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John F Kennedy - Years of Lightning, Day of Drums on DVD (1963)

 DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Region: All Regions
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00166DGUS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #298,611 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

"Six Faces of the New Frontier", the Peace Corps, the Alliance for Progress, Civil Rights, Space Exploration, Disarmament, the Cuban Missile Crisis and More... This documentary explores the 1000 days of John F Kennedy's presidency from his inauguration in 1961 to his assasination on November 22, 1963. It emphasizes Kennedy's hopes during his presidency and details the "Six Faces of the New Frontier", the Peach Corps, the Alliance for Progress, Civil Rights, Space Exploration, Disarmament, the pursuit of peace, the Cuban crisis, the Berlin crisis, his journey to Costa Rica, his speech at the Berlin Wall and his visit to the Kennedy ancestral home in Ireland. The film, produced by the United States Information Agency, was narrated by Gregory Peck and originally not intneded for general viewing but was so well received that they later did a public release of the production. This film has a runtime of 88 minutes

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST SEE FOR ALL HISTORIANS! May 27, 2008
December 1964 - The Agency's first feature-length documentary Years of Lightning, Day of Drums is distributed in 117 countries. Public Law 89-274 allowed the film to be shown in the United States. The film won an Academy Award as Best Documentary. In this poetic propaganda film by the USIA made for foreign audiences, Kennedy is the American hero who had "years of lightning" before his life was ended and remembered in a "day of drums" funeral. The film is structured around the "six faces" of the New Frontier: the Peace Corps, conquest of space, Alliance for Progress, civil rights, freedom, peace. In 1961 "upon the floating globe called the world there were three billion people and most of them were not happy or free or at peace." There were loud and visible problems of " fires burning in the Congo" and a "foreign-dictated government in Cuba" and "starvation for one-third of the world." John Kennedy is portrayed as one of the uncommon men in the history of the world who thought not of problems but of "the invisible and silent" solutions. Featured in this film are his speech at White House to the first Peace Corps volunteers, his journey to Costa Rica -- "viva Costa Rica, viva Costa Rica, mucha gracias" -- the Freedom Riders mass meeting Aug. 28 in Washington DC, the Alan Shephard award ceremony, the Berlin crisis --"if war begins, it begins in Moscow, not Berlin" -- his speech at the Berlin Wall --"Let them come to Berlin" -- and his trip to Ireland. Interspersed between each of these segments are scenes from the 1963 funeral. "History will pick up its cold pen and book, and write in chronological order the events of the day with the date and time and the city. But history will be wrong, for there wasn't one date, or time, or city." His life and death symbolized the "invisible and silent" hopes and dreams of the world.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars years of lightning, day of drums November 27, 2009
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I've seen this documentary many times through the years and have always wanted to add it to my dvd collection. While browsing through the movie titles at Amazon.com, I searched for this rare title and was delighted to find it. "Years of Lightning, Day of Drums," produced by the United States Information Agency and made available through the Historical Archives, is a deeply moving tribute to John F. Kennedy. This beautifully produced film touches on Kennedy's accomplishments during his thousand days in office as our thirty-fifth president, and captures the depth of the grief the world experienced when he left us. Bruce Herschensohn's musical score and Gregory Peck's narration added the perfect touches to this finely-crafted documentary. I would highly recommend this film to everyone who appreciates the contribution JFK made to our nation's history.

Randall L. Turner
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars DVD review March 25, 2011
By Mark
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I was very glad to find the program "John F. Kennedy-Years of Lightning, Day of Drums" on DVD. My original VHS copy was in danger of breaking and I wanted the DVD to become a lasting medium to use well into the future. Unfortunately, the video quality of the DVD is not good. The color is faded and the brightness is very poor...in fact, the DVD seems more like a black and white program than a full-color one. The details are often lost in the darkness of the DVD. The audio is fine, and the program will serve its purpose...but I was very disappointed in the poor video quality.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Living history November 24, 2012
By bobc
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I worked on Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda, MD. outside DC at this time. I was in many of the places shown. I stood with the people. I viewed the casket in the Rotunda.

The DVD catalogs JFKs life and accomplishments. It puts historical events in chronological order. I lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis, but did not know what else was happening elsewhere in the world at the same time.

Watching the funeral brought back memories that I had forgotten. Watching it put me there again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vey nice May 8, 2013
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This is from the original broadcast so do not expect today's video quality. In the version it is in gives you the feel for what it was like back then when these events were first seen
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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This documentary use to air each year on broadcast TV around the time of JFK's death. It's an emotional record of JFK's years in office with rare archival footage including his most famous speeches.

The only downside is that the transfer quality is poor from the original to this copy. It almost looks like it was transferred from a videotape.

Either way, it is worth buying since the price is reasonable and it is unavailable in any other format.
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