The Current War

The Current War

DVD - 2020
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Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse engage in a battle of technology and ideas that will determine whose electrical system will power the new century


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Mar 28, 2021

Boring. Did not hold my attention. I did not finish the movie.

Feb 20, 2021

Had high hopes for this, looking at the cast and the history behind the actual events (I mean "Empire of Lights" was a great read -IMO-). But "The Current War" was not as tense or exciting as I thought it could've been.

FPL_RachaelN Oct 24, 2020

A good representation of the historical telling of Edison, Westinghouse, and Tesla and their involvement in electricity. It also includes details about their side projects as well.

Oct 18, 2020

We liked it, other comments covered many of our feelings. The actors are not among my favorites but fine for the parts they played. I had forgot a lot of what was covered so a good refresher.

Oct 17, 2020

Interesting, well acted, and with excellent sets and locations. Sometimes a little confusing, but worth the time spent watching it!

Sep 15, 2020

It was okay, but why do the character portrayals in many historical films seem so contrived?

Aug 27, 2020

Quite the history lesson, for sure!

Aug 14, 2020

A sympathetic portrait of "The Wizard of Menlo Park," Thomas Edison, and his efforts to dominate the electrification of America in competition with the efforts of George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla. The 19th century was an era of exciting invention and ruthless business practices, where it seems loyalty was disposable and trust easily broken in the pursuit of outdoing your competitor. This movie does a good job of depicting the ruthlessness of that world and the excitement of new discovery. However, from other information out there about Edison I think he gets let off easy in this portrayal. Particularly with how he went to extremes to try and show that the competition's alternating current was more deadly than his favored direct current, which I feel is handled very lightly here. Still, overall an interesting and thought-provoking movie, filled with quality performances.

Aug 08, 2020

A great history lesson on the trials and errors to light up the world. Some times confusing keeping the inventors straight as to who was who. Credit must go to all the scientists and engineers working behind the scenes.

Jul 31, 2020

My 12-year old granddaughter, who is a history buff wanted to see this film and she gave it a 4.5 star rating. It held her attention throughout. Personally, if I'd known that a good portion of the film focused on events surrounding the invention of the electric chair, I would not have watched the film, as I'm 100% against capital punishment.

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Jul 11, 2020

Opening on-screen text:
The world is lit by fire. Machines are moved by hand, foot or steam.
The engineer George Westinghouse has risen to immense wealth through his invention of the railway air brake. He has invested his fortune in natural gas, believing it to be the future of light and industry.
The inventor Thomas Edison, world-famous but cash-poor, has been working night and day on a superior alternative: electricity.
They are about to enter a race to create the modern world.
Menlo Park, New Jersey
Edison demonstrates apparently to investors a field of electric light bulbs…

Jul 11, 2020

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The air brakes pay for George’s latest obsession.
Edison says he's months away from lighting up the world.
-It's impressive, but trust me, it's ten years away from being practical.
The papers make it sound as though this is something different. A miracle.
-As if you started to levitate off the carpet.
I've heard Mr. Edison called "the worst husband in America" on account of him sleeping in his lab on your wedding night.
Is anyone even slightly irked that 15 years of work is being filched from right under your eyes? Not again! I built a system here, and he goes shopping for patents to cobble together something to legally steal what is mine. If the bulbs are a battle, then nail him on the dynamos.
-We can't. He's not even using direct current, sir.
He's using alternating?

Jul 11, 2020

-So you say Westinghouse wants to hurt people?
No. I can't say that. But you can.
Edison's current can't travel more than one mile, Frank. It peters out. He'll have to build so many DC motors and bury all his copper just to power one town. This country will look like a checkerboard of power plants. But with one AC dynamo, we can step-up the voltage and reach as far as the eye can see. We string the wires overhead on poles. Less copper, more electricity. We're 75 percent cheaper. The only thing that matters here is distance.
The man doesn't care about getting it right, just about getting it.
Edison said that electricity can already be used in factories.
-Well, his can.

