Ric Burns

Documentary Filmmaker & Writer | Steeplechase Films
United States

Ric Burns is a documentary filmmaker and writer best known for his eight-part, 17½-hour New York: A Documentary Film. The film premiered nationally on PBS and garnered wide public and critical acclaim when it was broadcast in November 1999, September 2001 and September 2003.

Burns has been writing, directing and producing historical documentaries for more than 25 years since his collaboration on the PBS series The Civil War (1990), which he produced with his brother, Ken, and cowrote with Geoffrey C. Ward. Since founding Steeplechase Films in 1989, he has directed some of the most distinguished programs for PBS, including Coney Island (1991); The Donner Party (1992); The Way West (1995); Ansel Adams (2002); Eugene O’Neill and Andy Warhol (2006); We Shall Remain: Tecumseh’s Vision (2009); Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World (2010); Death and the Civil War (2012); American Ballet Theatre (2015); Debt of Honor (2015); The Pilgrims (2015); VA: The Human Cost of War (2017); and The Chinese Exclusion Act (2018).

His work has won numerous film and television awards, including six Emmy Awards, two George Foster Peabody Awards, two Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, three Writers Guild of America Awards, the Organization of American Historians’ Erik Barnouw Award and the National Board of Review’s D. W. Griffith Award.