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Virtual JFK: Vietnam If Kennedy Had Lived


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Product Details

  • Actors: John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, James G. Blight
  • Directors: Koji Masutani
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: October 27, 2009
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002AS45TM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #247,716 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Virtual JFK: Vietnam If Kennedy Had Lived" on IMDb

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

If you have any political curiosity at all (or even just a jones for Kennedy lore), Virtual JFK: Vietnam If Kennedy Had Lived will prove a most enticing "what if" enterprise. What if one single piece of history hadn't happened? What if John F. Kennedy had not died by assassin's bullet on November 22, 1963, but survived to preside over the bulk of an incredibly turbulent decade? Virtual JFK does not create a new alternate-history story line, but it does lay out a series of game-changing events during the Vietnam War and then reflects back on Kennedy's actual speeches, writings, and actions to suggest ways he might have dealt with each new twist of the disastrous conflict. Thus the film examines Kennedy's responses to the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the communist incursion into Laos, and the raising of the Berlin Wall--instances in which his moderate but decisive actions forestalled U.S. military action. More famously, his approach to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 was the mark of a true chess player; we hear tapes of JFK cannily predicting that overt American military action in Cuba would give the Soviets an excuse to take West Berlin. Predictably, he was accused of being an appeaser during strategy sessions--but he won the day in history's eyes. We'll never know how Kennedy might have handled Vietnam, but these arguments (urged along by Brown University professor James G. Blight, the only talking head in the movie) make for tantalizing viewing, and director Koji Masutani has assembled a particularly impressive collection of original footage, some of which might be new even to veteran Kennedy watchers. This image of a prudent, thoughtful president practicing farsighted diplomacy was probably part of the point of this 2008 film; along with the history lesson, it wants to suggest contemporary ways of being smart on the world stage. --Robert Horton

Product Description

In the era of nuclear confrontation, John F. Kennedy attempted to prevent war six times during his short tenure as president. He didn t live to face a seventh.
VIRTUAL JFK: VIETNAM IF KENNEDY HAD LIVED takes up one of America s controversial what if scenarios, examining the question: Would the U.S. have escalated the war in Vietnam if Kennedy was not assassinated in 1963? With insight and erudition, the film traces JFK s presidency a 1,000-day term plagued with tense political stand-offs through rare and previously-unseen archival footage, offering nuanced accounts of the former president s political decisions and, by extension, his probable response to the escalating conflict in Vietnam.
Featuring unprecedented access into the leadership style of one of the nation s most important leaders, VIRTUAL JFK sheds new light on the man who helped avoid war in six crises and did not live to save America from the devastating war in Vietnam.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Misty on February 19, 2011
Format: DVD
I just saw this movie last night at the Beloit International Film Festival (BIFF) and I am still reeling. I was six months old when JFK was killed and frankly,embarrassingly,everything I've ever known about him has been related to me through others' opinions and glossy magazine articles discussing conspiracy theories, Camelot and Marilyn Monroe. I feel like I just took an incredibly interesting history course, one that everyone should attend, including most certainly, our current and any future US governments. This film should be shown to every high-schooler, and followed up again, with every college student. What an absolute eye opener.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tong Zou on February 8, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video
This is a great documentary and tells of how JFK prevented war on multiple occasions - in Cuba during Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile crisis, in Laos, in Vietnam in 1961, in Berlin, and withdrawing troops from Vietnam. Then LBJ took over and he was a different type of president. He wasn't the skeptic Kennedy was. He firmly believed that Vietnam could be won, a very costly mistake for America. If JFK had been in office, he would have most likely have negotiated or withdrawn, just like he did in hte case of Laos/Cuba.

