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74 of 74 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Kennedy Years, Warts and All
This 1983 NBC mini-series may well be the best of its kind and remains probably the definitive Kennedy docu-drama. The film is confined to the brief years of the presidential administration, and is refreshingly honest in retelling the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the presidential philandering and, of course, the drama of that fateful final day. Martin Sheen is magnificent, as...
Published on November 29, 2002 by Christopher M. MacNeil

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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The accents go wrong here and there
Being from Massachusetts, I can say that the attempted Kennedy accents in this 1983 miniseries are occassionally almost accurate, never entirely perfect, and sometimes just plain awful. Still, the writing and acting here are pretty good for a TV movie of this vintage. Some parts go on way too long, such as the Bay of Pig and civil rights segments, and J. Edgar Hoover is...
Published on October 25, 2009 by Bradley F. Smith


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74 of 74 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Kennedy Years, Warts and All, November 29, 2002
This 1983 NBC mini-series may well be the best of its kind and remains probably the definitive Kennedy docu-drama. The film is confined to the brief years of the presidential administration, and is refreshingly honest in retelling the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the presidential philandering and, of course, the drama of that fateful final day. Martin Sheen is magnificent, as usual, in the title role, and he plays his presidential role with a believeable human quality that the real man thought of his constituency as the disenfranchised. As the first lady, Blair Brown's portrait of Jacqueline Kennedy is riveting and haunting as impressed throughout with her voiced-over prophecy of her "appointment with death." Beyond the two leads, a stellar supporting cast is headed by the late E.G. Marshall as the Kennedy patriarch, Joe Sr., John Shea as RFK and the late Vincent Gardenia in a sinister turn as FBI head J. Edgar Hoover. But this film belongs to Sheen and Brown, and together they ignite a sense of glamour and vitality that defined the real couple. Brown, especially, however, is mesmerizing, and her accomplishment here is a must-see. There are apparently two versions on the market, the original and an edited time-condensed version. Stay away from the shorter one. The editing is so bad that continunity is sacrificed, and all we get is a jumbled mess. The original is well worth the five or so hours to watch it, and its an impassioned account of the successes and shortcomings of the Camelot administration.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF TV'S BEST MINI-SERIES, May 20, 2004
This review is from: Kennedy (DVD)
Having already mastered RFK in 1975's THE MISSLES OF OCTOBER, it was only logical that Martin Sheen step up to the role he was seemingly born to play in what has proved to be one of the best mini-series ever produced. KENNEDY is a believable docu-drama that stays true to the 1000 day historical record. What's very commendable is Jim Goddard staying away in mass from the soap opera element of JFK's now much publicized adultery and the blind eye turned (to it) by his wife, staff and family. Vincent Gardinia offers memory burn as J. Edgar Hoover, just as Sheen does with JFK. The final ride through Dealy Plaza is horrific.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best Kennedy impersonation ever, October 26, 2002
This review is from: Kennedy (DVD)
Martin Sheen plays an excellent John Kennedy in the 1983 mini-series, Kennedy. he's got the voice of John Kennedy down almost to perfection.
the DVD version is great. you get additional footage such as JFK's Inaugural Address, One Day in Berlin, One Week in October, and The Last Two Days.
throughout the mini-series you see the tension between Hoover and both Jack and Bobby, you go along on the campaign trail with JFK, right up until the shots are fired in Dallas.
good mini-series.
i surley enjoyed watching all of it.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The accents go wrong here and there, October 25, 2009
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This review is from: Kennedy: The Complete Series (DVD)
Being from Massachusetts, I can say that the attempted Kennedy accents in this 1983 miniseries are occassionally almost accurate, never entirely perfect, and sometimes just plain awful. Still, the writing and acting here are pretty good for a TV movie of this vintage. Some parts go on way too long, such as the Bay of Pig and civil rights segments, and J. Edgar Hoover is creepy sometimes, but mostly just over the top. Resemblances are uncanny, though, to the real Hoover and Jackie Kennedy. Martin Sheen as JFK is close, but no cigar. EG Marshall as old man Kennedy does a great job. This is certainly no substitute for history, but as a TV entertainment, it remains impressive. The cutting is pretty contemporary for something of this vintage. This, overall, holds up pretty well.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 2-Disc Set .... Many Excellent Bonus Features, November 14, 2001
By 
David Von Pein (Mooresville, Indiana; USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Kennedy (DVD)
This 2-Disc DVD set is outstanding. I recall seeing this mini-series when it originally aired in November 1983, exactly 20 years after JFK's tragic assassination. It's now great to have it available on DVD.

