Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies (2015)
Directed by Barak Goodman, Deborah Dickson, Chris Durrance, Jack Youngelson
Based on the book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Written by David Blitstein, Barak Goodman, Ken Burns, Geoffrey Ward
Narrated by Edward Herrmann, Terrence Howard
In 2015 Ken Burns (Ken Burns: The War) and Barak Goodman (Makers: Women Who Make America) came together to present a powerful series on the world of cancer. Their work was based on the book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. The talented directors behind this three-part series included Deborah Dickson (Christo in Paris), Chris Durrance (Frontline), and Jack Youngelson (Mission Blue). The writing for the series was handled by Goodman, Burns, David Blitstein (There Will Be Blood), and Geoffrey Ward (Matchbook Morning). The series was narrated by the late actor Edward Herrmann (Reds) and Oscar-nominee Terrence Howard (Crash).
This documentary series takes a deep and interesting look at the history of cancer. From early diagnosis and treatments to the cutting edge medicine of today, the episodes offer a sweeping look at it all. There are intimate interviews with cancer patients, survivors, and family members of those who’ve lost their fight with the disease. There are also interviews with some of the founding fathers of modern cancer research.
This is a powerful series that everyone should see. The filmmakers gained unique access into the personal struggles of cancer patients and their families. There are some tough moments throughout the series as these people share the highs and lows of their battles. There is a ton of information packed into the episodes. It does a great job illuminating the history of cancer research. Additionally, the series highlights the need for more aggressive research and funding. If you’re a fan of Ken Burns or documentaries in general, this is one to see. I give this one 5 out of 5 stars.