Robert “Bobby” Kennedy led a political career that included serving as attorney general during the presidential administration of his brother, John, but he had greater ambitions. Those ambitions included running for president with a campaign that lasted only 83 days before he was assassinated in Los Angeles in June 1968. This four-part docuseries examines the “Bobby Phenomenon” of the 1960s and the politician’s continuing influence decades after his untimely death. Documentary available on Netflix.
Selma is the story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s historic struggle to secure voting rights for all people – a dangerous and terrifying campaign that culminated with the epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, and led to President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Documentary from 1992. Examining the tumultuous period following the verdict in the Rodney King trial in 1992. The acquittal of four police officers for beating a black motorist saw several days of protests, violence and looting in Los Angeles. Available on Netflix, among other places.
This film is a dramatization of the decision-making behind the Johnson administration’s escalation of the Vietnam War in the mid 1960s. As Lyndon Johnson (Michael Gambon) agonizes over sending more troops to Southeast Asia, he is given contradictory advice from Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara (Alec Baldwin) and Secretary of State Dean Rusk (John Aylward). The president also attempts to build his Great Society at home, while balancing the war’s increasing drain on the nation’s resources.
John McCain’s 2008 US presidential campaign struggles to compete against Democratic Senator Obama. The game changes when strategists choose Alaska’s Governor Palin as his vice-presidential candidate. Available on HBO, among other places.
The Unknown Known (also known as The Unknown Known: The Life and Times of Donald Rumsfeld) is a 2013 American documentary film about the political career of former U.S. Secretary of Defense and congressman Donald Rumsfeld, directed by Academy Award winning documentarian and filmmaker Errol Morris. The film is a summary of 33 hours of interviews that Morris conducted with Rumsfeld over eleven separate sessions during visits to Newton, Massachusetts. Available on Youtube, among other places.
In 1977, three years after the Watergate scandal that ended his presidency, Richard Nixon (Frank Langella) selects British TV personality David Frost (Michael Sheen) to conduct a one-on-one, exclusive interview. Though Nixon believes it will be easy to mislead Frost, and the latter’s own team doubts that he can stand up to the former president, what actually unfolds is an unexpectedly candid and revealing interview before the court of public opinion.
The story of Dick Cheney, who overcomes several challenges in life and becomes a powerful bureaucrat in Washington. His position of vice president to George W Bush allows him to reshape the world. Available on Youtube (rent).
The documentary depicts the political intrigues that led to the unique and controversial outcome of the 2000 presidential election, including the chaotic turnout in Florida that ended with George W. Bush winning by a narrow margin.
After polio threatens his political career in the early 1920s, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Kenneth Branagh) desperately searches for a cure to his newly acquired disease, hoping to regain the use of his legs. He learns of a promising spa in Warm Springs, Ga., and travels there, only to find it dilapidated. Determined to overcome polio, Roosevelt invests in the spa’s revitalization and sets about recovering, aided by the support of his wife (Cynthia Nixon) and physical therapist (Kathy Bates). Available on HBO.