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By the People: The Election of Barack Obama


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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Millions saw history made as Barack Obama took the podium on election night. But few witnessed his unguarded moments in the hours and days before he greeted the nation … until now. Meet the man who would be president and the dedicated campaign workers who helped get him there in this unprecedented documentary trailing their history-making odyssey to the White House. Witness never before seen footage of Obama behind the scenes, as well as interviews and candid moments with family, senior campaign staff, volunteers, reporters, supporters and even opponents.

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Whatever one thinks of his performance as President, there can be no doubt that the two campaigns and election that put Barack Obama in the White House, all chronicled in By the People: The Election of Barack Obama, were extraordinary events in American history. Directors Amy Rice and Alicia Sams appear to be Obama fans, but their documentary is not a liberal tract. They don't devote a lot of time to policy; nor do we see more than brief excerpts of the public speeches delivered by Obama and his rivals for the Democratic candidacy, including Senator Hillary Clinton, or Senator John McCain, his opponent in the general election. The emphasis is much more on the day-to-day work that went on behind the scenes, whether by top campaign officials (like chief strategist David Axelrod and campaign manager David Plouffe) or by the countless others who devoted themselves to the undertaking (including a 9-year-old boy in Iowa who tries futilely to explain to one voter just who Barack Obama is), from before the official announcement of Obama's candidacy in February '07 to election day on November 4, '08. These were people who were galvanized into action by the candidate's soaring oratory and magnetic appeal (hindsight also affords us the interesting opportunity to witness the comments of those who were so sure that he didn't stand a chance). They experience plenty of triumphs along the way (Obama's win at the Iowa caucuses, his victories in numerous states on "Super Tuesday," his acceptance of the Democratic nomination in Denver) and endure a few controversies as well (notably Obama's associations with former terrorist Bill Ayers and the vitriolic Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the latter of which stoked the inevitable fires of racism). Yet what comes through most of all is their incredible emotional commitment; although we obviously know the outcome already, it's impossible not to be moved by their reactions when they realize their efforts have finally paid off. Bonus material includes directors' commentary, bonus scenes, and a making-of featurette. --Sam Graham


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Special Features

Directors' Commentary
The Making of "By The People: The Election of Barack Obama"
10 Bonus Scenes
Includes DVD-ROM Link to Exclusive Collectible Print of President Obama's Inaugural Speech*

Product Details

  • Actors: Barack Obama, Michelle Obama
  • Directors: Alicia Sams, Amy Rice
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 12, 2010
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002UNXS6S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,949 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "By the People: The Election of Barack Obama" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Great film for Obama supporters.
Marisa
My family enjoyed being able to see a president behind the scenes doing real life.
Doll
Keep some tissues handy, some scenes made me cry.
shibha

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 48 people found the following review helpful By shibha on November 6, 2009
Format: DVD
Let me start by saying I wasn't a die-hard Obama supporter, but a little star-struck after he got elected.

With that, this is a fascinating journey of the history in making. I was surprised there is not much pre-planned interviews. It's brilliant how the actual footage speaks for itself. About half-way in the doc, surprised Obama says to the camera "You guys are still here", that shows how this was filmed. The next sentence by Gibbs was -- "they know their movie is going to get better" -- it did get better.

Keep some tissues handy, some scenes made me cry. The 9 year boy on the phone is the most hillarious thing I have seen in a long time, and he almost slams the phone but not quite, pulls the back phone back and says "Have a good day", it is funny.

In the very beginning , Obama says "I love elections, they are so much fun". That for some reason is stuck in memory and it simply describes the whole journey in my opinion.

I can't believe his speech-writer is so young. Gibbs's son scenes are adorable too. Obama girls and the family scenes make everything look so human. Grandma's house and childhood pictures, they show his middle-class back-ground. A scene where he is sleepy,yawning, sitting on a side-walk and then on the cue runs to the stage, it's fascinating. There are so many beautiful moments like that.

There are no inside scoops/gossips/misshaps/opinions/political issues/surprises, and I think it's good thing too. No contrversy, just plain facts some day you would want to see on History channel. Even then it held my interest like a well-made thriller.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David R. Tolson on March 22, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Although I disagree with many of President Obama's policies, this documentary demonstrates that he ran a far superior campaign than his opponent. As I rate this DVD, I must remember that I am rating his campaign and not his presidency; therefore, it was a easy call to give it 4 stars out of 5.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kelsey on June 7, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
For anyone who voted for Obama in 2008 and/or 2012 should get this DVD. You get to view history and relive the moment when he was elected as President of the United States. I cry every time that part comes on.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By parkerandsophiesfriend on May 30, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This was truly fantastic way to see how the Obama campaign empowered people to recognized a "grass root movement" is the only way to effect real change in America!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nene on July 17, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
i love this president and want to see and read everything about him, no hate staff. i l;pve it . i love it
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15 of 22 people found the following review helpful By J. Fahey on November 4, 2009
Format: DVD
Watching this film one year to the day after the 2008 election, it seemed a bit soon to spend two hours revisiting a campaign that remains so fresh in the mind, but it's still a compelling document that chronicles Obama's rise from semi-obscurity on election night 2006 (when the film begins) to the moment he's officially elected President. The filmmakers were granted incredible access and capture some nice candid moments with the Obama family and the campaign staff, but as the film progresses, there's a noticeable lack of footage showing the day-to-day strategizing that would make this a truly fascinating campaign document; this is not 'The War Room'. Where the film is most effective is in showing the ground game, as staffers organize on the local and statewide level. We follow one young staffer as he bounces from Iowa to several other states, and it's his passion and emotion, culminating in a tearful call to his mother on election night, that provides much of the film's heart. Despite not digging quite as deep as I would have liked, this is a skillfully made and engaging documentary.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Frederick on May 11, 2012
Format: DVD
WARNING: Highly biased review. I'm a volunteer for Obama 2012.

Back-stage access, some intimate views of the campaign process and something I had not seen before: inside the Iowa caucus rooms. I hadn't really thought about it before, but the caucus is the exact opposite of the secret ballot. In Iowa, you literally stand up to be counted.

Get a good taste of the "Yes We Can" enthusiasm from 2008, because we've got to do it all again in 2012. Yes, we can and we must.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Marisa on January 18, 2010
Format: DVD
This documentary starts from the very beginning of Obama campaign. About 50% of the movie is focused on the primary. Shows just a fraction of the hard work that Obama campaign staffers put into the campaign. The film makers are behind the scenes throughout the campaign. Great film for Obama supporters.
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