If only presidents today were like JFK - President Bush reminds me of LBJ, he went to war in Afghanistan over an attack on the U.S, but then forayed into Iraq, which had nothing to do with the attack. JFK would never had done such a thing. The Iraq War costed billions of dollars, and thousands of American lives. We need more presidents who understand that war is unnecessary and a last resort.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peter D. Wendt on September 16, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Born in 55 I was a boy that remembered the mood of my parents and freinds during the era. The Cold War was in full bloom. we practiced drills in grade schools with sirens and getting under a desk or quickly entering a bomb shelter that contained months of provisions with the triple triangles on the barrels.

Like all US Presidents he inherited not only US political and social issues but in his case the Military leaders who directed the actions of Korea and WW2 when he assumed his duties. He was young but pivotal in his shortened tenure on the stage.

The film takes events of the day, Attempting to point out the vigorous attempts by most everyone around him to sway his view and actions. Six times he was faced with international events in three years that could have had the country at war. providing a view that as one looks at the past

Great footage of news conferences, and other live events including released presidential recordings. Good for history buffs, anyone in leadership, or just as a documentary of those times... Do not expect a treatise of social issues of the day more a examination of the Cuban missile crisis, bay of pigs, Vietnam, and a few others enjoy...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ray Gray on May 12, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
I watched the documentary using my Roku and Amazon Prime in the middle of a sleepless night thinking the film would put me into a deep slumber. I was absolutely mistaken. I found it riveting. When it was over I didn't mind at all losing the sleep.

If you ask many folks who were young in the early 60's what they remember about Kennedy's foreign policy challenges, most will mention The Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missle Crisis. Fewer folks will mention the Cold War negotiations with Russia and the circumstances with Laos, Vietnam, or the construction of the Berlin Wall. The documentary gives a very broad brush approach to all those issues, but it is one worth watching to see the public face Kennedy presented to America on each one. If you are only remotely familiar with the times, watch the documentary. The footage used is generally not seen in newsreels. It presents a more personal side of Kennedy's politics.

Two points of the film really stuck with me afterwards. The first was Kennedy saying "Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan." Kennedy had the courage to stand alone and be patient, unlike Johnson who thought with his namesake. The second was images of Kennedy alive and well in Dallas at a function and the flash on the screen of the time in minutes before his assasination. Both points gifted me with emotional anchors to the movie.

Would we have escalated involvement in Vietnam under a Kennedy administration? Who knows, but probably not. The movie makes a point of detailing the personal price Johnson paid for approving the escalation. Regardless of your politics and personal opinion of Kennedy, the movie is well worth 82 minutes of your life, even in the middle of the night.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steven E. Lake on March 28, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I gave this DVD to a friend in Atlanta who was under the impression that JFK was responsible for the tragedy that was the Vietnam war. This documentary proved him wrong. This documentary shows step, by step that Kennedy would not have gotten us involved in this terrible war if he had lived.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David S. Jenkins on November 13, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Of all the films made about President Kennedy, none has ever given me a more intimate and almost visceral feel for the great and relentless burden upon his shoulders. Nor have I ever admired him as greatly as I do after watching Virtual Kennedy, after appreciating how steadfastly he resisted the push by his military advisers, the Republican Party and the media to go to war. A position which I believe clearly resulted in his death.

Six times he resisted the drums of war, in just a thousand days. Having told the Joint Chiefs of Staff that he plainly and simply was not going to commit ground troops to Vietnam, period, this film makes the argument (along with recent books who look at the question) that it's almost inconceivable to imagine Kennedy sending in troops... it would have flown in the face of everything this man had stood for, had expressed both publicly and privately, and it would have gone against his very deep knowledge of international affairs, world history... not to mention his understanding of battle, having been there himself.

A beautifully produced film with an ocean of press conference footage seldom if ever seen, and presented in long pieces so as to appreciate the President's body language, facial expression and most of all the anguish in his eyes as he attempted to answer questions from the media without giving details that he knew he could not reveal.. No flash-pow MTV editing here - this film was made by grown-ups.

If you're looking for the usual fawning, celebrity idolatry of Camelot, this film is not for you. But for those who seriously want to understand the man and why he was taken from is, Virtual Kennedy will be an essential part of your video library.
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