Watch The Making of the President

Released in the aftermath of President John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963, this documentary produced by David F. Wolper was based on political correspondent and commentator Theodore H. White's in depth coverage of the Republican and Democratic political campaigns to elect a president in 1960. Martin Gabel narrates the film, which relied extensively on archive footage of both candidates. The documentary follows the election and includes footage on the widely watched national debates between the two candidates, really the first debate series in which a national presidential candidate (Senator Kennedy) relied heavily on preparation assistance from trained public relations consultants.

Acorn Media
1 Season, 3 Episodes
December 29, 1963
Documentary & Biography
Cast: Martin Gabel, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon
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The Making of the President Full Episode Guide

  • The election year brings a deepening sense of national crisis: Americans killed by the hundreds in a divisive war, a sitting president shocked in the first primary, Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy assassinated, and dozens of cities torn by riots. Both major parties' conventions feel like armed camps, but Chicago--site of the Democratic event--turns chaotic and violent. When Hubert H. Humphrey, Richard M. Nixon, and George Wallce face off in the general election, voters look for healing.

  • Ascending to the White House after a national tragedy, Lyndon Johnson must choose a running mate; possibilities include the late president's brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy--the Democrats' emotional favorite, but a potential threat to LBJ's leadership. Meanwhile, Sen. Barry Goldwater marshals a "citizens' army" to march to the Republican nomination against desperate, panicked opposition. The general election presents voters with a starck philosophical choice and marks a tectonic shift in American politics.

  • With Dwight D. Eisenhower retiring, the presidential field seems wide open from the outset. For the Democrats, will young upstart John F. Kennedy hold off the ebullient populist Hubert H. Humphrey and an eleventh-hour movement to draft Adlai Stevenson? For the Republicans, how can Richard M. Nixon, Ike's heir apparent, bring his party's liberal wing on board? Nixon and Kennedy eventually vie in the first television debates and a historically close election.

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