REVIEW:
"KENNEDY"
(1983 TELEVISION MINI-SERIES)





"KENNEDY" (1983 TV Mini-Series)
Starring Martin Sheen and Blair Brown
2-Disc DVD Set
Running Time: Approx. 5 Hours (Plus Bonus Features)
Video: Full Frame (1.33:1)
Audio: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo
DVD Release Date: September 25, 2001

DVD Back Cover

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In September 2001, Lance Entertainment, Inc. and DVD International released this 2-Disc DVD set of the 1983 made-for-television mini-series "KENNEDY".

I recall seeing this mini-series when it originally aired on network television in November 1983, exactly 20 years after President Kennedy's assassination. It's nice to now have it available on DVD.

Several years after this Lance Entertainment version was issued, MPI Home Video released THIS two-disc edition of the same "Kennedy" program.

All the major elements that made up the presidency of John F. Kennedy are explored very nicely during this five-hour TV film, 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).

And 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.

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:

1.) JFK's Inaugural Address to the nation (January 20, 1961).

2.) "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.

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

4.) "The Last Two Days" -- A 19-minute color film chronicling the last two days of President Kennedy's life in November of 1963.

David Von Pein
November 2001
August 2010