Through his own fierce determination, Henry Ford (1863-1947) created the Model T, the most successful car in history, and introduced the groundbreaking $5-a-day wage, ushering in the modern world as we know it. But despite his success, Ford remained restless and driven, always seeking to control what lay just beyond his grasp.
While creating a more urban, industrial age, Ford simultaneously longed for the simpler era he had helped destroy. One of the nation’s richest men, he despised the wealthy and blamed Jews for what he deemed society’s degeneration. In the latest chapter of PBS’ American Experience, writer, director, and producer Sarah Colt tells the astonishing life story of Henry Ford, a farm boy who rose from obscurity to become the most influential American innovator of the 20th century. The film offers an incisive look at the birth of the American auto industry with its long history of struggles between labor and management, and a thought-provoking reminder of how Ford’s automobile forever changed the way we work, where we live, and our ideas about individuality, freedom, and possibility.
One of the nation’s richest men, Henry Ford despised the wealthy and blamed Jews for what he deemed society’s degeneration. A hero to many ordinary Americans, he battled his workers and bullied those who looked up to him — including, and most tragically, his only son. You can watch the film’s 12-minute-long first chapter below, along with an interview with director Sarah Colt who shares how the film came to be. To watch Henry Ford in full, along with a wide range of other featurettes, you absolutely must visit PBS.org. Pure amazingness.