so maybe this had something to do with its appeal. Surprisingly, it doesn't seem to have made much of an impression on anyone else, because I've never met anyone else who even remembers it, so I'm glad to see so many positive reviews of the show here. I would love to see this show again. It must have been a good show, because I haven't forgotten it in 44 years, and I was only 6 or 7 years old when it aired.
  • I still remember as a kid seeing this shortlived, but highly acclaimed series that didn't find an audience.

    The premise was the two Canfield Brothers, living in a border state, having an opposite political view of the issues that were shortly to divide America. When their father, John McIntire, is killed. Darryl Hickman responds to Father Abraham's call for men while Richard Davalos opts for the newly formed Confederacy.

    It was like that in a whole lot of families back then. The famous Kentucky statesman John Crittenden saw two of his sons become generals in the opposing armies. Though Ben and Jeff Canfield never got to be higher than corporal in the series short run, the idea is the same. Each week the story alternated with a Union story involving Ben and a Confederate story involving Jeff. Kind of like the Maverick brothers.

    This was obviously planned for a long term run, though not as long as MASH which lasted three times as long as the actual Korean War itself. It also treated the issues and incidents of the time with seriousness.

    Those thirteen episodes dealt with some of the events and people of 1861. Dick Davalos got himself involved with the notorious Confederate spy, Rose Greenhow in an episode. Darryl Hickman did a stretch in Libby Prison when he was captured.

    Besides the pilot the episode I remember best was the last where Ben Canfield testifies at a Congressional hearing. The Radical Republicans had a committee that oversaw Lincoln's conduct of the war and his critics in Congress used it as a vehicle for their own ambitions. It concerned the Battle of Ball's Bluff where a personal friend of Lincoln's, Edward Baker was killed leading his men in a charge. Robert Middleton played Senator Ben Wade of Ohio who has not come down in history with a sterling reputation. In fact Wade almost became president when Andrew Johnson fell one vote shy of impeachment. But that's another story.

    Had this gone on for five years, The Americans would have been a remarkable educational tool and been frequently revived. Think of all the Civil War history that could have been made comprehensible and entertaining for the young. We had to wait 30 years for Ken Burns.

    As with so many flop series, good and bad, The Americans if the tapes of the shows still exist is gathering dust somewhere. Pity.
  • 42 years ago I watched a TV show that had a lifetime effect on me. " The Americans" was probably the first show that taught some of our military history to this 8 year old. And now, as a 53 year old veteran of Vietnam, a past Confederate Reenactor enlisted in the 5th Alabama Batallion, Archers Brigade CSA, and a Career DOD Civilian, I'll never forget the image where the two brothers met over Musket sights. In my memory it was a fantastic show. I agree with all those who have written about their memories and truly wish I could also again see this fine series.

    Thankyou for reminding me of this wonderful show. I too, thought it was a figment of my imagination. What a treasure this could be as a Series DVD ! And I tip my hat to those, my age, that remember "The Americans"
  • I have remembered this TV series for nearly 40 years. It was a heart tugging series, about two brothers fighting the Civil War. One brother was in the Union Army and the other in the Confederate Army.

    You just knew one day they would meet face to face on the battlefield, and you just didn't want that to happen. You drew yourself to each of the brothers, in their individual stories of the war.

    Good history of times past, warm family feelings torn apart by war.

    There is room for a new TV series based upon this story line, today. I hope some producer picks it up and goes with it.
  • I really liked this show, The Americans. I can't believe it was only on for a year! Civil War action, what more did a kid want back then? (Except maybe the Alamo.) Thanks to IMDB for having some info about it. And thanks to Candace for steering me here because apparently nobody else has bothered to deal with this excellent show. At least I remember it as excellent. If I saw it today, it might not live up to my rosy memory, but I'd like to give it a try. Some old TV shows weren't preserved, and it would be a shame if this old show became 'history', literally. We can only hope for the best. I'd like to share it with my kids. It beats much of what is on TV today for youngsters. What will our kids be reminiscing about in their later years? Don't get me started. One more thing --- I've enjoyed reading all the comments by everybody and I have to say, I don't recall the 'Daisy May' episode. But I was only about 8 years old at the time and probably considered that one boring. Also, it would be great to find a web site with some photos from the show. Let's keep searching.
  • This show made such an impression on me that I dreamt about it and remember my mother having to wake me and ask me who Ben was. I was talking in my sleep and was worried about if Ben was going to be alright. Pretty strong stuff for an 8 year old. Nothing grotesque or scary. A great story line that left an impression on a kid just beginning to worry about the reports from Huntley and Brinkley and hoping he'd never have to fight against his own brother. For years I've remembered those dreams and couldn't remember the name of the show. I'd love to see it again. I sure hope A&E, TV Land, Nick@Nite or HistoryChannel see to it to run this series. Are you listening over there? Thanks to IMDb for helping solve the mystery of what the source of those dreams were.
  • It is great to see all the comments on The Americans. I was nine at the time it first aired in 1961. I had just moved to Virginia from Massachusetts and was thoroughly engrossed in learning about the war. This show really created a lasting passion for history. I got my first book on the war, Divided We Fought, shortly after the show came on. Also I started visiting battlefield sites all over Virginia. Later we went to Maryland and Pennsylvania to see Antietam and Gettysburg. I went on to earn MA and BA degrees in American History. I worked in museum programming and administration for 33 years. I now have nearly 300 volumes on the Civil War in my home library. Good TV can be a positive influence.
  • I teach history both in high school and at a university. I am especially interested in the American Civil War, the War Between the States, or, as a North Carolina teacher put it to me, "Down here, we call it 'the War of Northern Aggression,'" But, to tell you the truth, one of the reasons I was an avid fan of "The Americans" when it played on television in 1961 was that it was "sexy." I was in 8th grade at the time and therefore of a budding, going on boiling over interest in exotic women. I particularly remember an episode when Dick Davalos goes into a back hills village to recruit some of their sharpshooting men into the Confederate army. Before he finds any men, he encounters a bevy of very shapely Daisy Mays who are very interested in him. What a test of his loyalty to the Southern cause! Should he go back to the battlefield or stay here with the Dogpatch harem?

