The '60s (TV Mini-Series 1999) Poster

(1999)

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8/10
The 60s As Viewed From Space
trgusa18 April 2006
What the movie The 60s really represents (to those of us who growled around in the belly of America in those times) is the turbulence and diversity of the decade. Despite the exaggerated, stereotyped characters, the genuineness of the issues remains clear.

Not only were those radical times of change, but also very confusing times. Two basic things changed our world then: the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the overwhelming influence of the media. Those two new freedoms began social changes that soon became institutionalized.

From chaos came sensitivity, from disorder came values. Bear in mind however, that the bulk of Americans were not involved in this... they worked, they played, they watched the news... and slowly they became effected by the efforts and struggles of the minorities... the Civil Rights workers, the Political Activists, the Anti-War efforts, the War on Poverty....

The representation of the power of the press and TV in particular, was well reflected, although the conflict between the general public's attitude and those seeking to change things was at best ignored... and at worst, misrepresented.. Middle class Americans weren't all standing around angrily holding baseball bats, or disowning their wayward daughters. They were confused too. Let us not forget how Folk Singers suddenly became Protest Singers, and how The Beatles began an onslaught that killed the Folk-Protest Movement. There are no Beatle songs in the movie, or even any mention of them.

I think if you didn't live the decade, you might not have a sense of what the movie is about, the overall picture is a bit dim. At one point I held down a steady job while my sister lived at the Hog Farm Commune and went to Woodstock. At another point I was in Haight Asbury and in the Detroit Riots while she worked and played the housewife in Maine and Connecticut. Roles were constantly changing.

The movie depicts three siblings of a middle class family. They represent the hippie child, the political activist, and the active military personnel. Dad represents the typical attitudes, and mom represents the voice of reason, tolerance, and sometimes compromise... for the sake of peace.

The Black family comprises a minister and his son... disproportionately, I think. I assume the producers knew all the variables and had to settle on limitations, or else the film would have become a long, boring, documentary. Dad's message was that anger produces bitterness, and bitterness produces chaos. It was clearly a message directed to today's youth.

We are looking at a unique solution to social problems, and also how issues divide us... The 60s were unusual in that way, and only the Roaring 20s compare. In other words, this movie has a moral after all. In the end, it is our Collective Individualism that survives. Put that in your oxymoron list.

Everyone was a God, a Guru, or a free-spirited genius in the 60s. It was a time of magic and madness. No one will ever nail the 60s down right... it was too diverse (this movie is close). At least we can say we are not ashamed of it, that we learned and grew from it, and that for once, a generation shaped and changed America... for the better.
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I was there
widescreenguy29 April 2004
oh ya, I was there and can vouch for the veracity of many of the scenes in this series. My background was that of a naive shy geeky type and it took me a long time to come to terms with what happened during the 60s. A time of very rapid and huge social change. The course of the decade is mirrored in the story presented in this excellent representation. The remnants of the bobbysoxer era gave way to some pretty horrid psychedelic tunes but then Jimi Hendrix hit the air waves. His legacy will in 200 years be similar to Amadeus Mozart: they both revolutionized music, lived on the edge, died young and broke. The difference is we have Jimi's live recordings and know his resting place. The characters then undergo some defining moments, and the war in southeast Asia spills over. The end of the film was rather abrupt and bewildering, same goes for that decade. I was there when the hippie era ended in a similar fashion.

Plausibility of this story ranges from dead on to highly unlikely. But you have to remember the hippie era was partly based on a lot of media hype and voyeurism. This range of views is correctly portrayed.

Julia Stiles was uniquely outstanding in her role as the wayward daughter who struggles against the downside of a society that in some cases was determined to devour its young. I too was kicked out of the house at a young age but I deserved it having chosen to sport long hair and argue with my parents at every opportunity. Fortunately I had a job at the time and all was forgiven eventually. Gee, thats exactly what happens in this movie. Its no wonder Ms Stiles has gone on to many more film projects and I hope to see her in roles that extend her talent.

Out of all the portrayals I have seen of that period, 'The 60s' is the most accurate. I was there, I should know. I even lived in a hippie house the summer of 1970. It was a farm house converted to a non-denominational church and some teens from around Canada and one chap from Jamaica were there on an exchange program. Music, motorcycles, pot, hitch-hikers, stern faced members of the establishment, oh ya, I had some flashbacks watching this one.

