Barry Goldwater An American Life

Barry Goldwater

An American Life

Program Time: 96 minutes
Host: Bill McCune


The late U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater has come to be viewed as a rare commodity: An intellectually honest politician. “He has the courage of his convictions,” said some.

“I may not agree with him, but by God you can believe what he says!” said others.

Barry Goldwater may have lost the 1964 Presidential election but his story warrants more than a political footnote. This program is not just a political history. But as the title implies, it is the broader story of an extraordinary American life.

Even if he had never served thirty-five years as a United States Senator from Arizona, his story would be worth telling: Born in Arizona Territory (January 1, 1909,) the son of a somewhat patrician, pioneer, merchant family, he can be described as a renaissance man.

Before he ever ran for public office (Phoenix City Council, 1949,) he was a world renowned photographer of Native Americans; an explorer; amateur anthropologist; and barn-storming pilot. He retired from the U.S. Air Force Reserve as a two-star General.

This documentary has an additional element: Barry Goldwater started shooting home movies on 16mm film as early as 1927, and continued to do so through the late 1960s. He also accumulated numerous hours of news film and campaign commercials from his 40-year political career. He made these invaluable collections available to us for the production of this biography.


When Barry died, we produced a special television broadcast of this documentary. Where commercial breaks would have gone, we went to three or four minute “in-studio” segments of reminiscences about him. Participating in those discussions were his brother, Bob Goldwater; former Congressman Barry Goldwater, Jr.; Arizona Republic reporter Paul Schatt who “covered” Barry for forty years; Arizona Governor Jane Hull; Congressman John Shadegg, whose late father Steve Shadegg had been Goldwater’s political advisor; and Bill McCune who produced and hosts the documentary.

These segments, totaling nearly 24 minutes of remembrance, have been edited together and added to the end of the otherwise uninterrupted documentary.

Featured participants include:
Barry Goldwater
Bob Goldwater (brother)
Harry Rosenzweig (lifelong best friend)
Lester ‘Budge’ Ruffner (historian and friend)