When The Forest Ran Red
Washington, Braddock & a Doomed Army



Scholarship is deep, structure is interesting and engaging. Nice mix of reenactments, paintings, sketches and drawings. Good job of presenting a seldom studied part of our past.

MUSE Award Judges
American Association of Museums

...This well presented program carefully examines the horror that unfolded when an Anglo-American army was ambushed by the French and Indians south of Fort Duquesne.

American History
April 2002

...The standard by which any effort to chronicle the French & Indian War will be measured.

McKeesport Daily News
October 4, 2002

...Engagingly tells the story of this military disaster, a defeat which did much to precipitate the French and Indian War.

Video Librarian
July-August 2002

...Vivid narration and reenactments tell the story. A highlight is the commentary from expert historians such as Fred Anderson (Crucible of War) and R. David Edmunds.

School Library Journal
April 2002

...Fast moving...an ever-changing pallet...When the Forest Ran Red gets its job done handily.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
September 25, 2001


When the Forest Ran Red: Washington, Braddock & a Doomed Army and its sequel, George Washington's First War, represent the world's first and best film documentaries about George Washington in the French & Indian War.

When the Forest Ran Red, available on Special Edition DVD and VHS, tells of the opening days of the wilderness war that erupted between three empires for control of the Ohio Country in America. It begins with George Washington's involvement in the murder of a French military officer. It escalates as the French officer's brother leads a revenge attack that defeats Washington at Fort Necessity. The story culminates in the march of British General Braddock over hundreds of miles of virgin wilderness, and then the Battle of the Monongahela, a brutal forest encounter in which Braddock's army is overwhelmed by a bold French-Indian allied force. George Washington rallies the troops after the battle and personally tends to the mortally wounded Gen. Braddock.

Washington's experience in these years, through these battles, forms the foundation of his military career. Watching Braddock, Washington learns how to be an officer men will respect and revere. From Braddock he also learns how to administer and lead an army on a difficult march. And then, in defeat, Washington learns how to keep an army together under awful conditions -- a skill he will employ again and again in the American Revolution.

When the Forest Ran Red has been syndicated by American Public Television to PBS affiliates across the United States. It regularly appears in 7 of the top-10 major U.S. television markets. It has also been broadcast in Canada.

Paladin Communications conceived, wrote, produced, and directed When the Forest Ran Red. It was our first feature-length documentary and it was shot on film for a timeless and classic look. It premiered on PBS affiliate WQED-TV Pittsburgh on September 26, 2001 to a strong audience share in its prime time slot. It also appeared as a feature presentation of Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Film Festival.

The original 2001 documentary had a run time of 59 minutes. In 2004 it underwent a complete restoration and remastering for DVD that added 9 minutes to the run time for a total of 68, including new action scenes with Bryan C. Cunning (left) as George Washington and important new historical content. This Special Edition includes many special features, such as the Making When the Forest Ran Red featurette, a rare interview with the author of Braddock at the Monongahela (the definitive book about Braddock's Defeat), deleted scenes, and tips for educators to enhance the classroom experience of When the Forest Ran Red. This Special Edition DVD immediately earned a Platinum Aurora Award for Educational DVD upon its release in the spring of 2004.

Featuring an award-winning cast and crew, the production of When the Forest Ran Red involved shooting at numerous significant historic locations and features some of the nation's top scholars. They include:

Fred Anderson, Ph.D., author of the New York Times bestseller Crucible of War

R. David Edmunds, Ph.D., author of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated The Shawnee Prophet

Stephen Brumwell, Ph.D., author of the bestselling Redcoats: The British Soldier and the War in the Americas, 1755-1763 and White Devil (January 2005)

Paul Kopperman, Ph.D., author of the classic Braddock at the Monongahela

...and many other important colonial-era historians. But shooting a documentary involves more than interviews. The Paladin crew followed entire armies of French & Indian War reenactors on forest tactical maneuvers and captured the action combat-photography style over the course of 15 months, covering 4 states. Paladin staged additional action scenes on authentic battlefields to bring the audience close to the look and feel of 18th century warfare.

The team brought maps of battlefields and entire continents to life via full-motion 3-D animation. And Paladin secured the services of outstanding musicians -- the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes & Drums, the Philadelphia folk band Broadside Electric, and historical fiddler Chuck Krepley -- to lend atmosphere and authenticity to the production. Renowned Eastern Frontier artist Robert Griffing has endorsed the film and permitted the use of his impressive gallery of work to provide audiences of all ages a unique Native American point of view.

Award-winning Hollywood and stage actor Michael Rothhaar narrates When the Forest Ran Red. Director of photography was Richard K. Schutte, a veteran of national PBS broadcast documentaries as well as work airing on Discovery Networks and A&E. Tom Wilson, who literally grew up at the site of Braddock's Defeat, edited the program while also helping to shape the creative vision and supervising the development of the musical score.

Recognition for the documentary has come from museum and historical organizations as well as filmmaking competitions. Portions of When the Forest Ran Red were seen by thousands at the George Washington: The Man Behind the Myths exhibition at the Senator John Heinz Regional History Center in Pittsburgh.

The DVD and home video versions of When the Forest Ran Red Special Edition are available through Paladin Communications, Amazon.com, Colonial Williamsburg, the Smithsonian Institution, Mount Vernon, and many National Park Service sites.

Learn about the 2004 Special Edition DVD


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Articles About The Film

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette k
September 20, 2001
November 3, 2000

Uniontown Herald-Standard
November 5, 2000 [Page 1] [Page 2]


Pittsburgh Tribune Review

McKeesport Daily News

Story Outline

Electronic Press Kit

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