IMDb > By the People: The Election of Barack Obama (2009)

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Release Date:
7 August 2009 (USA) See more »
The Election of Barack Obama
Nearly a year before Barack Obama announced his candidacy for the presidency, two filmmakers began to roll cameras on the young senator. Over the next 19 months, across the USA, the daily events of the presidential campaign are chronicled. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Won Primetime Emmy. Another 3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
not much new on the road to the White House See more (9 total) »


  (in credits order)

Barack Obama ... Himself
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Neil Abercrombie ... Himself

Dick Armey ... Himself (archive footage)
David Axelrod ... Himself - Chief Campaign Strategist
Bill Ayers ... Himself (archive footage)
Melissa Bean ... Herself (archive footage)

Jill Biden ... Herself

Joe Biden ... Himself - Democrat Vice-Presidential Candidate
Mike Blake ... Himself - Iowa Political Director

Wolf Blitzer ... Himself (archive footage)
Tucker Carlson ... Himself (archive footage)
Ronnie Cho ... Himself - Organizer

Hillary Clinton ... Herself - Democrat Candidate (as Hillary Rodham Clinton)

James Clyburn ... Himself (as James E. Clyburn)
Candy Crowley ... Herself - HSCNN
Jennifer Donahue ... Herself - New Hampshire Institute of Politics (archive footage)

Tammy Duckworth ... Herself (archive footage)
Ann Dunham ... Herself (archive footage)
Madelyn Dunham ... Herself (voice) (archive footage)
Dick Durbin ... Himself (archive footage)

John Edwards ... Himself

Jon Favreau ... Himself - Chief Speechwriter
Robert Gibbs ... Himself - Head of Communications
Stephanie Grobman ... Herself
Jane Hall ... Herself - Fox News (archive footage)
Carol Harwell ... Herself - Former Campaign Manager
Scott Helman ... Himself - The Boston Globe

Jacqueline Kennedy ... Herself (archive footage)

John F. Kennedy ... Himself (archive footage)

Joe Klein ... Himself - Time Magazine
Ryan Lizza ... Himself - The New Yorker
Jim Margolis ... Himself - Media Consultant

Chris Matthews ... Himself (archive footage)

John McCain ... Himself
Bob Menendez ... Himself (as Sen. Bob Menendez)
Konrad Ng ... Himself (as Konrad)
Barack Obama Sr. ... Himself (archive footage)
Auma Obama ... Herself (scenes deleted)

Malia Obama ... Herself

Michelle Obama ... Herself

Sasha Obama ... Herself

Sarah Palin ... Herself

Todd Palin ... Himself
David Plouffe ... Himself - Campaign Manager

Condoleezza Rice ... Herself (archive footage)
Bill Richardson ... Himself - New Mexico Governor
Lorenoz Rivera ... Himself

Tim Russert ... Himself (archive footage)
Melisanne Russo ... Herself - 4HD Reporter (as Melissa Russo)
Maya Soetoro-Ng ... Herself (as Maya)
Suhaila Soetoro-Ng ... Herself
Lynn Sweet ... Herself - Chicago Sun-Times

Jake Tapper ... Himself (archive footage) (scenes deleted)
Paul Tewes ... Himself - Iowa State Director
Bobby Titcomb ... Himself - High School Friend

Chuck Todd ... Himself - NBC News (archive footage)
Tommy Vietor ... Himself - Iowa Press Secretary

Brian Williams ... Himself (archive footage)

Richard Wolffe ... Himself - MSNBC Newsweek
Jeremiah Wright ... Himself - Reverend (archive footage)
Jeff Zeleny ... Himself - The New York Times

