Hamilton's America

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Hamilton's America TV Poster Image
Absorbing doc explores how the popular musical came to be.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 10 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The musical Hamilton has color-blind casting, with many people of color in roles that are based on real Caucasian people. The artists portrayed here bring history alive, and have a respect and reverence for history that's exciting. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Lin-Manuel Miranda is a husband, dad, and the son of an immigrant who became a Pulitzer Prizewinner, and a MacArthur Genius by following his artistic instinct. Creative young people couldn't find a more positive role model. 

Violence

Stage rifles are brandished; references to and a song about a gun duel Hamilton fought. 

Sex
Language

Mild cursing in song: "I'm the damned fool who shot him." Bleeped cursing: "Alexander went through some s--t." "I swear I died and went to f---king heaven." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Actors drink shots of "liquor" onstage during a performance. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hamilton's America follows the creation of the Broadway musical Hamilton. Occasional mild cursing: "damn," is sung repeatedly, and "s--t" and "f--k" are bleeped. Actors down shots of (fake) liquor as part of a performance; guns are used as dance props and there are references to and a song about a duel Alexander Hamilton fought, as well as to the death of Hamilton's son. Mild references to romance in song and choreography; one historian says Hamilton was "girl-crazy." Revealing conversations and images show how artists work together and come up with ideas. Viewers will learn more about history and Alexander Hamilton; young fans may beg their parents for tickets to the musical after watching. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byertyujj t. March 8, 2018

Mature Children- A bit of swearing

I believe that "Hamilton" can be seen by any mature child (no younger than 10 years). Swearing is one the main reasons as to why some parents may be s... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bydrrubenmarcado November 17, 2016

Phenomonal

Hamilton is my life and i owe every ounce of happiness that i have left to Lin-Manuel Miranda. Also Daveed Diggs is a sexy son of a mother. Jasmine Cephas-Jones... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byA.Ham April 20, 2017

Kid-Friendly Documentary left me asking for tickets to the tour

Hamilton's America is a documentary that talks all about Lin-Manuel Miranda's breathtaking rap musical, Hamilton. It starts off slow, and the PBS broa... Continue reading

What's the story?

HAMILTON'S AMERICA is a documentary that picks up as Lin-Manuel Miranda is writing his musical Hamilton, which ultimately went to Broadway and won its creator a Pulitzer prize and MacArthur Genius Grant. Miranda explains how he conceived of the idea for the musical and its songs, and allows the cameras to watch as he puts together his lyrics and music and meets with his choreographer and music director. All this is intercut with excerpts of  Hamilton's songs being performed onstage, illustrating what came of each meeting. At the same time, history experts explain events in Alexander Hamilton's life, illustrating the high points with historical images and animation The documentary also catches the reaction to the musical, including a performance in front of a dazzled Michelle and Barack Obama

Is it any good?

Custom-made for Hamilton fans, this documentary explores how the musical came to be, including enough of the electrifying music to convert the uninitiated. A plain old documentary about Alexander Hamilton's life and times? Yawn, only major history buffs would want to watch that. But Miranda makes history come to life with affecting music that reveal the emotions and urgency behind the encyclopedia facts. Watching Miranda take a dry premise like Hamilton's emigration from the Caribbean island of Nevis to America and spin it into a relatable song about any young person trying to make it is fascinating, and inspirational to young artists.   

That said, Hamilton's Americais a tad talky for younger viewers. Hamilton's music can appeal to any age, but this doc probably won't. Tweens and teens, though, particularly those who are interested in drama or history, may take a sudden interest in early American history after watching -- and will almost certainly want to download some of the songs, if not to see the musical onstage. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the historical events Hamilton spotlights. Why are they particularly dramatic? What other historical events or periods would make an interesting musical? 

  • After watching this documentary, do you want to watch the full-length musical Hamilton? Do you think that was this documentary's intended effect? 

TV details

For kids who love history

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