The Good

It is great to see how this amazing man became the leader of the free world.

The Bad

If one watches the news with any kind of regularity they already know most of this stuff.By the People – The Election of Barack Obama is an insiders look at the campaign that brought this man to the presidency. We see Barack on the road, Barack stumping for his campaign, Barack with his campaign workers, Barack with his family, etc. Ultimately, this 116 minute film plays as a love letter and a “thank you” to the many people who worked to bring this man to office. It is insightful, witty, and overall inspiring to see how this man mobilized people after 8 years of the Bush Presidency. Seeing Barack at work one gets the sense that this person, despite the vagaries of the political process, is genuine. Sure, he needs to make deals and work with people to compromise on a lot of big issues, but overall I think his policies are changing this country for the better.

This is why he was elected and that spirit is deftly captured here in By the People – The Election of Barack Obama.


Commentary Track

Amy Rice and Alicia Sams take us through the process of making this movie (which is why I didn’t review the Making Of Segment; Why repeat myself, right?). We find out how they got involved, how they got access to certain shots, and what it was like working with Obama and the rest of the creative team. What makes this commentary so interesting as that they really take users into the process of making a documentary film. They talk about trying to get specific shots, creating reality, and documenting a historic event and everything that that entails.

Making Of and Bonus Scenes


1.78:1 – Anamorphic Widescreen. This movie looks amazing. I know that the filmmakers had a decent budget and access to incredible equipment, but Amy Rice has done a fine job as the Director of Photography. Considering the myriad of shooting conditions, she has done an incredible job capturing the moments that comprise this film. The DVD transfer looks really nice as well. They haven’t over-compressed anything and I didn’t see any areas on the screen where things looked like they got burned in the compression process.


English 5.1 Dolby Digital. English and English SDH. Again, when one considers all of the places that this documentary was shot, they will be quite impressed with the sound design. Everything is pretty typical regarding the audio and what we hear, but they do try and enhance scenes with music to give this movie a certain feel. All in all, the audio is solid even though it is somewhat unspectacular. However, the biggest thing is the story and this DVD has that down.


4 images of Barack Obama are presented on this cover. One is of him in front of a lot of people shaking hands, the others are more candid moments of him talking to constituents one on one. The back features 4 more images of our president, a description of what this DVD is about, a Special Features section, a cast list and technical specs.

Final Word

Okay, so Barack Obama has been in office over a year and people are wondering about the changes he promised. Apparently, he is approval rating is going down, he has committed more U.S. troops to fight in Afghanistan and his health care bill is going to pass even though it probably won’t have the teeth that people want it to have. That said, I don’t think that we can really complain if you voted for him. In my opinion, Afghanistan is the only place the war on terror should have been conducted with U.S. boots on the ground. Going into Iraq was a mistake but one that we need to clean up since we made the lionshare of the mess. The health care bill, while not containing a lot of provisions that many democrats would like to see, is going to change the rules and hopefully lower costs for the people currently getting shafted by their insurers. Obama has a jobs stimulus plan in place, it just needs to be brought out, and he would be the first to tell you that there’s a lot more work to be done. So why don’t we let him work?

Personally, I am quite pleased with the job he is doing. Remember, after you have garbage piled on you for 8 years, it’s going to take some time to wipe it off.

How does this political diatribe play into my review of this DVD? Well, lets just say that in watching By the People I was reminded of why I believed in Obama and why I believe in my country in the first place. This is fine, fine movie.

By The People: The Election of Barack Obama was released November 9, 2009.