Hoover vs. the Kennedys: The Second Civil War (TV Series 1987– ) Poster

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Has some merit despite being totally mis-cast
fivefids19 March 2002
Being someone who grew up in the wake the JFK assassination, I think my generation was taken to believe that JFK was some sort of martyred saint. Because of that, I was intrigued by the title of this movie. Even as late as 1987, when this movie was released, I still couldn't grasp the concept that there could be anyone who would have been a foe to the martyred Kennedys. Despite the fact that this movie is totally mis-cast from top to bottom (Robert Pine as JFK? Leland Gantt as Martin Luther King? C'mon...) and has cheesy sound track music, there is a lot to learn from it. Many facts on JFK, RFK and Hoover's methods and their interaction are featured in this picture. Also good information (the information is good, the portrayals are lousy) regarding the civil rights struggle during the Kennedy administration. This movie, as most TV movies do, falls short in the historical detail aspects but most shortcomings are insignificant. Example, when JFK was elected, Jackie Kennedy was pregnant. In this movie, when Bobby and Ethel arrive to congratulate JFK, Jackie stands up to hug them and she is clearly NOT pregnant. A scene that takes place a few months after JFK's inauguration shows Caroline and John Jr. coming to JFK's office for a visit. JFK Jr., who would've been just a few months old, is portrayed by a 2-3 year old actor. Two years later when JFK is assassinated, neither of his children had aged one bit! The movie also alludes to the notion that JFK's father, Joseph P. Kennedy, was a friend of J. Edgar Hoover. I found no sources to back this up and, in fact, what I did find was quite the opposite. All of this set aside, what this movie did for me was spark my curiosity and inspire me to research and learn more about the events that took place. Upon further research, I found that when it comes to facts, the movie is quite accurate, however, when it comes to the context in which those facts are presented, it is certainly questionable. It is still difficult to see Robert Pine's portrayal of JFK as appropriate. It would be hard to fathom Pine's JFK as the WW2 hero or the Harvard scholar JFK was. Regarding RFK, Nicholas Campbell's phoney Boston accent doesn't cut it either. For a better cast TV Mini-Series, I recommend "Kennedy" from 1983 starring Martin Sheen as JFK. Still, I wouldn't write this one off.
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