You can look back but you can never go back.
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The more you've read, the more you will enjoy this treatment of the 1960s.
SteveHistory25 May 2001
Generally, whenever I watch the networks attempt to depict American History I wind up on the front lawn randomly swearing at autos that pass my house, (until my wife turns on the sprinklers and forces me back inside.) But in spite of a few eye-rolling plot twists and cheesy lines, this is one of the very best docudramas I've EVER watched. Starting with the idealism of JFK, this movie is jam-packed full of references to a plethora of real historical events and personalities that defined the 1960s. Every single event and person is not flagged and explained. If you get it you get it, if you don't you don't. The better-read the viewer is, the more they will appreciate the numerous references. Abby Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden, electric Dylan at Newport, Joan Baez, Martin Luther King, the Lorraine Motel, Wavy Gravy, the Zapruder Film, Bull Connor, Bobby Seale, Black Panther breakfast program, "Soul on Ice," "Free Huey," The Hog Farm, The Gray Line Bus tours of Haight-Ashbury, the Weathermen, The Chicago Seven, Selma, Birmingham, "brown acid," Days of Rage, CO status, Watts riot, Cafe Wha?, Phil Ochs, Kettle of Fish, and on and on and on. If you are extremely literate in the real history of the Sixties you will find a wealth of information awaiting you in this 3 and-a-half hour tour. All right, so "Do You Believe in Magic" wasn't released until AFTER the troop train protest was held in Berkley but that is a minor point to get all steamed up over. Generally this is a feast for the literate student of the 1960s.
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8/10
Good, if uneven and thinly spread
PeachHamBeach20 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Originally posed Aug. 1999

Great music, great cast, great acting but the story could use some work. Like a lot of people, I thought the black family was seriously overlooked. If the movie was really about two families, why weren't the Taylors given equal screen time with the Herlihys? The tagline should have read: How the '60s affected one family and their acquaintances, since the Taylors did have a brief encounter with middle Herlihy son Michael (Josh Hamilton).

While the story touches on issues that concerned blacks, such as the right to vote, police brutality, segregation and the Black Panther Party, the Rev. Taylor (Charles Dutton, in a fine performance) and his son Emmett (Leonard Roberts) are still given very small screen time in comparison with the white characters. After Dutton's character is killed during the Watts riot, Roberts shoulders the black side of this portrait practically on his own (except for David Allan Grier, in an even tinier role), and does so with incredible skill and stealth. Kimberly Scott, who portray's Roberts' mother and Dutton's wife, gives a lovely performance, but it's all too brief. Short shrifts aside, I was very pleased with most of the Herlihy's part of the story, though I thought most of the clichéd, boring story concerning the sister who got pregnant and ran away could have been done away with, and that time given to the Taylors.

I was impressed with Jerry O'Connell's performance as the oldest Herlihy son, Brian, who goes to the Vietnam war as an innocent trying to make dad proud of him, and who comes home stripped of that innocence. The movie also focuses on middle son Michael's involvement with the anti-war movement, and his relationships with two activists he meets at a New York student teach in, passionate Sarah Weinstock (Jordana Brewster) and vehement Kenny Klein (Jeremy Sisto). Although the love-triangle part could have been excluded, the three characters bring to life the wonder-bread freedom fighters that existed and actually suffered, and the distrust of (anyone over 30) that generation possessed quite effectively. The Herlihys also get a taste of Woodstock, and if the rest of the movie fails to impress, the Woodstock scenes will at least give you a taste of what it was like to be there. I wasn't too happy with the ending. They should have included notes on what happened to these people after the decade ended. But aside from my disappointment about the ending and the black family's screen time, it was an above average miniseries, which I will give a B+.
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GREAT!!!!!
nickl4811 April 2000
As a 17 year old who gets to always hear about the 60s second-hand this movie "took" me to the 60s. I really liked that all the kids in the Herily (sp?) family encompassed many of the kids of that time. One was a Vietnam vet, one an activist against the war, and one a hippie who ends up at Haight-Ashbury and the Hog Farm. From what I have heard this movie is very accurate and even noted the date and year of an event. The black family was great and the idea that they participated in the sit-ins and Freedom marches, and then to live in Watts, LA during the Watts riots was a great idea. I thought the climax was a great mixture of events that took place in 1965. I know there were a lot of stereotypes, but how else would we learn about the 60s with out a movie that encompassed all the feelings, looks, and ideas of the time. I loved the music but was upset that only one song was on there by The Beatles. Obviously, they forgot what an impact the Beatles had on the American culture and leaving it out was a mistake. All the other music was GREAT and I love the song by Bob Dylan and Joan Osbourne. All in all this movie was great. And I hate that people say there was too much romance and love, but hey, it was the 60s. Sex and drugs was a prominent thing in that era. You can't forget it. I give it a 9.5/10, for leaving the Beatles out.
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6/10
Not so much a 60's movie,but a great Hippy movie!
erwan_ticheler15 August 2002
The 60's is a great movie(I saw it completely in one night) about the hippy movement in the late 60's. Although the title would suggest otherwise the first 5 years of the 60's are not really important in this film.