    Am I the only one who remembers the show this way?
  • somerman9 September 2002
    I fondly recall watching this series. It really left a great impression on me. I was raised in a family of 14 children. We could not afford a TV set. so I would go to a neighbors house to view TV. I have asked many people about this series, how ever not any recall it. This movie should receive more attention than it evidently gets. Should be of interest to anyone that has an interest in the Civil War.Would be nice if some of the cable channels would start airing some of those great shows of yester year.
  • I remember seeing this series and liking it though I don't remember a lot of the content. One scene I do recall was an officer sitting on a horse writing a dispatch and asking another character how to spell "pizen" and when he said poison the officer asked incredulously " p-O-i"?!As I recall it was a well done series. I was just starting out as a re-enactor during the centennial and getting a uniform and attended my first reenactment that year at Phillipi, WV in June, after the last episode of the series had been shown in May. It would be nice if the series is released on DVD for the sesquicentennial and the 50th anniversary of the series.
  • I was just 13 years old but I vividly remember absolutely loving this series. I was very interested in the Civil War and this show helped to spur my interest even more. Darryl Hickman and Dick Davalos were wonderful actors. It's a shame the series didn't last longer than it did. At the time, I also watched Darryl's brother Dwayne's series - Dobie Gillis - and loved it for its comedic effect. But for all-round historic interest and dramatic effect, The Americans was 'way ahead of its time. Unfortunately, in 1961, I guess that wasn't what most American viewers wanted and its demise was inevitable. But I will always have fond feelings for this show and will never forget the anticipation I felt every week of waiting for it to appear on the television (in black and white, of course). Viewers today who are saturated with reality shows and DVRs and TIVOs will never be able appreciate the simplicity and honesty of this type of show.
  • I was 11 years old and a civil war nut already when I saw this show in Springfield, Virginia in January of 1961 and I was GLUED to our refrigerator-size Black and white TV set every week when it came on, Friday nights, if I remember correctly. I also remember, even to my young mind, thinking something wasn't right about their rifles, and it wasn't for more than 12 years that I realized what it was--The show was set in 1861 and they were using Model 1876 3-band Trapdoor conversion rifles, which were 1863 Springfield muskets converted for breech-loading cartridges. I still love the show, and will buy it immediately if it ever comes out on DVD!
  • I was just ten when I watched this civil war series. I remember it as the first show to make me think about the world of adults and the serious topics like war and how families could be torn apart. Growing up in the South I also had a sympathetic view of the rebels, but I also really liked Ben Canfield (Darryl Hickman). The episode I remember the most is when he and Col. Fry are captured and sent to Libby prison and how the prisoners were mistreated.

    The great uniforms and interesting characters left a big impression on me and like others here I often dreamed about the characters and often some of my memories of this show are actually memories of the dreams I had about it.

    This would be a great find on DVD but doesn't seem to have the commercial interest to ever come out. Maybe some day the TV on demand of the future will include this classic from the past.
  • Darryl Hickman has been one of my favorite actors of all time. Both my sister and I memorized the opening credits which are: One hundred years ago, Americans, both North and South, gripped by opposing yet sincere beliefs fought the war between the states. From this struggle emerged a new character, a new America. To the brave and gallant soldiers of the union and confederacy, we dedicate this program. Through the eyes of two young brothers, Ben and Jeff Canfield we will relive once more the tumultuous days of the blue and the gray the story of the Americans.

