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Crucible of Empire: The Spanish American War (1999)

Historical documentary on the Spanish-American war, the events surrounding it, and the people involved. Highlights events in Cuba and the Philippines.


Daniel A. Miller


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Credited cast:
Emilio Aguinaldo Emilio Aguinaldo ... Character voice
Gilberto Arribas Gilberto Arribas ... (voice)
Paul Austin Paul Austin ... (voice)
Robert L. Beisner Robert L. Beisner ... Himself
Brad Bellamy Brad Bellamy ... (voice)
Chris Ceraso ... (voice)
Richard Davis Richard Davis ... (voice)
Richard Harding Davis Richard Harding Davis ... Character voice
Jeffrey DeMunn ... Richard Harding Davis (voice) (as Jeff DeMunn)
Shawn Elliott ... Máximo Gómez (voice)
Calixto García Calixto García ... Character voice
Arthur Giron Arthur Giron ... (voice)
Dion Graham ... (voice)
John-Martin Green John-Martin Green ... (voice)
Máximo Gómez Máximo Gómez ... (voice)


Historical documentary on the Spanish-American war, the events surrounding it, and the people involved. Highlights events in Cuba and the Philippines.

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Official Sites:

PBS [United States]





Also Known As:

O ispano-Amerikanikos polemos See more »

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User Reviews

An interesting documentary about a comical war.
8 November 2011 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

This PBS documentary about the Spanish-American War is about as good as any film I've seen on the subject. It just screams quality throughout and makes for excellent viewing. Part of the reason it's so watchable is that if you pay much attention, you'll see that the war was one of the most amateurish and ridiculous events in American history. While the US won the war quite handily, it's only because they picked a war with an incredibly weak and ineffectual enemy--the Spanish. Had this been a REAL war, the outcome would have been MUCH different. What do I mean? Well, here are some interesting facts you'll hear from the film:

Teddy Roosevelt's 'Rough Riders', a cavalry unit, went into battle with almost no horses! It seemed they didn't have the ships to bring both the men and their mounts to Cuba!

Roosvelt was in charge of this invading force. His qualifications? He had a nice tailored suit from Brooks Brothers and he was rich.

The US Navy took Manila Bay at the cost of only one US life and the Spanish lost most of their fleet.

Overall, there is a lot to like about the film. My only complaint is a minor one and that is the narration by Leonard James Olmos. I am sure he's a nice fellow and I have nothing against him personally. But, being slightly hard of hearing and with no captions on this DVD, his raspy whispering voice was not especially easy to hear and a stronger voice would have made this a lot easier for the ears.

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