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American Feud: A History of Conservatives and Liberals

Richard Hall  |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Directors: Richard Hall
  • Producers: Richard Hall and Simone Fary
  • Format: NTSC
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Littlebig Media
  • DVD Release Date: July 24, 2008
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001D787VI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #266,818 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

An entire political science course in 90 minutes, AMERICAN FEUD is the first historical documentary to trace the history of Liberalism and Conservatism in the United States.

Designed to appeal to a general audience as well as students and political activists, AMERICAN FEUD explores the back story of a political system seemingly in crisis.

"I began watching this with trepidation and ending in jubilation. This wonderful talkumentary is a scrupulously non-partisan, yet tough-minded celebration of democracy and a delightfully fiendish counterattack on the cant delivered from sides of the political spectrum. What's most striking about the film is how the better souls on both the left and right emerge as kindred spirits. Frequently hilarious, always honest, and very highly recommended!"

Ralph Peters, columnist and author of Looking For Trouble,
Adventures in a Broken World

Interviews with a diverse cast of characters give a nuanced picture of how two political philosophies have changed over time and suggest that mindlessly clinging to outdated ideas prevents us from having good government now and in the future.

Participants include:
* Kevin Phillips (former Republican strategist & author)
* Noam Chomsky
* G. Gordon Liddy
* Thomas Frank (What's the Matter With Kansas?)
* Lee Edwards (Heritage foundation scholar of Conservatism)
* Howard Zinn (A People's History of the U.S.)
* Mona Charen (Useful Idiots...)
* Michael Barone (Co-author, The Almanac of American Politics)
* David Boaz (Libertarian leader)
* Michael Kazin (historian)
* Donna Brazile, (CNN commentator)
* Adrian Wooldridge (Co-author, The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America)
* David Stoesz (Social Policy Scholar)

"This is a feud you want to get in the middle of...an accessible, wide-ranging review of how and why we came to use the labels "Liberal" and "Conservative" -- and what Americans can do to get beyond them."
-- Eric Liu, co-author of The True Patriot

Here's what you get in the DVD:
The 90 minute feature, which uses expert and man-on-the-street interviews, archival film, photographs, electoral maps, quotes, colorful graphics and music, and a little donkey and elephant to tell the history of Liberalism and Conservatism from the 1890's to the present.

60 minutes of DVD EXTRAS:
* 15 extra minutes of the Noam Chomsky interview
* Extra scenes including "Breaking the Stalemate" - an idea for fixing gridlock
* Producer/Director commentary track
* "Deleted Nuggets" 15 minutes of great interview clips from the cutting room floor
* Suggested reading list
* Behind the scenes time lapse wide shots of interviews (set-up and breakdown too)
* A secret hidden menu ("Easter Egg")

This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A College Professor, PA August 29, 2008
By Mike
In the back and forth common to cable TV punditry, we tend to forget the serious complexities of American politics. Fary and Hall's American Feud revisits what is a deep history of American political ideology.

The book is obviously well timed for the election year cycle. But what appeals most is its refusal to reduce the discourse to focus group banalities that overwhelm reasonable discussion much less accurate definitions of the way American voters think and act.

The spectrum of writers, historians, and pundits featured in American Feud is impressive. From Thomas Frank to G. Gordon Liddy, the filmmakers have solicited opinions from the very people who shape mainstream thought.

Personally, I also liked the light-hearted format used throughout the film. It is an added benefit to have a documentary filmmaker who does not take himself too seriously.

As a professor of history with fifteen years in college classrooms, I would highly recommend the film.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars rave review August 15, 2008
The thoughtful and articulate group Hall & Fary have assembled says a lot worth hearing. Noam Chomsky alone is worth the price of admission. The content may be weighty, but the presentation never is. "American Feud" moves right along, and what's more it's fun, thanks to the onscreen antics of a miniature donkey and elephant plus the producers' penchant for interrupting interviews with rapid-fire definitions and illustrations that clarify and provide historical context. If you want to go into this fall's election (or any election) as an informed voter, "American Feud" is "must" viewing.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding American Ideologies August 13, 2008
Highly informative and entertaining, the DVD AMERICAN FEUD is a must for any citizen who wants to learn more and think about American ideologies today: Where do we belong and why? What does it mean to be a Republican, a Conservative, a Democrat...? Hall and Fary created an efficient, artistic and thorough documentary that will give you a sober and comprehensive picture of our contemporary American political scene in 90 minutes. Never boring, organized around archives and a great variety of interviews, AMERICAN FEUD has to be shared with your family, friends and communities.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Educational and Entertaining August 27, 2008
American Feud investigates the history of Liberalism and Conservativism in United States. By combining a mixture of man-on-the-street interviews, in-depth interviews with experts, and light-hearted graphics, the film makers have created a documentary that successfully speaks to everyone.

Carefully balanced and unbiased, this film moves rapidly thru history and into the modern day, providing us with an easily digestible history lesson. No fan of politics myself, I found myself quickly engaged with the film, eased into the concepts and characters, and enlightened on the topic in a way I would not have expected.

