Greatest documentary ever madeWatch
Burns very effectively uses photographs, diary entries read by actors, music and some sparing use of experts, to portray the American Civil War. It's very notable in that at the time of the Civil War, the 1860s, photography really was in its infancy but Americans were avid users of it. It's almost like your perception of the mid-19th century is from paintings, so to see photographs of that period is amazingly interesting.
If you're a history buff you will probably love this documentary, widely considered to be perhaps the best ever made. It's not at all a dry rendition of the past, parts of it are quite funny and some are deeply moving; there's one part (recounting a letter a soldier writes to his wife) that made me choke up when I watched it (then again, maybe I'm a pussy). It's hard to explain all the reasons why it's so brilliant so I'll just post this youtube video of two parts of the first episode.
Btw, you can full-screen it by clicking the little YouTube button in the bottom right corner next to the full-screen button (apparently it won't full-screen embedded videos)