    We loved this show and unfortunately have not been able to see it for over forty years. I was hoping we could get a DVD of it so if anyone knows where, please let us know. His picture with Dick Davalos and Gigi Perreau in their roles on the Americans appeared on the cover of a TV Guide issue in 1961. Darryl Hickman was also on Broadway in How to Succeed in Business around 1964. We loved him as Davey on Dobie Gillis. I have seen the majority of his movies. I would love to be able to write to him and let him know how much he is appreciated or at least to be able to get a picture of him.
  • I agree with the other respondents that this series, brief as it was, presented a moving and personal portrayal of the Civil War. I have wondered often why it has not been reshown on TV. The brother-against-brother theme was so poignant, and has continued to affect my views of any war.

    The two stars, Darryl Hickman and Dick Davalos, were perfect in their roles. I have always been impressed with the performances of Mr. Hickman, in particular, since his days as a child actor.
  • I was in second grade, 7 yrs old, when this TV show was on. I loved it so much. I didn't know of the civil war until this show and I asked so many questions about the war, not understanding why brothers could fight each other. As I studied the war through school and college, I always used the perspective point of Ben and Jeff Canfield. I used to ask people if they loved this show as much as I did and they didn't remember it. When we first got the internet, I looked it up and only found the TV schedule for 1960 with the Americans listed, but that was all. I quit looking . . until now and found more info about it. I am excited to see there are more people who loved it as much as I did. I always wished it had been on more than the one year.

    I cried during the show. I remember when they saw each other while hiding in a barn. I wanted history to change and just let them live in peace, but of course, it couldn't end that way. I'm glad I had a chance to know this show. Thanks for info about it and everyone's comments.
  • mister9174 August 2007
    I agree wholeheartedly with every comment concerning this series. I was ten years old when The Americans appeared as a mid season replacement. I was already interested in American History and had a special fondness for the Civil War. It's a shame that this show, like the Gray Ghost was short-lived. Both were excellent. I believe I saw Daryl Hickman some twenty years later in the movie, "Sharkey's Machine". The alternating episode factor between the two brothers made the show very interesting. The writing and acting were superb. It's a shame that this program will never make it to DVD. It lasted only half a season as it came on as a mid-season replacement. I was both surprised and pleased that so many people remembered this series. It obviously made a lasting impression. Series like this wouldn't make it on TV today, too intelligent.
  • vegipot3 May 2001
    My brothers & I loved that show as kids. We even went to a Civil War re-enactment at Antietam to see the actors who played Ben and Jeff in person. I would love for Nick at Night or TV Land to air it again. Not many people seem to remember The Americans, probably because it only lasted a year. I even looked in a book at the library once titled "The Complete History of Television" and it wasn't listed!
  • I had already developed an interest in the US Civil War - my family was on both sides of the conflict - and my family often visited Civil War battlefields from our home in Western Pennsylvania. I was 9 years old and immediately latched on to this brief TV show which I thought was fantastic. I was very disappointed that it was gone after a season and was my first introduction into how fickle the networks could be -- up until then I though TV shows always lasted for years. To this day I never understood why they cancelled the program. For some odd reason I remember the artwork always portrayed in the opening of each show plus the theme song -- both lost to time and memory I suppose.
  • As a kid, this was one of my favorite series--helped me become a Civil War historian and author. Years ago, while researching a book about the battle of First Bull Run, I corresponded with a CW buff who had been a bit actor in Hollywood when this series was shot. One of its episodes covered Bull Run, and he wangled a role in it as a Union soldier retreating at battle's end. He was overjoyed when the director told him to ad lib a line in front of the camera. Knowing the battle turned on the capture of an artillery battery commanded by Captain James B. Ricketts, the actor blurted out: "Run! The Rebels are coming! They got Ricketts!" As soon as he said it he realized it sounded as if he was saying: "Run! The Rebels have beri-beri!" He was embarrassed beyond words--and very relieved when the episode was shown months later and he found his blunder had been dubbed out!
  • random_ax20 July 2003
    I was beginning to think I imagined this show. I'm 47 and my older brothers and I have all recalled seeing a TV series where two brothers were on opposite sides of the American Civil War. We had thought it was called RALLY 'ROUND THE FLAG but could never find any mention of it in TV reference books. I don't recall toomuch about the show but yes, it would be a good show for some enterprising TV producer to re-do.
  • I was a 10 year old, when "The Americans" screened in Australia - I watched every single episode, and was fascinated by the events that caused nation to fight against nation. I waited for re-runs of the series for years, and it never happened - it seemed all my friends in Australia loved the series, and we were disappointed when there was no follow-up series made. I have been trying to get a copy of the series, to no avail. I did manage to track down one episode on ebay, called "The Gun", and I still enjoyed it after all these years! I would love to get the whole series, if it were possible - can anyone help me? I have since become an avid fan of "Civil War " movies. I have copies of "Glory" staring Matthew Broderick, and also "Gettysburg" starring Tom Berenger. What ever happened to Richard Davalos? he was a great actor! Darryl Hickman seems to have carved his own niche in life, and I loved reading his book.