A timely film coming out at the perfect time of year, American Feud is a must see for the season.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars American Feud all the way! August 6, 2008
Need to catch up on the history of partisanship in America? Tired of how liberalism and conservatism are overused labels that have lost their meaning? This movie is a concise but thorough review of how we came to the current idea of liberalism and conservatism and what they mean to today's society. This movie seeks to move beyond the idea that American is a nation where everyone can simply be labeled as "red state" or "blue state" and investigates if we really are as partisan as commonly portrayed in the media. There are interviews with liberal and conservative icons such as Noam Chomsky and G. Gordon Liddy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for discussion groups August 24, 2008
I have shown the documentary "American Feud - A History of Conservatives and Liberals" at our monthly Film Club. We are a group of people who have been meeting regularly to view and discuss films and documentaries relevant to the issues our society faces.

"American Feud" occasioned the most lively and interesting discussion we ever had.

I highly recommend this informative and entertaining film to civic minded groups and for family and friends gatherings. Viewing it together will lead to an interesting conversation on the principles and values upon which the country has been established and the present state of national politics.

This film, while showing our differences, encourages us to go beyond our divisions and to find a common ground for the future.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, In-Depth Look at Two Historical Movements September 15, 2008
This documentary is a fascinating exploration of the liberal and conservative movements in U.S. history through in-depth interviews, archival footage, and engaging graphics. The interviews with well-known intellectuals and commentators from both movements are fair and substantial; the filmmakers are equally comfortable engaging with G. Gordon Liddy and Howard Zinn. (In other words, you can like this film whether you love or hate the work of Michael Moore!) Historical footage is skillfully used, both to illustrate points and to entertain. And the filmmakers effectively debunk the mainstream media's false "red state/blue state" dichotomy with a more nuanced (and realistic) portrayal of how different states and counties actually voted in 20th and 21st century presidential elections.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent, but it has serious shortcomings April 14, 2009
Verified Purchase
This is not an easy review to write, because I have really mixed feelings about this documentary. On the positive side, I enjoyed watching it; and it addresses a subject that really needs to be addressed: the meaning and significance of the labels "liberal" and "conservative" in modern American politics. To the best of my knowledge, no other documentary film adequately explores this issue. This film provides some very useful information; and it tries to be fairly evenhanded in its treatment of this controversial topic. This film would probably be suitable for use in high school civics classes, or perhaps even in freshman-level college courses in American Government. However, it is far too superficial for use in upper-level college courses.

There are some significant negatives to this documentary. First, the treatment is too subjective: Basically, prominent "liberals" and "conservatives" are interviewed about their understanding of what these terms signify. There is no real attempt to come up with a genuinely objective definition of "liberalism" or "conservatism" (if such a thing is even possible). This documentary tells us how (some) liberals view conservatives and how (some) conservatives view liberals, and how (some) liberals and conservatives view themselves; but it doesn't tell us what "liberalism" and "conservatism" really mean. Nor does it explore the many varieties of liberalism and conservatism; or any political viewpoint other than liberalism and conservatism. And it doesn't even attempt to address the highly controversial question of WHY some people become "liberals" while others become "conservatives". The second significant negative is that, although the film tries to be evenhanded, there is a noticeable imbalance between left and right in the interviews.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars lukewarm
I was expecting this to be much more informative. It was done in a light-hearted cartoon way which is okay. Read more
Published 20 months ago by LettermanLady
1.0 out of 5 stars Annoying
I was hoping for more of a history lesson and background about the how's and why's. It did go through the years and talk about the different presidents and candidates, but there... Read more
Published on January 22, 2012 by Ms. Frizzle
5.0 out of 5 stars Much more fun than learning about political history from a textbook
I know of many professors and librarians who have ordered this title, and I myself (a filmmaker and university lecturer) learned a great deal about the history of conservatives and... Read more
Published on March 15, 2010 by Filmmaker and University Lecturer
5.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Film for 2010
The rapid ascendancy and equally rapid decline of Obama and the Democrats raises a critical question for 2010: is there such a thing as conservative and liberal any more? Read more
Published on January 18, 2010 by Dean Hamer
5.0 out of 5 stars Demystifying terms"liberal" and "conservative"
It is a treat to see balanced and thoughtful documentary. American Feud is comprehensive and informative film that explains elusive meaning of what is liberal and conservative in... Read more
Published on December 22, 2009 by Leon Gerskovic
5.0 out of 5 stars American Feud
The filmmakers use their skill and humor to create an informative and entertaining documentary that makes a complex subject intellectually accessible. Read more
Published on December 15, 2009 by William Heffley
5.0 out of 5 stars short course in the evolution of the conservative-liberal battle
American Feud provides a highly informative and slyly entertaining tour of the great debate between conservatives and liberals in U.S. politics. Read more
Published on December 13, 2009 by Fog Cutter
3.0 out of 5 stars Political learning tool
I bought this as a tool for freshmen College students and while nothing will hold their attention for the full class, this does break things down.
Published on January 12, 2009 by Stephen J. Crescenzi
5.0 out of 5 stars Required Viewing for Responsible Voters
This is a well-researched but very down-to-earth documentary that should be informative and enjoyable for people across the political spectrum. Read more
Published on December 17, 2008 by Amazon Customer
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