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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Philosophy > Mythology > TV Mini-Series > Joseph Campbell on The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (1988/Acorn Media/Athena DVD Set)

Joseph Campbell on The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (1988/Acorn Media/Athena DVD Set)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: B+     Episodes: A



Joseph Campbell’s ability to bring world mythology to life, and to link it with world religions and mankind’s common origin made him a transcendent figure in his field.  In 1983, journalist Bill Moyers conducted a series of interviews with Professor Campbell that covered a range of topics and chiefly addressed how the various myths in mankind’s history reflect who we are as a people and where we might be headed.  This six-part series of interviews, broadcast in 1998 as Joseph Campbell & The Power of Myth, consumes the better part of six hours, but the discussions are so compelling that viewers will likely lose track of the time.  


Anyone with even a casual interest in mythology, comparative religion, or world history will find much to like in this series.  Campbell deftly relates tales of ancient times to more modern myths like those found in George Lucas’ Star Wars, and indeed the journey of Luke Skywalker in those films is much like the ones of the archetypal heroes in Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces.  Moyers conducts his interviews with aplomb and agility, wringing from Campbell all the wit and wisdom that made him a favorite teacher among his students at Sarah Lawrence College.


Athena has done a wonderful job assembling this package.  They have included a number of excellent extras, including: a newly released and rarely seen interview with Campbell from Moyers’ journal, selected excerpts from Moyers’ interviews with George Lucas, profiles of some of Campbell’s biggest influences (James Frazer, Adolf Bastian, and Otto Rank) and a 12-page viewer’s guide with profiles of artists influenced by Campbell.


Many viewers might have been lucky enough to have been exposed to this series in high school, or perhaps during a college course on mythology.  This wonderful release allows folks to rediscover these important interviews, or engage them for the first time.  Either way, we’re all a little richer for having Joseph Campbell on Power of Myth with Bill Moyers available again.



-   Scott Pyle


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