Taking on the Kennedys

PBS' POV Series (1996)
Director: Joshua Seftel

What would it be like to run against one of the most powerful political families in America? This classic campaign documentary follows an idealistic political novice named Kevin Vigilante as he takes on 26-year-old Patrick Kennedy in a run for U.S. Congress in 1994. As Vigilante and Kennedy engage in full-scale battle — hurling mud, running negative ads (Kennedy’s ads produced by David Axelrod), and nearly coming to blows on the sidewalk — filmmaker Joshua Seftel gives us a rare glimpse into the inner workings of a horribly ugly race. A funny, cringe-worthy ride, the film deftly exposes how political campaigns are won and lost.


“If you want to understand American Politics, watch this film.”
– The Chicago Tribune

“Wry and winning.”
– Wall Street Journal

“…a film that would be mistaken for a Robert Altman political satire if it weren’t absolutely and horribly true.”
– USA Today

“…all the populist wit of a Michael Moore piece without the contrivances.”
- The Best of 1996, Time Magazine

Chosen by Time Magazine as “The Best of 1996.”

20th Anniversary screening at Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in 2016