I love documentaries to tell me something new about someone or something I thought I knew.  Jimmy Carter was a decent president who, sadly, is mostly remembered for the fiasco with the 52 people from the US Embassy in Tehran who were taken hostage by the Iranian people.  This terrible time lasted from November 4, 1979 until January 20, 1981.  The ordeal lasted 444 days, highlighted by the disastrous failed rescue attempt, Operation Eagle Claw, that cost the lives one Iranian civilian and 8 US servicemen.  And insult-to-injury, the Iranians gave the hostages back to us on the day that Ronald Reagan, the next President, took office.

And while this event is spoken of in the film that is not the true subject of this piece.  Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President celebrates the man’s connection to the music of our country.  His love of all music and nearly encyclopedic memory of it helped him to become friends with several performers who became instrumental in assisting him in his run for thew White House.

This film is chock-full of stories told to us by the likes of Gregg Allman (Allman Brothers Band), Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Bono, Trisha Yearwood, and Garth Brooks.  Adding insight to the political side were several members of Mr. Carter’s staff including former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

These stories are intermixed with footage as we watch the peanut farmer from Georgia run for Governor of Georgia and then President of the United States.  They show a man who was a grounded, god-loving individual whose love of music made friends with performers as well as regular folks while he campaigned.

The film attributes his successful campaigns to the concerts by the Allman Brothers Band and others that raised the money which helped his run for office to succeed.  Once in office, we are shown that his friendship didn’t disappear (as happens in politics so many times) but extended to numerous musicians coming to the White House for visits and concerts.  The bands didn’t always let anyone know they were coming, shown with the story of Crosby, Stills, and Nash arriving at the gate to see the President and getting in!

As a tribute to Mr. Carter’s deep love of music, and his deep belief in peace, this film does an excellent job of delving into the stories from both sides.  It does a good job of showing us the light side of his presidential tenure and gives us a quote from the former president that told us how happy he was that no bombs were dropped, no wars fought, during his administration.

Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President is a nice film about Jimmy Carter giving us something to think about.  Can a man of God who believes in peace be President of the United States without the office breaking him?  In Jimmy Carter’s case, I believe the answer is yes.  His actions since he left office, as shown in the film, have proved this to be true.  For the pleasure that the stories gave me, leavened with the dark Iran debacle, I give this film 4.5-stars.


Directed by: Mary Wharton

Cast: Jimmy Carter, Trisha Yearwood, Roseanne Cash, Willie Nelson, Madeleine Albright, Tom Beard, Bono, Rosalynn Carter, Bob Dylan, Garth Brooks

MPAA Rating: NR

Selig Rating: 4.5 Stars

Runtime: 96 Min.

Movie Site: https://www.jimmycartermovie.com/



The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.

4 Stars – Good movie

3 Stars – OK movie

2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.

1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.

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