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Recommended age 12-18
60 minutes
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AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: THE BOYS OF 36 cover image Click to play video trailer
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The Boys of '36 takes a look at the lives of nine young men who, against all odds, won a gold medal in rowing at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Struggling every day just to eat, these boys survived the depression by focusing their sights on success and working day and night to achieve that goal. Being in Berlin and competing against Adolf Hitler's elite German rowing team was just one of many challenges the boys faced. This film is a great model for mental and physical tenacity, sacrifice, redemption, trust and brotherhood. I consider this title more for entertainment value than for educational purposes. The focus is less on the Great Depression and the dynamics of competing in Germany during WWII and more about the individual struggles of the competitors. I recommend this film for ages 12 to 18, including Adults. I give it 3 out of 5 stars. t's an interesting story for sure! Reviewed by Eli B., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
THE BOYS OF '36 is the story of nine working-class young men from the University of Washington who took the rowing world and the nation by storm when they captured the gold medal at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. These sons of loggers, shipyard workers and farmers overcame tremendous hardships - psychological, physical and economic - to beat not only the Ivy League teams of the East Coast but Adolf Hitler's elite German rowers. Their unexpected victory, and the obstacles they overcame to achieve it, gave hope to a nation struggling to emerge from the depths of the Depression.

Featuring interviews with author Daniel James Brown, historians and surviving children of the 1936 Washington team, the program will be available in August on DVD in conjunction with the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro and the 80th anniversary of the miracle crew's triumph.

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