Mr. Conservative: Goldwater on Goldwater - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Mr. Conservative: Goldwater on Goldwater Reviews

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February 19, 2015
This movie is delightful to watch. I expected the topic to be more concerned with his conservative philosophy. The movie is, however, about the man. In this richly detailed biography we see a man who lives his philosophy. He was an outdoorsman, a photographer, a pilot, a ham radio enthusiast. He spoke his mind. We also gain historical insight into his relationship with J.F.K., Nixon, Sandra Day O'Connor, and yes... even Hilary Clinton. He voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 not because he was a bigot (he was half Jewish) but because it violated the constitutional protection of people to freely associate. He believed that such a clear violation of the constitution would contribute immeasurably to the explosion of federal power. He was right.
½ May 26, 2009
You know a documentary hasn't wasted your time when it has completely overturned your view of its subject. In the present case, my false perception of Barry Goldwater was due to two main factors: first, ignorance, as I had no idea where he actually stood on the issues dearest to my heart; and second, unexamined atavisms from my Randian period, which had left me with a very favorable opinion of the man.

Now given what I believed to be Goldwater's strong conservative stance (that's what it says in the title!), I was surprised that HBO should produce such a documentary on him, with John Barry / Ennio Morricone sounding music, nostalgic home movies, a smiling Hilary Clinton ("I was a Goldwater girl!"), tear-filled eyes and not a single testimony by anyone who actually disliked the man: everybody loved him! This is such a far-cry from the character assassination coupled with ominous music that conservatives usually get in documentaries. They're treating as if he was some sacred liberal cow like Hugh Heffner!

But there is a reason for this: "Mr Conservative" was not a Conservative but a libertarian, which means that to the modern leftist media, he was half right, because on ethical issues, which are the divisive ones today, he was a liberal. In fact, apart from his support of economic freedom and his opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (on constitutional grounds, and out of respect for property rights and freedom of speech and assembly), he was the perfect liberal, and his belated rehabilitation is not at all an accident: he was in favour of gays in the military (he had a homosexual grandson, who says "being in the military is not about sex"); he was a staunch supporter of legalised abortion (his own daughter even got an abortion, which he never condemned and she never regretted); he was a great friend and ardent supporter of pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor; he talked the talk about Jefferson "separating Church and State"; the religious right "scared the hell" out of him (though he described himself as a "very religious" person, he didn't go to Church every Sunday); he had Jewish origins (and the documentary is produced by one Tany Cohen); and he was "multicultural" in that he spent a lot of time with the Hopi and Navajo Indians of his home state, Arizona (which somehow makes up for his opposition to government-enforced desegregation.)

The time is therefore now ripe for a recuperation of the Senator by the U.S. left. Well, as far as I am concerned, they can have him, he's one of them.

The documentary is quite pleasant to watch, with its mixture of warm-hearted personal recollections and archive footage, and C.C. Goldwater, the Senator's granddaughter who did the voiceover and interviews, is really cute, which almost compensates for the inclusion of the unsufferable James Carville.

I was a bit disappointed, however, that some facts were left out of the picture. For one thing, "The Conscience of a Conservative", which was published under Goldwater's name and sold 3.5 million copies, was not written by him, but by L. Brent Bozell Jr, a Catholic convert whose name is never mentioned in the documentary, and who will never get a sympathetic treatment by the likes of HBO. And second, the issue of Goldwater's connections with the maffia is never mentioned, nor is his belief that there was a government cover up about UFOs.

The only point of the documentary seems to be to provide inspiration for today's leftists and maybe to insinuate that modern conservatives have hijacked the Republican party, which should return to its true liberal origins.
December 16, 2008
It was a feel good, family-made documentary geared to make you like the man behind the crazy. And even though you know that's the goal, you still walk away from this film liking the man behind the crazy - if only for the set of BBQ sauces he sent former Goldwater-girl-turned-dirty-pinko-hippie HRC when she moved into the White House.
½ December 3, 2008
As far a documentaries go, this one is decent. But I think it is the case that the subject matter outshines the actual film, if that makes sense. I doubt most younger people know Barry Goldwater. However, he is a very important political figure. He was a through and through conservative - NOT the kind of conservative Reagan was or 95% of today's Republicans are. This film does a good job of showing how sometimes conservatism will lead you to seemingly crazy stances, while other times it is incredibly desirable. I hope more people will look into Goldwater, his beliefs, and how he conducted himself as a politician.
October 9, 2008
If you consider yourself "a conservative" then you should really confirm it with this movie.
½ September 21, 2008
Really eye-opening look at Barry Goldwater, the man who ran unsuccessfully for president in 1964. Basically, the message of this movie: he wasn't as batshit insane as we thought he was back then. While he definitely wasn't the right man in '64, he showed bravery by bucking the GOP party line and attacking the religious right and supported abortion rights and gay rights. A rare breed indeed.
September 11, 2008
the best documentary on goldwater I have seen. I expected it to be biased but it actually showed the positives as well as the negatives. Good stuff.
September 3, 2008
Could've been better if it weren't for useless and irrelevant distractions (such as Joanne Goldwater's proclamation that she doesn't regret her abortion... awkward!) and a little bit of pro-Democrat bias (should've reined Al Franken in a little bit).
May 27, 2008
Not bad. More of a family tribute than an hard-hitting documentary on Goldwater's politics. Still, worth watching for anyone who thinks that Goldwater's "Conservative" movement is accurately reflected in today's Republican platforms. Think again.
½ February 10, 2008
Our word "idiot" comes from the ancient Greek "idiotes", meaning "private person". Which means that at least by ancient Greek standards, libertarians are idiots. And libertarian politicians (private public men) are especially so, unless of course they're liars/hypocrites. Speaking of which, how nice to see former "Goldwater Girl" (now "Clinton Clit") Hillary "Rodham" Clinton (who recently attacked Obama for "praising" Ronald Reagan) talking about being a conservative and admiring Goldwater.
February 1, 2008
This is a really strong documentary about Barry Goldwater and brings up a lot of interesting information. It talks about Hillary Clinton's role as a "Goldwater girl", his pro choice stance on abortion, and his pro gays in the military stance, to give just a few examples of the interesting information contained in this film. He was also a union buster and opposed to organized labor. Barry Goldwater was one of the last old school conservatives to gain a high level of national power in this country.
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