Movie Review

Ronald Reagan: An American Journey

In celebration of the centennial of Ronald Reagan’s birth, many DVDs and books about the 40th President of the United States, alias the Great Communicator, alias the gipper, are on the market.

Director Robert Kline’s Ronald Reagan: An American Journey, which was recently released, seems to stand out in the sea of Reagan-related merchandise. If you’re looking for a DVD that traces his humble beginnings in Illinois, this isn’t it. If you’re looking for a DVD that talks about his acting career, this isn’t it. If you’re looking for a DVD that opens the debate about when he had Alzheimer’s Disease, this isn’t it.

If you’re looking for a DVD that chronicles his political career, starting with him as the governor of California up until he left the Presidency in early 1989, this is it.

Like Thomas Jefferson and Franklin D. Roosevelt, Reagan – love him or hate him, agree or disagree with his politics – is considered by historians to be a transformational president (something that was reiterated in the latest issue of Time Magazine, where President Barack was compared to him), not to mention an icon of conservatism.

Upon seeing clips of Reagan’s speeches – including the speeches he made about making Martin Luther King, Jr. Day a national holiday and the tragic destruction of the Challenger in 1986 – throughout the years is very compelling. Reagan was a very eloquent, articulate speaker. He died in 2004 after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s.

The pacing of this DVD moves along fairly quickly. One glaring flaw was referring to President George Herbert Walker Bush (the elder Bush, who was also vice-president under Reagan) as his son: George Walker Bush, the controversial 43rd POTUS. Kline shouldn’t have overlooked this. Otherwise, it undermines the credibility of this DVD, which focuses only on Reagan’s time in office.


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