All the major elements that made up the presidency of John F. Kennedy are explored very nicely during this five-hour program, including the Bay Of Pigs invasion of April 1961 and the ultra-frightening Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962.

"Kennedy" star Martin Sheen, who portrays President Kennedy here, is certainly no stranger to playing Kennedys. Prior to this 1983 TV mini-series, Martin was cast as Attorney General Robert Kennedy in the 1974 telefilm, "The Missiles Of October" (opposite William Devane's portrayal of JFK).

In another "Kennedy connection", Sheen played Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach in the 2003 film, "The Commission", which explores The Warren Commission's examination into President Kennedy's 1963 assassination.

Mr. Sheen is probably now best-known for playing fictional "President Bartlet" on the NBC-TV drama, "The West Wing".

A major reason I purchased this DVD product was for the extra features included on Disc 2. Here, we get to see the real JFK in action, in a series of documentaries and historic film footage. These extras total 75 minutes, making this 2-Disc package a completely absorbing and satisfying experience for anyone who wants to look back into history at one of the most popular men ever to occupy The White House.

The four bonus programs on the second disc of this set are:

>> JFK's Inaugural Address to the nation (January 1961).

>> "One Week In October" -- A half-hour film produced in 1964 by the Department Of Defense about the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Lots of archival film footage detailing the events surrounding the Missile Crisis is included here. It's a good, concise overview of those terrifying days in October '62.

>> "One Day In Berlin" -- Excerpts of the speech JFK made at the Berlin Wall.

>> "The Last Two Days" -- A 19-minute color film chronicling the last two days of President Kennedy's life in November of 1963.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent account of one of our greatest presidents, October 14, 2001
By 
Thomas Rodriguez (Grand Junction, CO USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Kennedy (DVD)
This movie, first shown on NBC in Nov. '83 to coincide with the anniversary of of JFK's death, is a great tribute to the man, his times and his legacy. Brilliantly portrayed by Martin Sheen, JFK comes to life on the small screen, and Blair Brown gives a great performance as First Lady Jackie. This DVD is the COMPLETE version of the 3 part miniseries that was originally aired on tv.
All in all, GREAT release for the DVD format. From Election Night to Assassination, the film tells the whole story of Kennedy's presidency. Not to be missed!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good Mini Series, April 25, 2008
By 
Mr. R. S. Maguire (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Kennedy (DVD)
JFK was an enigma of the 20th Century. This series showcases his life from his entrance into the White House, through to his assasination in Dallas on 22nd November 1963. It's goood to see his infedelity was not glossed over. Martin Sheen and Blair Brown are spot on perfect as Jack and Jackie, interdispersed with perfect renactments of archival footage. He had a lot happen in less than 4 years as president, The Bay of Pigs, The civil rights movement, the birth and death of his two sons. Martin Sheen of course went on to portray another president in the West Wing. The name Kennedy will always be senonomous with tradgedy. If you are facinated by the Kennedy's and that era in America, this series is a must. It's frank, and as factual and real as it can be. A great forerunner to Oliver Stone's JFK
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful preformance by Martin Sheen as JFK, August 6, 2012
This review is from: Kennedy: The Complete Series (DVD)
This 1983 7 part mini series is a take on the Kennedy adminstration that is somewhat lost to the modern era; despite Martin Sheen's amazing career (which continues into current productions), this made for TV portrait of America's most controversial president is rather obscure. It certainly has not been played on TV recently and I only came across it at the local library. I did not have the highest expectations for it, yet I was quite surprised not only by the ability to capture the spirit of an enigmatic statesman, but also the excellent summarization of a tumultuous era in American history.

