The Empire State Story

Duration: 49 minutes

First transmitted in 2001, this programme chronicles the construction of the Empire State Building in New York, which was the world's tallest skyscraper when opened in 1931. The programme investigates the building's history through interviews with the people who contributed to the construction of this iconic building.

  • All American Collection

    All American Collection

    This programme is part of BBC Four’s All American - a collection of BBC programmes from the archives about US culture. Available online to watch in full.

    Go to the BBC Four All American Collection
  • More about this programme

    Packed with personal anecdotes and great storytelling, this programme creates a compelling blend of archive and oral history. The Empire State Building took one year and 45 days to build and was completed not only on time, but also under budget. The anticipated cost had been 43 million dollars, but the actual cost was just a little over half that. Could this happen today? Certainly not, according to the contributors whose testimony brings this story about New York's number one tourist attraction vividly to life.

    The programme also covers the tragic events of July 1945 when a United States B25 bomber smashed into the 79th floor of the building. That story is told largely through the testimony of a survivor, the pilot's widow, and a reporter who was sent to the scene.

  • About BBC Four Collection programmes

    Programmes are selected, in part, for their historical context and reflect the broadcast standards and attitudes of their time, which may not accord to some current BBC editorial guidelines. We aim to select programmes which can be shown in their entirety but in some cases edits are required. In these cases, edits are kept to a minimum and are made only for technical reasons.


Samuel West
Jonathan Gili
Jonathan Gili
Jonathan Gili
Series Editor
Laurence Rees


Featured in...

  • All American

    A collection of classic BBC programmes about US culture. Available to watch online.

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