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One Bright Shining Moment: The Forgotten Summer of George McGovern
One Bright Shining Moment The Forgotten Summer of George McGovern
Actors: Gloria Steinem, Dick Gregory, Harvey Kornberg, Gary Hart (IV), Jim Bouton
Director: Stephen Vittoria
Genres: Documentary
NR     2006     2hr 5min

{Winner, Best Documentary Feature, 2005 Sarasota Film Festival} — When presidential candidate George McGovern took on incumbent Richard Nixon in 1972, no one really expected him to win and he didn't. But in his bold, grassr...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Gloria Steinem, Dick Gregory, Harvey Kornberg, Gary Hart (IV), Jim Bouton
Director: Stephen Vittoria
Genres: Documentary
Sub-Genres: Biography, Politics
Studio: First Run Features
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 04/18/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2005
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 2hr 5min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A valentine to what might have been...
Alwood | Los Angeles, California USA | 03/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Stephen Vittoria performs a public service with this dynamite doc on George McGovern, a man who embodies what all Americans who aspire to public service should be. McGovern's inherent decency cost him one of the nation's most crucial Presidential elections in 1972, running against the original king of dirty tricks, Richard Milhouse Nixon. Although McGovern's platform was somewhat vindicated when Nixon's White House was outed by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein as the most corrupt administration in American history (with Tricky Dick's resignation soon following), the tragedy of his loss, and his subsequent fade into the background of American history still resonates.

Hopefully our best and brightest young people will see this film and will be inspired by Sen. McGovern and his message to enter public service, and contribute to making this country and this planet a better place. As of right now, we have nowhere to go but up! Kudos to you, Steve, and bravo Senator McGovern!"
A tribute to the only presidential candidate i am not ashame
Jonathan Lapin | Brooklyn, NY USA | 05/03/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"i was 18 in 1972, and the very first lever i pulled in a voting booth was for george mcgovern. i was proud then; i am proud now. this is a too-long documentary centering on the 1972 campaign of george mcgovern: the finest person ever to be nominated by a major party for the presidency. theres too much background given (i think we all know the vietnam story by now), and not enough attention paid to mcgovern himself, but this campaign will always hold a particular spot in my heart.
An interesting documentary on a unique time in modern polit
calvinnme | 10/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In 1972 Richard Nixon delivered to George McGovern the second worst electoral drubbing in history, with McGovern winning only one state (Massachusetts) and one district (Washington, D.C.). Of course, winning D.C. wasn't really a victory, since D.C. would elect a tree if it ran on the Democratic ticket, and Republicans there are considered human oddities. This film examines the phenomena that was the McGovern campaign, including the fact that many traditional Democrats were probably glad when McGovern actually lost his race.

McGovern's team won the nomination largely because this was the first Presidential election in which 18 year olds could vote, and McGovern was their man. To hear his campaign staffers tell it, before McGovern the Democratic Party was made up of a conglomeration of blue-collar union workers and Southerners left over from Roosevelt's presidency. As the party transitioned to more liberal stances, it should be no surprise that these traditional Democrats would defect, since most felt they had nothing in common with the tree-hugging hippies that made up McGovern's most fervent supporters and the new Democratic Party. McGovern never compromised his beliefs, and in the face of well-predicted electoral disaster, ran the cleanest presidential campaign in modern history against one of the 20th century's dirtiest fighters.

To give some background, in 1972 the Vietnam War appeared to have no end in sight as far as military victory was concerned, and several thousand American soldiers died in that one year alone. Nixon's claim was that withdrawing prematurely could cause upheaval in all of Southeast Asia, resulting in the entire region becoming Communist, and then those Communists going after even more territory. McGovern saw only the senseless destruction of the war, and thus vowed to stop it his first day in office. If you see parallels between the Vietnam War and our current situation in Iraq and the same resulting political polarization, you're not alone. In the end, the American people just trusted Nixon more than McGovern to protect national security, and McGovern won 38 percent of the vote to Nixon's 60 percent. I'm not sure where the other 2 percent went. Great shades of 2004.

McGovern was a good human being, and I don't think this film stresses that enough. He was dignified and spoke with clarity and intelligence. Even in this documentary he projects unbending decency without a trace of bitterness. When people wonder what would happen if a candidate spoke his or her mind and never compromised for special interest groups, they might do well to look to George McGovern as a prototype.

However, McGovern's supporters are another matter as they make numerous inflammatory remarks that sometime border on the preposterous. My favorite pronouncement came from author Gore Vidal, who was discussing with incredulity the phenomenon of anyone who makes under $25,000 a year voting Republican: "I was brought up in the ruling class. They hate the people," he says. He then goes on to describe how, if the Bush family was given sodium pentothal and asked about their feelings for America's lower class, you would hear that they think the people and elections are just something that get in the way. How he comes by this knowledge I do not know. Another gentleman postulates that George Wallace might actually have been shot by one or more of Nixon's men as a larger part of the Watergate scandal.

Besides Gore Vidal, we have Warren Beatty, Gloria Steinem, and Gary Hart opining about the campaign. Together they paint a pretty good picture of the passion and sense of urgency of the anti-war movement as it existed in the early 70's. What is missing from the film are the opinions of the silent majority that supported the war and put Nixon back in office. To understand the 1972 election in its totality, it would have been helpful to hear from someone who believed Nixon behaved legitimately as commander-in-chief, apart from his actions in the Watergate scandal. Gloria Steinem sums up the McGovern campaign best. She says that whenever former McGovern campaign staffers reunite, they look back on 1972 and the work they did with great pride. She mentions, probably accurately, that Nixon's campaign staff really can't do that.

The extras include some interesting deleted scenes that result in about an extra half hour of background on the campaign. There is also an interview with the narrator of the movie, Amy Goodman, who attempts to tie McGovern's political philosophy with the current left-wing resistance to the Bush Administration. It's a pretty good DVD about how the anti-war movement went from campus to campaign, and I recommend it."
Great Documentary
B. Allivato | Minneapolis, MN. | 08/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I watched this film with several individuals who had been a part of the McGovern Campaign. We found it to be very informative - there were points that we all said " I didn't know that" and very true to the reality of the times."