Ronald Reagan: An American Journey
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I didn't vote for Reagan ( I can barely believe I voted for Carter and Mondale)...but with time and education I realize where I didn't understand Reagan at the time and my lifetime as a Democrat didn't allow for any options other than the ones they presented...but I digress. I just wanted to say that I'm not a lifetime Reagan fan foaming over another tribute but a skeptic who enjoys historical documentaries. This opens with Reagan's farewell speech and then goes back to his days running for governor of California during the Vietnam war...and features just the right amount of vintage historical clips and Reagan clips.
A very enjoyable viewing...I'm sure I'll watch it again. At an hour and forty minutes it is much better than the one hour docs which don't really have enough meat and better than the pedantic and often boring DVDs of several hour length which are better suited to be divided up into sections and used in history classes than watching in a living room....This just hits the spot as the perfect blend of history and entertainment...but it never lapses into pandering and it doesn't drip with sugar towards its subject either.
Instead, the DVD contains largely random and unconnected clips from various points of Reagan's career. Rather than a retrospective, the selections imply the filmmaker ran down the halls of the Reagan library and grabbed random footage off the shelf. The odd selection of scenes include copious footage of people like Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale responding to Ronald Reagan, which I don't think Reagan's fans really paid to see. Watching Walter Mondull talk almost put me to sleep. Rather than show Reagan's magnificent (and brief) 'time capsule' speech from the 1976 GOP convention, we are shown President Ford talking about Reagan. The viewer is left with no idea that Ford has just driven off a last-minute effort for the nomination by Reagan, with a magnanimous Ford inviting the defeated Reagans up on the stage with him. A supposed homage to the friendship between Tip O'Neill and Reagan played an Irish melody my mother liked, but could not be bothered to give one clip of the two talking to each other or about the other. (O'Neill's actual quotes about Reagan were not complimentary, and their friendship appeared to be solely from Reagan's side.)
There is an occasional narrative throughout the movie, although at one point the narrator seems to lose his train of thought and comes to a dead halt, as if looking back at notes. On the plus side, the pictures on the back of the box are accurate.Read more ›
There is no real "timeline," no organizing principle to guide the viewer, and it includes items that are basically irrelevant yet fails to include some of the most critical and satisfying facts and speech clips. For example, it spends several minutes on Reagan's speech for the JFK Library, all the while showing footage of JFK. Huh? Note to film-maker: this is a REAGAN video.
Ideologically, the video mentions Reagan's conservatism but makes no effort to explain his political philosophy or how it interacted with the history of Reagan's era. I got the impression the screenwriter had little deep understanding of the topic, and so couldn't communicate it to the viewer.
Overall, a disappointing and poorly done video that is redeemed, only partly, by the greatness of the subject matter.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great Subject, but I really thought the documentary was lacking.Published 4 months ago by General Stonewall Jackson
Reagan was a great President! He would be turning over in his grave if he saw how the country is being run today.Published 15 months ago by Dad of Lots
Loved it!! Such an incredible man. I think that all young people who are nearing the voting age should see this documentary. Read morePublished on January 8, 2014 by Diane
It seemed to work, But It really did not cover the whole story though. It didn't show the compromises he was willing to to make and the way they effected the future of the countryPublished on October 2, 2013 by Frye Bikes
A reagan must must see if you believe in america and a consertive. we enjoyed as a family and remembered the life of a great presidentPublished on November 25, 2012 by TR Gentle
I absolutely love watching this DVD about the last great American hero that this country has seen, what a wonderful experience.Published on May 15, 2012 by Billy K