LBJ: The Early Years (1987) - Rotten Tomatoes

LBJ: The Early Years (1987)

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Randy Quaid avoids caricature and cliché in his multifaceted portrayal of Lyndon Baines Johnson in LBJ: The Early Years. This made-for-TV film chronicles the years 1934 through 1963, tracing the beginnings of Johnson's public career, chronicling his reputation for down-and-dirty politicking, and following his progress from congressman to senator to majority leader to vice president. Staunchly at LBJ's side through thick and thin is faithful-wife Lady Bird (Patti LuPone), whose fidelity remains unshaken even while Johnson dallies with other women. Charles Frank co-stars as John F. Kennedy, whose assassination catapults the reluctant Johnson into the presidency that he'd always wanted to win on his own merits. Less than six days before LBJ: The Early Year premiered on February 1, 1987, author Larry L. King picked apart the film's inaccuracies in a TV Guide article. Audiences cared not for absolute truth, and had a grand old time watching Randy Quaid impersonate the amazing Mr. Johnson.

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Cast

Randy Quaid
as Lyndon Baines Johnson
Patti LuPone
as Lady Bird Johnson
Charles Frank
as John F. Kennedy
Pat Hingle
as Sam Rayburn
James Kelly
as Bobby Kennedy
Jack Blessing
as Billy Bob
R.G. Armstrong
as Lyndon's Father
Barry Corbin
as Judge Wirtz
Robin Curtis
as Jacqueline Kennedy
Anne Haney
as Lyndon's Mother
Kevin McCarthy
as Joseph Kennedy
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Audience Reviews for LBJ: The Early Years

½

Solid recap of LBJ's climb obviously told in shorthand-a necessary evil due to the constraints of a TV format. Still you do get a feeling for the hard charging bull from Texas who confounded many when he emerged as a great advocate for civil rights. Quaid is excellent in the lead, a very good actor whose reputation has now been sullied by bizarre off screen behavior. He and Lupone who are seemingly an odd match work well together as Johnson and Lady Bird, who even though they forged a strong bond themselves were an unusual match as is shown here. For history buffs and bio fans a worthy entry.

jay nixon
jay nixon

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