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American Experience - The Kennedys (Complete Set)
American Experience - The Kennedys
Complete Set
Actors: David McCullough, David Ogden Stiers, Joe Morton, Liev Schreiber, Linda Hunt
Genres: Documentary, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
NR     2004     1hr 0min

The Kennedy family, the great American political dynasty, is examined in considerable detail in this "American Experience" documentary. Hosted by historian David McCullough, the production features a host of experts on the...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: David McCullough, David Ogden Stiers, Joe Morton, Liev Schreiber, Linda Hunt
Creators: Katy Mostoller, Michael Rossi, Rocky Collins, Tracy Heather Strain, Henry Hampton
Genres: Documentary, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Documentary, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
Studio: Pbs Paramount
Format: DVD - Black and White,Color,Full Screen,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 10/05/2004
Original Release Date: 04/18/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 04/18/2005
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 0min
Screens: Black and White,Color,Full Screen,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

An objective look at the Kennedys
Michael K. Beusch | San Mateo, California United States | 10/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Documentaries and dramatizations about the Kennedys tend to either portray the family as saints or devils. Either Jack, Bobby and Teddy are the shining knights of Camelot or they're corrupt devils who can't control their sexual urges. The American Experience documentary about the family avoids this heaven or hell approach and does a nice, balanced job of showing the history of Joseph Kennedy and his children.

On one hand, we hear revelations of Joseph Kennedy's anti-Semitism and the capitulation to Hitler that ultimately cost him his chance at the White House. We hear how precarious JFK's health actually was, his initial tepid response to the civil rights' movement and his reckless womanizing that threatened to bring Camelot crashing down. We hear about RFK's service to Joseph McCarthy, his ruthlessness and his inability to compromise. We hear about Ted Kennedy's womanizing and excessive drinking and find out just how irresponsibly he acted during the Chappaquiddick incident.

However, the film also discusses JFK's heroism during World War II, the Kennedy brothers' conversion into champions of the civil rights movement, RFK's conversion into a sincere champion of minorities and the poor, Ted Kennedy's excellent record of service in the U.S. Senate and the family's long and distinguished record of public service. Despite their flaws, when JFK and RFK are assassinated, we feel the loss and mourn what might have been had they lived.

The film has a huge wealth of archival footage and photographs as well as the testimonies of historians like Doris Kearns Goodwin and Michael Bechloss, journalists like Ben Bradlee, Kennedy family friends like Dave Powers and Chuck Spalding, Kennedy advisors like Theodore Sorenson, Richard Goodwin and Adam Walinsky and even Senator Ted Kennedy himself. It thankfully avoids the cheesy re-creations that are so prevalent in modern documentaries. PBS has established itself over the years as a producer of some of the most high quality documetaries ever made. But The Kennedys outdoes even that standard.

The truth was that the Kennedy's were tremendously flawed human beings who nevertheless spoke for those Americans who couldn't fight for themselves. If you want the true unfiltered essence of who the Kennedys were, please see this documentary."
THE documentary to watch on the Kennedys
Erin Esposito | Rochester, New York | 07/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you're wondering which documentary to watch regarding the Kennedy family - especially Jack, Bobby and Ted - then this is the one you want to watch. The production of the DVD includes a wonderful blend of a wide variety of people being interviewed along with actual footage of the Kennedys, dating to the Ambassador's time in England up to the 1980's (or thereabouts). I've seen a lot of Kennedy films and this one includes new footage that I have yet to see in any other video, which is one of the biggest reasons why I feel it is quite unique and interesting to watch. I was also especially intrigued with the narrative style and the content of the interviews.So - a Kennedy movie? Pick this one!"
Very Enjoyable American Experience
M. S. Miller | Columbus, OH | 08/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Very informative documentary regarding the Kennedy family. I was especially impressed with the early clips of Joe, Jr., Rosemary & Kathleen, who are often referred to in other programs about the Kennedys, but rarely seen. The color home movie clips of Joe. Jr. & Kathleen playing poolside struck me as both sweet and sad. Another short video clip of Joe, Jr. greeting and shaking hands with his fellow Liberator pilots seems to give a glimpse into the politician he may have become had he lived. Watching him, it is certainly clear to see who got the looks in the family. This documentary is also a wonderful trip through recent American history. Whether you love or hate the Kennedys, I think you'll find this program interesting."
Very nice series, excellent narration
Vince Palamara | South Park/Bethel Park, PA | 01/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you are a fan of the Kennedys, you will enjoy this series. The great David McCullough handles narration and, as usual, does a splendid job (What a voice! What a writer!). This PBS series is well done with a good mix of vintage footage and technical/ production effects. While there are no great revelations, this is a nice overview of the Kennedys; an all-in-one-place dvd, so to speak. Buy it! :)
Vince Palamara
P.S. I especially liked the Berlin June 1963 footage depicting agents Sam Sulliman and Jerry Blaine, both of whom I spoke to, hanging on to the rear of JFK's limo. ;-)"