Pete McCloskey: Leading from the Front
Pete McCloskey: Leading from the Front
Pete McCloskey: Leading from the Front
Item#: PET-1048
License:  Format: 

Running Time: 54 minutes
Grades 7-Adult
A film by Robert Caughlan
Scene Selection
Closed Captioned


"Highly recommended. Riveting... Robert Caughlan's film provides a fascinating, never-flagging account of this remarkable man. McCloskey... invariably chose conviction over self-interest. And the convictions more often than not appear on the historically just side despite their political fragility at the time he proclaimed them. An exemplary, larger-than-life life. A film more than worthy of its extraordinary subject."
- Educational Media Reviews Online

“Four Stars. Caughlan (has) crammed a whole lot of history in a short period of time…the one thing you'll want after viewing "McCloskey" is more. Revealing commentary is provided by Daniel Ellsberg, McCloskey biographer Lou Cannon and others, but it's just not enough: Pete McCloskey's too interesting, too refreshingly candid and seemingly singularly principled to be confined to an hourlong documentary.”
- San Francisco Chronicle



Broadcast on PBS


All prices include DVD and PPR

K-12 Schools & Public Libraries: $89
Colleges, Institutions, & Businesses: $195
Colleges, Institutions, & Businesses (with DSL): $495

Narrated by Paul Newman

Pete McCloskey: Leading from the Front tells the colorful story of former Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey, a true political "maverick”, who was both a Marine war hero in Korea and a leading peace advocate during Vietnam.

While representing California's 11th District from 1967 to 1983 (now Silicon Valley), McCloskey became one of the first members of Congress to oppose the war in Vietnam, and in 1972 ran against President Nixon as an anti-war Presidential candidate. In 1973, after the Watergate scandal broke, McCloskey was the first member of Congress from either party to call for the impeachment of Nixon, his own party's President.

Before he served in Congress, McCloskey was one of the nation's first environmental lawyers, and one of the first attorneys to racially integrate his legal practice. As a member of Congress, he co-chaired the first Earth Day in 1970, co-authored the Endangered Species Act, and contributed to other environmental laws including the Clean Air and Clean Water acts.

McCloskey did not go quietly into retirement. In 2006, at age 78, he was so outraged by the corruption in the Republican-controlled Congress and his party’s anti-environmental policies that he led what he called “the revolt of the elders.” McCloskey reentered politics to run against Congressman Richard Pombo in the Republican primary, which contributed to Pombo's defeat in the general election.

McCloskey's story offers an example of an authentic hero who dedicates his life to public service and follows his conscience, despite the prevailing political winds. The documentary cuts through contemporary biases based on ideologies and party affiliations to open a unique window onto an important span of our nation's history. In so doing, it enables that history to illuminate present day politics and issues in a new, even refreshing light.