Hubert H. Humphrey: The Art of the Possible

FOR PBS | 2010 | Run Time: 120 minutes

Get the film!

About the Film:

For the last half of the 20th century, America was consumed by two struggles: the civil rights movement and the cold war. For 30 years Hubert Humphrey stood at the center of both. While he is most remembered for his loss to Richard Nixon in the 1968 presidential campaign, Humphrey left behind a legacy that few presidents can match. As a soldier of the New Deal and Great Society, he amassed one of the most prolific legislative records in senate history — from Medicare to the Peace Corps.
But Humphrey’s most significant and enduring achievements were in the area of civil and human rights. This film explores his 1948 speech at the Democratic convention and his pivotal contribution to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In November of 1977, for the first time in U.S. history, Congress held a joint special session to honor a single senator. Special feature – a 1976 Bill Moyer’s interview with Hubert Humphrey.

Last evening I was among more than a thousand people who watched, laughed, gasped and wept at Mick Caouette’s HUBERT H. HUMPHREY: THE ART OF THE POSSIBLE during the premiere in Minneapolis. It is a powerful film about arguably the most important United States Senator of the 20th century whose great personal courage shaped the world we live in. I knew Hubert Humphrey well and lived through many of the events that Caouette brings to life again, including the momentous enactment of civil rights legislation, the Vietnam debacle, and the violence that shook the streets of Chicago in l968.

The film resonates as if it were about the morning’s headlines. It is not only a true study of Humphrey — warts and all — but also a look at the era, a story whose relevance for our time is remarkable. It is an important and fresh exploration of American history.

The audience didn’t want to leave, and the conversation continued well into the evening: about the role of government, the clash of principle and compromise, and what has to happen to bring about the bi-partisan collaboration that enables democracy to work. This is a dramatic and gripping a story, one audiences will not soon forget. To take this long poignant event-driven life and reduce it to a compelling two hours is a work of art.

When it was over the audience rose as one in a standing ovation for the director, Mick Caouette, who worked for years to bring about one of the most moving, revealing and honest films you will ever see about American politics.

Bill Moyers

This is a marvelous story about an American politician who truly cared about America and the American people…This film tells the Hubert Humphrey story with great insight and balance. It is not a commercial for Humphrey; it is a factual presentation of the great issues of the Cold War and Civil Rights and Humphrey’s role in dealing with these issues. This film is highly recommended to anyone who is sick with contemporary American politics and would like to see how it used to be practiced. It gives one great hope that maybe we can get there again some day. It is a film well worth watching . . . and watching again.

John G. Stewart

Review from

An excellent presentation of the life, times and actions of Hubert H. Humphrey at a time when men and women of the US Congress actually worked together to pass successful legislation to improve the lives of Americans. A picture of a time when Americans trusted their government and appreciated actions to make their lives a bit easier not for just some but for all.


Review from

  • Humphrey, Hubert H. and Norman Ed. Sherman. (1991). Education of a Public Man: My Life and Politics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Solberg, Carl. (2003). Hubert Humphrey: A Biography. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press.
  • Garrettson, Charles. (1993). Hubert H Humphrey: The Politics of Joy. Piscataway: Transaction Publishers.

Have you seen Hubert H. Humphrey: The Art of the Possible?

Let me know what you think