Even though JFK is one of the most studied presidents of all time, there has not been all that many depictions of him on screen. Just recently, Greg Kinnear attempted the role on the much maligned mini series which the Kennedy family (and their powerful contacts) ran off of the History channel, relagating it to Reelz, only known to me because it happens to be two channels up from AMC on Fios. I can't say that I watched much of the recent edition (seeing a crewcut Berry Pepper as Bobby Kennedy kind of lost me), but I would find it hard to top this production made in 1983, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the assassination.

Sheen is the obvious element to this story that makes it all work. As the lead in any presidential biopic, the resemblance (both physically and verbally) must be somewhat accurate or the story really suffers as a result. Sheen has perhaps the best Kennedy impersonation of any producion out there; I think he really had a strong sense of what JFK was all about, not just the strengths, but his weaknesses as well. Though this series is definately gauged for pro Kennedy viewers, as it focuses on the many hardships Jack endured and triumphed over, (Sheen shows the calm and flippant charm Jack displayed in the face of danger) there are also insinuations about the secrets of Kennedy or as Seymour Hirsch put it, the "dark side of Camelot."

The main vehicle for the unveiling of scandalous personal behavior (though the writer gives Jack the benefit of the doubt and minimizes its effect) is done through Vincent Gardenia as FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Gardenia is by far the best supporting actor (along with John Shea as Attorney General Bobby Kennedy), despite the fact that there are relatively few scenes where Sheen and Gardenia are on screen together. Gardenia's first scene, which opens the second episode is one of the strongest points made in this mini series about the duality of the Kennedy's. The first episode shows the lighter side and charisma that appeared on the surface to the American public. Gardenia opens the next episode in a shadowy FBI conference room with a monologue on the various scandals of both Jack and his father, most having to do with sex. This is an obvious implication about the web of secrecy and back biting that was prevalent after the Kennedy brothers created a whole host of possible foes that would like to see them out of office, among them the Mafia, Communists the world around, the KKK and the CIA, particularly the anti Castro wing and even J. Edgar Hoover himself (who's clash with the upstart Bobby is very well documented).

This is not what the film is about, as it is a far cry from Oliver Stone's 1991 conspiracy flick "JFK". This movie is based on the accomplishments of Jack and Bobby Kennedy working together as President and Attorney General, such as the desegragation of the American south and dealing with the fallout from the Bay of Pigs fiasco before the ultimate triumph of the Cuban Missle Crisis, as Jack and Bobby found a third way to deal with the Russians; they did not need to attack or retreat, rather they tactfully negotiated proving to be as flexible on a path to peace as they were resolved to stand up to Communist aggression. This series is by no means a definitive statment about Jack that includes the entirety of his presidency. Although there is a decent enough supporting cast, it is Sheen who really carries this piece and rises it above a mere TV political soap opera. He is clearly a student of the Kennedy's and his preformance does a great service to the memory of a tragic president, one who was willing to walk the walk of a man who took change upon himself, and paid a dear price for his controversial decisions.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Biography and Insight into the man, May 5, 2009
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This review is from: Kennedy: The Complete Series (DVD)
I enjoyed this very much. I saw it when it first aired, and liked it better this time than last! Martin Sheen was fantastic, and Blair Brown WAS Jackie! There was ONE actor that I recognized, yet couldn't put my finger on who he was. He played Robert McNamara. It was David Schramm! He played Roy Biggins on "Wings" He was at least 100 pounds lighter, and had no mustache. He was a VERY believable McNamara! It was worth the purchase price just to see him!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good Mini-Series, February 3, 2009
This review is from: Kennedy (DVD)
One of the best mini-series' ever presented on T.V. I compare this movie to Roots, as far as casting and direction. Martin Sheen and John Shea are great as the two major characters, and Bonnie Blair plays Jackie Kennedy as I imagined her, nice but stuffy. I thought Vincent Gardenia's potrayal of J. Edgar Hoover, however was a little overboard. I realize he was stern, but I actually believe he was a weak person, who groveled on his knees to President Nixon, to keep his job! The other members of the supporting cast were great, E.G. Marshall, Geraldine Fitzgerald, etc. A first class production!
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Kennedy: The Complete Series by Jim Goddard (DVD - 2009)
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