The main character of the movie is Michael,a political activist who goes on the road in the US against the Vietnam-war. There he meets his girlfriend,Sarah.Michael's brother,Brian,goes to Vietnam to fight(what a surprise!).He comes back from the war and changes in a "Tom Cruise Born on the fourth of July" look a like and then into a Hippy.His dad is a pro-vietnam war type of guy(what a surprise!!).Michael's sister Kate gets pregnant from a Rock & Roll artist and runs away from home and goes to San Francisco during the summer of love. The ending is very poor(father becomes a liberal and everybody is happy),but I let this slip away from my vote(the rest of the movie is very good!).

The performances by the actors are pretty good and the soundtrack of the movie is absolutely brilliant. All the main events of the sixties are in the movie,like the murders on JFK and Martin Luther King aswell as the big hippy protests,the summer of love and Woodstock! Look closely for Wavy"Woodstock Speaker"Gravy(What we have in mind is breakfast in bed for 400.000!) as a first aid employee at the Woodstock festival!

In the end,the 60's is a beautiful movie about a beautiful decade! 10/10
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5/10
60s for those who don't know a thing about it
sbsakin4 September 2009
The "movie" (it was a TV series converted in movie for other locations) has lots of things about the 60s? Yes, plenty of nostalgia. The movie presents many historical facts about the sixties? Yes, too much. The movie has 60s aesthetics? Yes, a lot, mainly the music, which is great (the best thing in fact). The movie has a plot? No.

This is the problem with the movie is that there is not plot. They try to link many important happenings of the 60s with the history of two families, but the characters are shallow and the drama is artificial. Incredible enough, the characters were the main protagonists in many important moments of the history, making it cliché.

The movie is good for those who don't know a thing about the sixties and want to learn more about the culture and history, in a superficial way. Of course it gives a dreamy and magic representation of the decade, so it is advisable to consult and encyclopedia after watching the movie to get your feet back on the ground. Maybe those who lived in the 60s may like it for the nostalgia, but certainly will not like the absurd and exaggerations. Anyway, you can always excuse yourself by saying that you watched because the soundtrack, because it is worthy the time watching a movie with no plot.
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A very accurate portrayal of an often misrepresented time...
NancyC31 August 1999
This mini-series did an excellent job of portraying the sixties, with a minimum of exaggeration and a fairly even-handed presentation of the differing sides. It did far better than Forrest Gump in this respect. I have shown it to my children, so that they can see this historical period more vividly than just by reading a book in school. I thought it was extremely well done, and I can't understand why there is so little information given for it (cast, crew, etc.). It would be nice to know who played what...
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Very Enjoyable
The Non-Hip13 August 2002
I caught this movie on TV last night, I don't usually enjoy this particular kind of movie, but I was bored so I figured I'd sit through it.

Now I've seen other comments on how the movie doesn't show the era correctly, that it's not historically correct, and since I wasn't alive yet during the 60s, and my European education didn't touch the subject of american history much, I can't comment on that.

However, when you get past the idea of this movie having to be a historical document of the 60s, and see that it's actually just simply a story, not a history lesson, about a group of people during this period of time, you'll see that this story is actually quite enjoyable.

