The Unseen Robert F. Kennedy

Jun 12, 2018
7:00 PM ET
New York

The Paley Center is honored to present a very special look at Robert F. Kennedy through revealing outtake footage from the 1963 documentary Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment that has never been seen by the public. One of the most penetrating documentaries of all time, Crisis examined the Kennedy Administration as it grappled with the integration of the University of Alabama. Produced by Robert Drew, the film yielded an intimate portrait of two brothers—the President and the Attorney General—reviewing their options to further the civil rights movement. The Drew estate, working with the Academy Film Archive, which preserves the collection, has uncovered more than seven hours of outtakes, notably featuring Robert Kennedy in conversation with officials and family. Thirty minutes of highlights from this archive will be screened, revealing a very intimate look at RFK as politician and father. After the screening, a panel of family members and experts will consider the legacy of Robert Kennedy on the fiftieth anniversary of his tragic assassination and his relevance to today.

Support for this event is provided by The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation.

The photo above [Courtesy of Drew Associates] shows Robert Kennedy with daughter Kerry.

Patron Circle Reception presented by Citi
To attend a private reception with the panelists before the public program, join the Paley Patron Circle. This exclusive Patron Circle Reception is presented by Citi.



Paley Members get presale access and ticket discounts!
Become a Member: Join us online or contact Membership at 212.621.6780.

Events and participants are subject to change.


The Paley Center recommends two programs to be viewed at our library consoles as we contemplate the life and legacy of Robert F. Kennedy.

Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment
(ABC; 1963)
One of the classic documentaries of all time, Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment revealed in true cinema-verite fashion the Kennedy Administration as it negotiated the integration of the University of Alabama in June 1963. Produced by Robert Drew, the film provides a behind-the-scenes access of two brothers, President John F. Kennedy and the Attorney General Robert Kennedy, reviewing their options with staff to further the civil rights movement. Fred Kaplan of the New York Times noted that “the first movie that Barack Obama should watch in the White House screening room” is Crisis because it is “a portrait of what shrewd executive power is all about.”

A Contemporary Memorial: Tribute to Robert F. Kennedy
(WCBS; 1968)
Produced just days after the assassination of Robert K. Kennedy, A Contemporary Memorial: Tribute to Robert F. Kennedy featured contemporary jazz performers and poetry in tribute to the fallen leader. Produced by the pioneering Ethel Burns, this special used jazz to express the many moods of loss and mourning that the country was feeling. This remarkable roster of performers included Duke Ellington, Joe Williams, Horace Silver, the Modern Jazz Quartet, the Bill Evans Trio, and the Thad Jones and Mel Lewis Band. Jazz critic Ira Gitler noted that this salute to Robert Kennedy was “one of the best and longest programs of jazz ever presented.” The Paley Center is pleased to preserve the only existing copy of this remarkable broadcast.


Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
Kerry Kennedy
Lawrence O’Donnell
D.A. Pennebaker
, Special Guest
Moderator: Jeff Greenfield
Jill Drew, General Manager, Drew Associates
will introduce the screening


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