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Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment (1963)

Governor George Wallace will not let two black students into an Alabama school, against the wishes of President Kennedy. Loud shouts come from both sides of the issue as JFK stands by his decisions.


Robert Drew (uncredited)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
John F. Kennedy ... Self - President of the United States
George Wallace ... Self - Governor of Alabama
Robert F. Kennedy ... Self - Attorney General of the United States
Vivian Malone ... Self - a Negro Student
James Hood James Hood ... Self - a Negro Student
Michael LeMoyne Kennedy Michael LeMoyne Kennedy ... Self - Robert F. Kennedy's Son (as Michael)
Burke Marshall Burke Marshall ... Self - Assistant Attorney General (as Burt Marshall)
Nicholas Katzenbach ... Self - Deputy Attorney General
John Dore John Dore ... Self - Deputy Attorney General
Jack Greenberg Jack Greenberg ... Self - N.A.A.C.P. Advisor
Creighton Williams Abrams Creighton Williams Abrams ... Self - Confrontation Planner for Military (as General Abrams)
Kerry Kennedy Kerry Kennedy ... Self - Robert F. Kennedy's Daughter
Peyton Norville Peyton Norville ... Self - United States Marshal (as Marshal Norville)
Henry Graham ... Self - Commander of Alabama National Guard (as General Graham)
Dave McGlathery Dave McGlathery ... Self - a Negro Engineering Student


Governor George Wallace will not let two black students into an Alabama school, against the wishes of President Kennedy. Loud shouts come from both sides of the issue as JFK stands by his decisions.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


One of the most astonishing confrontations in American Politics. See more »


Not Rated

Did You Know?


President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22 1963, one month after the release of this film. See more »


Robert F. Kennedy - Attorney General of the United States: I'm not very much in favor of picking the governor up and moving him out of the way. I think it'd be much better if we develop some system if we had enough people to just push him aside.
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Crazy Credits

With the exception of the narrator, cast members are credited orally during the movie by the narrator or by other cast members or themselves (on the telephone). See more »


Featured in Andrew Cohen on Crisis and Its Outtakes (2016) See more »


For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
One line sung a Cappella by James Hood
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User Reviews

Kennedy Against Alabama
22 November 2013 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment (1963)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

Robert Drew's fascinating documentary takes a look at the battle between President Kennedy and Alabama Governor George Wallace. Kennedy and his brother Robert are seen trying to get Wallace to step down and allow two black students to enroll at the University of Alabama but the governor stands to his ground. After PRIMARY, director Drew was given more access to Kennedy and it's pretty clear that the two of them knew this decision would be something big so it's pretty incredible that so much was able to be captured for this film. It runs just 53-minutes but there's certainly some drama here even though you know what happened at the school. I thought the film was extremely well-made and especially towards the end when the countdown starts on getting the two students into the school. Getting to see Robert Kennedy listening to what's going on in Alabama was pretty fascinating and you can see the drama going on just by looking at his face. Also, seeing the aftermath of the events was also rather special. It's hard to believe that this film was released just a month before Kennedy was assassinated so in some ways that gives it even more power when viewed today. It's hard to believe that this type of stuff was happening such a short time ago but this documentary does a very good job at capturing the moods at the time.

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Release Date:

21 October 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Crisis See more »

Filming Locations:

Alabama, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

ABC News, Drew Associates See more »
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Sound Mix:

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