I expected a mediocre history movie, I got a great movie about love, principles and family. It made my evening.
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The best thing since Woodstock film
choosenfaith18 September 2001
I enjoyed the plot, The cast did a great job. If you ever seen Woodstock. This is in your ball park. The soundtrack is just as good as the movie. Julia Stiles proves that she is a great actress, Jerry O'Connell once again has proven his talent as an actor. This is one not to miss. If you did you wish you hadn't.
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10/10
Loved the movie
dacetwin212 August 2001
I love the movie. It brought me back to the best time of my life.

We need that time again, now more than ever. For me it was a time of freedom, learning, and finding myself. I will always miss it. There will never be another time like the 60's, unfortunately.
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9/10
A really good mini series
hacker1417 February 2001
The 60´s is a well balanced mini series between historical facts and a good plot. In four deliveries, we follow a north American family, with 3 members. But we don't only see them. We also follow the story of several characters as a black reverend, an extremist student leader, and a soldier in Vietnam. The filmography is just extraordinary. In the first chapters, we see some shots of the Vietnam war, in between the scenes. The next chapter, doesn't start where the last one finished, it starts some time after, giving us a little mystery on what happened. In general, The 60´s mini series, is a must see, not only for hippies fanatics, but for everyone with little curiosity about the topic.
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10/10
Must remember it is for entertainment!
tiedyed31 January 2000
I can agree with other comments that there wasn't an enormous amount of history discussed in the movie but it wasn't a documentary! It was meant to entertain and I think it did a very good job at it.

I agree with the black family. The scenes with them seemed out of place. Like all of a sudden it would be thrown in but I did catch on to the story and the connection between the families later on and found it pretty good.

Despite it wasn't a re-enactment of the 60s it did bring into the light very big and important landmark periods of the decade. I found it very entertaining and worth my while to watch.
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A Realistic Depiction
ZacAttackFeelsGood1 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
So there's a lower middle-class family in Chicago who live a very conservative existence. Well, what happens when their oldest son goes to Vietnam, their youngest son becomes a civil rights activist, and their daughter gets knocked up? The '60s happen, and this mini-series shows the family's trials and tribulations during a truly extraordinary decade.

What I loved about "The '60s" is that the story is not unlike the normal stories that one would hear about families from back then. The 1960s were a confusing time, with people taking sides and going against everything they were ever raised to believe. The individual stories of the characters keep the big picture interesting. I couldn't wait to see Part 2 when Part 1 ended.

Great acting performances by all, especially Jerry O'Connell for his depiction of a Vietnam Veteran who goes in a patriot and comes out a basket-case.

I recommend "The '60s" to anyone who wants to see a realistic depiction of one of the greatest eras in United States History. You definitely won't be disappointed.
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2/10
Made for TV garbage...
enzio-120 October 2005
The '60s is an occasionally entertaining film, most of this entertainment is from laughing at the film. It is extremely uneven, and includes many annoying elements. Take for instance the switch between black & white, and color. If done right, this could of been fairly effective, but because it was done poorly , it turned into a nuisance and only detracted from the already bad experience; much of the film had an odd feel to it. The acting wasn't extremely bad for a made for TV flick, but then again it was downright embarrassing at other times. Many of the events were not coherent, and ending up being confusing. How did this family somehow end up being at many of the big events during the 1960's? The ending was much too sappy for my tastes; because it was hollywoodized, everything had to turn out right in the end. I would advise you to not waste your time on The '60s and do something else with your time. I'm glad I watched this in class, and not on my own time. I think I can safely say that the best part of the movie was the inclusion of Bob Dylan's music. Those are just my rambling thoughts on the flick. I hope you take my advice, and stay away from this.
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Pure, unadulterated, and absolute garbage
sychonic26 August 2001
I never actually thought anything could make me understand the police brutality that occurred during the Democratic Convention in 1968 in Chicago, but this one sure comes close. The awful human beings that rioted in the public parks, with their whining and their complaining and their drug use and violence seemed richly deserving of the things they got.

