A film by Robert Drew

1960 / documentary / Etats-Unis / original title : PRIMARY / 53’ / Noir & blanc / status : completed / English / General Audience / French and International catalog

The first of four critically acclaimed films focusing on John F. Kennedy, Robert Drew’s breakthrough documentary PRIMARY travels along with the then-senator as he campaigns against Hubert Humphrey for the 1960 Democratic presidential nomination. Allowing viewers to experience events along with the Kennedys, the film captures JFK’s rational, charismatic presence, the frenzied urban crowds, Jackie Kennedy’s calm radiance, and Humphrey’s populist appeal. Revealing the personalities and politics of the campaign trail as they had never been seen before, PRIMARY offers a compelling glimpse into the early career of one of the world’s most captivating leaders.


Drew pioneered cinéma vérité in America by developing cameras and sync sound equipment that were for the first time small enough to move along with people and capture real life as it happened. The groundbreaking films by Drew and his Associates set a new standard for documentary filmmaking, creating what John F. Kennedy called “a new form of history.”