Jul 11, 2020

Coconut fibers and horn shavings, and fishing lines and cork and celluloid and flax and platinum, iron, nickel, copper, steel. We scoured the earth, years and years, trying thousands, 10,000 different combinations. Then George Westinghouse saw how I did it and put on a pirate hat. You get vultures in every venture, but you've just got to keep them away.
- So this is just how it works?
Map-makers include mistakes in their work to see if anyone else is copying them. I don't have that luxury. I can't invent streets to lead the world down. Otherwise we all end up in the dark.
With DC current, you can reach out and touch anything at any stage of the line with your bare hands. It's safe. It works. And it bears the name of Edison, so it's pretty. Our government has been trying for some time now to get me to invent a weapon, but I won't use this brain to invent anything that hurts people. For that, you can shop in Pittsburgh.

Jul 11, 2020

All cities will have light in your lifetime, but harnessing the power of Niagara, that is to see our future.
-The Falls? I'm here to talk about Chicago.
Think beyond Chicago. Energy is as fundamental as food, as water, as air. You can... You cannot say that only those with money can eat or can breathe. Yes, the Falls will light up the Eastern Seaboard. Yes, there is a great fortune to be made, and I covet a very nice walking stick.
-I saw on 63rd and Madison, but Niagara is the proof that one day we may detach power from profit. That is how you truly win.
Who's Nikola Tesla?
-What about him?
Well, he gave a talk at Columbia. Word is, the Serb is building Westinghouse a polyphase motor. Light and power. You can do both. He now may as well.
Mr. Westinghouse's brand of electricity is fatal.
-Thank you, Mr. Insull.
Just to be clear, sir, any electrical current over 200 milliamperes can be deadly.
-Even yours?

Jul 11, 2020

A true legacy isn't what we build up to the heavens or carve deep into stone. Rocks will crumble, paper disintegrates, and bone turns to powder. Only that which isn't in the physical realm and reaches in both directions can be eternal. Our ideas. They are what we leave behind. And only they are what can push us forward.
They both light up lights, right?
-Westinghouse saves us some money. Thomas Edison sells tickets.
Our future isn't going to be paved with bricks but with copper. Automation, transportation, communication. And the man that controls that current, controls that future.
You are the smartest man I know. Beyond building miracles out of thin air, I was most impressed by your principles! You didn't invent the incandescents. People just think you did.
The value of something isn't what someone's willing to pay, but the value of something is what it contributes.

Jul 11, 2020

I have books so full of ideas. It would take me more than 12 lifetimes to execute them. So let the man have his fair and waterfall.
-Well, for what's it's worth, I'd much rather have worked for you than Westinghouse any day.
Why is that?
-Well, I wouldn't have had as much fun, would I?
Don't you think a fence is a unique creation? Your neighbor puts one up, and suddenly one becomes two. You also have a fence. There's only one problem. You see, one person on one side of the fence designed it, one person on one side built it, and one person paid for it, and yet the other person receives a fine, free fence.
-I didn't take your ideas.
I'm working on something now, something so new that... people will forget that my name was ever associated with electricity.
-I wonder if you know what it is yet.
You know, I think the solution is... to divide the cost of the fence.
-Or you cannot build a fence at all. Your garden would be twice as big. Wouldn't it, Tom?

Jul 11, 2020

Ending on-screen text:

Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse made a powerhouse out of Niagara Falls, paving the way for electricity distribution on an unprecedented scale.
Unable to profit consistently from his brilliance, Tesla died in debt, alone in room 3327 of the New York Hotel.
In 1911, The American Institute of Electrical Engineers awarded George Westinghouse its highest honor: the Edison Medal.
Before he died, Westinghouse burned all his personal papers, wishing to be remembered solely through his deeds.
After xxyyzz…, Thomas Edison was awarded patents for the Kinetograph and the Kintoscope, inventing a new industry: motion pictures.
Upon his death, the country dimmed its lights for one minute in his honor.


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