If this movie is worth anything, it's instructive as to how history can be distorted to suit a particular kind of political and cultural agenda. It is very sympathetic to those for which little sympathy is deserved. It suits those who actually make these movies to try and justify the things that they largely did during the past, even thought the rest of the country didn't.

The heroes of the movie end up being the villains, and those who grew up in luxury and refused responsibility or respect end up being the applauded. It's utterly mystifying.

The characters involved here are cardboard, with high school drama dropouts as their creators. It's undeniably hard to create a movie that can depict and entire decade and its spirit, but this one not only fails, but seems like it's not even trying. Play some sixties rock music, show a menagerie of hippies, a melange of pot smoke, and a montage of video clips from a truly tortuous time.

Take the advice of the insightful reviewer previously and read up on what happened during this time, the real events, the real issues. Bobby Kennedy wasn't a saint (he's actually the one who ordered Martin Luther King to be bugged while he entertained prostitutes), and Barry Goldwater wasn't the devil, nor the reverse--but it's hardly the way the makers of this swill would have people believe.
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The sixties for dummies
sgurgolo1 August 2004
Oh well - this series is crap, i mean, absolutely. They should have been awarded for worst script, worst acting, worst interpretation of history, worst use of stereotypes, worst use of a fake mustache in an attempt to duplicate the Tom Cruise of the 4th July - but, miracle!, making him walk - worst cinematography, worst art directing, worst costumes, worst editing, worst leftism (i mean, this is how you lived your '68? You shoulda stayed home! C'mon dude, where's the politics), worst use of Bob Dylan clips (clips from the seventies in a sixties movie?). If you wanna be a die-hard nostalgic hippie substantially not caring about most of the political facets of it, if you can't read a book or you'd fall asleep, if you hate documentaries, if Woodstock to you is a little yellow bird, if you want to see some 80s haircuts misplaced in time, well this might be for you. I mean, Hair was a musical, a fantastic movie, it was not intended to be a portrait of a generation - but hell, it was 1000 times more realistic than this. Hey, if all the people in the USA during the sixties were dumb as the characters of this crap i think at least somebody had a good reason to fly to Vietnam: not hearing anything anymore from dummies country! I guess the sixties were definitely better than this, but, i mean, what was the worst year in the whole history? The less interesting year of all time? I don't know, but put that year in the hands of a medium-level director and he'll do something more enjoyable. Shame on whoever worked on this - none of you did a good job!
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6/10
Too much hype, not enough show
sare7 February 1999
For weeks prior to the premiere of The 60's I heard a lot of hype about how it was going to be an accurate portrayal of the 1960's. There was so much hype surrounding the mini-series, yet I found that when I watched it, the program did not live up to its intents. The storyline followed too much on the romantic relationships of the characters and not enough on what they were doing at the time. Everything I read and heard about the program did not indicate that there would also be a focus on a black family, however, when I read my T.V. guide it said that The 60's would be about the lives of a

white and black family during the time frame. While watching the program I noticed that the focus was mainly on the white family and that the black family was seldom included. All in all I found this program to have had too much hype and not enough show for four hours of my time, there was however, an excellent soundtrack.
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The Cliché
vertigo_142 June 2004
It's been a long time since I've seen this movie and I only watched it once when it premiered on TV. But I do remember that it was just like about twenty other movies about family's lives in the 1960s I had seen around the same time, most of them reruns on Lifetime TV.

The typical family arrangement goes like this. There is a father, mother, sister, and two brothers in one family. They're usually at each other's throats about the war. This is usually a white Midwest family. The father is the aggressive, ultra-masculine type who usually forbids his wife to vote for Kennedy or to go to work. The wife is usually timid, bet is the neutral force and go-between among the family as the children, once they get older, have great difficulty reasonably communicated with their passe dad. And the kids usually come in threes. That is, the daughter during this period usually gets pregnant and leaves home to join a hippie commune to indulge in some sort of meaningless psychadelic destraction. There is usually one son--the father's favorite--who enlists in the war, to go off to Vietnam and come back an opponent of the war (if he doesn't die in the war as he does in about half of the stories) to the dismay of his father. And third, is usually either a homosexual or against the war from the start and is, either way, banished from the family by decree of a stubborn father.