Directed by
Amy Rice 
Alicia Sams 
Produced by
Bristol Baughan .... executive producer
Stuart Blumberg .... producer
Elissa Brown .... associate producer
Benjamin Goldhirsh .... producer
Matt Huffman .... field producer
Meggan Lennon .... field producer
Deric Margolis .... executive producer
D.J. Martin .... executive producer
Bill Migliore .... producer
Tim Nackashi .... field producer
Edward Norton .... producer
Dan O'Meara .... producer
Chris Romano .... producer
Audrey Rosenberg .... executive producer
Alicia Sams .... producer
Original Music by
Craig Wedren 
Film Editing by
Arielle Amsalem 
Geeta Gandbhir 
Samuel D. Pollard 
Sound Department
Ron Bochar .... re-recording mixer
Ron Bochar .... sound editor
Zuzana Bochar .... sound apprentice
Justin Hennard .... sound mixer
Allan Zaleski .... sound editor
Alexa Zimmerman .... sound editor
Visual Effects by
Keira Alexandra .... title design
Camera and Electrical Department
Bristol Baughan .... additional camera
Isaac Brown .... additional camera
Andreas Burgess .... additional camera
Eric Flagg .... additional camera
Ana Paula Habib .... additional camera
Hope Hall .... additional camera operator
Chris W. Johnson .... additional cinematographer
Gil Kruger .... additional camera operator
Meggan Lennon .... additional camera
Lee Nelson II .... additional camera operator
Matt Porwoll .... additional camera operator
Ryan Richmond .... additional camera
Editorial Department
Macy Jones .... assistant editor
Jonathan Liebert .... digital cinema mastering
Scot Olive .... colorist
Samuel D. Pollard .... supervising editor
Lauren Auricchio .... editorial intern (uncredited)
Music Department
Michael Panes .... musician: violin
Other crew
Keira Alexandra .... title designer
Jennifer Zolten Freed .... post-production accountant
Savannah Freed .... production assistant
Jonathan Gray .... production counsel
Liz Modena .... production accountant
David Axelrod .... special thanks
Mike Blake .... thanks
Ronnie Cho .... thanks
Madelyn Dunham .... very special thanks (as the Obama Family)
Jon Favreau .... thanks
Robert Gibbs .... special thanks
Robert Gibbs .... thanks
Chris Hegedus .... thanks
Meggan Lennon .... special thanks
Doug Liman .... thanks
Konrad Ng .... very special thanks (as the Obama Family)
Auma Obama .... very special thanks (as the Obama Family)
Barack Obama .... very special thanks (as the Obama Family)
Malia Obama .... very special thanks (as the Obama Family)
Michelle Obama .... very special thanks (as the Obama Family)
Sasha Obama .... very special thanks (as the Obama Family)
D.A. Pennebaker .... thanks
Jojo Pennebaker .... thanks
David Plouffe .... thanks
Matt Porwoll .... thanks
David Rice .... in memory of
James F. Sams .... in memory of
Maya Soetoro-Ng .... very special thanks (as the Obama Family)
Suhaila Soetoro-Ng .... very special thanks (as the Obama Family)
Chad Troutwine .... special thanks
Tommy Vietor .... special thanks
Tommy Vietor .... thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"By the People" - International (English title) (informal short title), USA (short title)
"The Election of Barack Obama" - International (English title) (informal short title), USA (informal short title)
"The Election of Barack Obama: By the People" - International (English title) (informal title)
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116 min

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14 out of 23 people found the following review useful.
not much new on the road to the White House, 17 November 2009
Author: dromasca from Herzlya, Israel

The HBO documentary was broadcast here one day after its US premiere and one year after Election Day which brought Obama to the White House. There was certainly inspiration and and an amount of risk taken by HBO to put a whole team to follow Obama's campaign starting with 2006, as his election was not really in the cards from the start. This is maybe one of the reasons for which I expected more from this documentary than I really received.

We do see the team since it's start, and actually we see more of the team then of Obama himself. We are introduced to some of the key participants in the campaign, all true believers, all deeply involved not only at the political and professional but also at the personal level. We see the crowds gathering, especially on the Democratic side, and on Obama's side within the Democratic Party - and the film does not try to keep any balance on reporting and does not show too many articulated opinions of the other camps. The arguments are most of the time emotional rather than rational, rhetoric rather than analytical. It's the story of the campaign, well told and well filmed, in chronological order - it happens under our eyes, and it is assumed that we know why it happened. Maybe in the future the documentary value of this story telling will increase, right now it's too new for us to have forgotten it already.

There are no big surprises, no real scoops for people trying to learn more about the secret of Obama's victory. I expected some more information about the well conducted campaign on the Internet, or about the efficient money raising which was a key part in the success - there is no mention about this. There is also almost no mention about the international dimension of the campaign, or how the big policies issues were answered by Obama and what differentiated it relative to the other candidates on the Democratic and Republican side, leading eventually to victory. The film addresses more the emotional side, whoever looks for extended information or deep analysis will not find it here. The best moments are those in which we get a glimpse of the human dimension of the Obama family, or of the people who were involved in the campaign. For some viewers this may be enough, for other not. Depending upon the expectations 'By the People' can be satisfying or disappointing to the same extent.

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