Because the characters are supposed to be the padigram of the entire 1960s American political spectrum(or lack there of), you also have the struggle of the black family, usually a son and father who are engaged in a desperate civil rights battle somewhere in the inner city, usually Detroit. The father is still a great believer in the doctrines of Martin Luther King and his civil disobedience philosophies while the son, of a new generation of minorities struggling for equality, is fond of the "By Any Means Necessary" approach of Malcom X.

These are the two archetype families of the 1960s made-for-TV dramas that you have these days, each pretty much being unrecognizable from one another and all meant to tell you the same thing. The decade created a lot of turmoil and confusion, and especially tension among families. You were dealing with a lot of things--the war, the civil rights era, and so forth. I don't know why every decided to make a big deal out of this particular movie. "The 60S" really doesn't offer anything that wasn't done before in the numerous films just like it. I think it just got all the rave because the cast is more well-known than the CBS reject movies you'd see on Lifetime TV or whatever.
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Loved it!
elijahwood_lover23 April 2000
Well, never have i seen such a great drama as this, because i am so young, it is hard to understand the 60's as i wasn't there, but this is one fantastic series that i'll always remember! I think this is Julia Stiles best work, she put such detail into her character. Great piece of work!
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great movie!
kepsam-225 March 2000
For a television movie, this movie was good. Others found it poor because it was hyped too much. Problem was, they let the hype get to them..BIG MISTAKE. As I was saying, this is a good movie. The acting was above average, the story did not drag & the plot did not ONLY contain a romantic story, it also had most of the big events re-acted & I thought those were some of the greatest scenes a t.v. movie has made in a long time.

Grade: A-
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10/10
great
hitman-3216 January 2000
Well let me go say this because i love history and I know that movie is most important piece in our history and it was beautifully executed movie and Julia Stiles became my #1 favorite actress after seeing her in "The '60s" and i own this movie in my video box with many movies and i suggest you to look for her new movies in the future and try to enjoy history!!!!
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8/10
You had to be there
Colleen-2015 August 1999
I lived during those times and I think the program caught the heart of the era. I do think it should have dealt with more of the Afro American issue but I think it cover a lot in the program. It was scary to sit and watch the riots on T V hoping that they would not go as far as your families home and that it would not get burnt down. I thought Jerry O'Connell did a great job portraying a vet coming back from the war. I went to school with guys who came back. Some had changed more than others and some not so much. It bothers me when someone comments that an issue was not covered enough or it was not entertaining enough. Live through it and then make comments. I thought the movie was great and that everyone in it did a remarkable job. Thank you for a trip (sad and good) down memory lane.
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Fascinating Depiction of a Remarkable Time!
Dom-4515 August 1999
Contrary to a previous review, I found this movie very enjoyable. Perhaps people should not listen to all the hype and just watch the movie in fresh state of mind. There is nothing worse than having rumours and hype ruin a movie for you.

I feel that this movie can only be accurately reviewed by someone, such as myself, who saw with a clear mind. From beginning to end I found myself captivated. I thought I was going to die of suspense waiting for the second part to begin the next night.

The characters were very interesting and the acting was top rate. Kudos to Julia Stiles for her portrayal of a single mother in the late sixties.

I recommend this movie to anyone who is interested in that era. It is available on video, I have my copy, go get yours! I will be watching it regularly until the sequel- The '70's comes to television.
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Hi my name is stereotype, and I am the star of this movie.
Lintjello8 July 1999
This mini-series has like every 60s stereotype: the impressionable youth who gets swept up in the social movements of the 60s, the hometown hero who goes to Vietnam and comes back disillusioned and confused, the foolish teenage girl who gets thrown out of her house and becomes a hippie in California, the over-zealous protest organizer, the angry black youth who becomes a black panther, blah blah blah. There are also some super cheesy parts, like when Michael (one of the main characters) turns out to be the guy in that famous photograph of the protester putting a daisy in the barrel of a Nat'l Guardsman's rifle. Don't get me wrong, it was enjoyable but it could have been a LOT better, and it certainly didn't live up the hype that surrounded it in the weeks prior to its airing. I think NBC could have done a better job, but... oh well. The acting was great with a few exceptions. I'd recommend renting this (NBC released the whole thing on video), but don't expect great things.
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