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Frost/Nixon (2008)

 -  Drama | History  -  23 January 2009 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 79,751 users   Metascore: 80/100
Reviews: 235 user | 297 critic | 38 from Metacritic.com

A dramatic retelling of the post-Watergate television interviews between British talk-show host David Frost and former president Richard Nixon.

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Storyline

Writer Peter Morgan's legendary battle between Richard Nixon, the disgraced president with a legacy to save, and David Frost, a jet-setting television personality with a name to make, in the story of the historic encounter that changed both their lives. For three years after being forced from office, Nixon remained silent. But in summer 1977, the steely, cunning former commander-in-chief agreed to sit for one all-inclusive interview to confront the questions of his time in office and the Watergate scandal that ended his presidency. Nixon surprised everyone in selecting Frost as his televised confessor, intending to easily outfox the breezy British showman and secure a place in the hearts and minds of Americans (as well as a $600,000 fee). Likewise, Frost's team harbored doubts about their boss' ability to hold his own. But as cameras rolled, a charged battle of wits resulted. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

400 million people were waiting for the truth. See more »

Genres:

Drama | History

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

23 January 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Duel Frost/Nixon  »

Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£591,411 (UK) (23 January 2009)

Gross:

$18,593,156 (USA) (20 March 2009)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Frank Langella won a Tony Award in 2007 for playing Richard Nixon in the original stage production. See more »

Goofs

While Frost and his team are doing research, modern VHS cassettes are visible in one scene. While the VHS format debuted in September 1976, it's extremely unlikely that they would have had VHS tapes of events that happened 2 years earlier. See more »

Quotes

David Frost: [Picking up the phone, thinking it's room service] I'll have a cheeseburger.
Richard Nixon: [drunk] Mmm. That sounds good. I used to love cheeseburgers, but Dr. Lundgren made me give them up. He switched me to cottage cheese and pineapple instead. He calls them my Hawaiian burgers, but they don't taste like burgers at all. They taste like Styrofoam.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Michael Sheen and Frank Langella are credited simultaneously before the title. Sheen's name is on a lower level, but further to the left; while Langella's is higher up, but pushed to the right. Therefore, depending on whether you read the card top-to-bottom or left-to-right, either actor can be seen as being credited first. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Trip: The Yorke Arms (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

I Feel Love
Written by Donna Summer, Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte
Performed by Donna Summer
Courtesy of The Island Def Jam Music Group
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Great cast, excellent screenplay
15 December 2008 | by (prejudicemadeplausible.wordpress.com) – See all my reviews

The Frost/Nixon interviews are fascinating. Not every second of them, especially not when Nixon rambles on and on, avoiding questions by offering anecdotes in place of answers. Yet, they are an invaluable historical document, which allow us the rare privilege of seeing a major politician as a human being and nothing else. As interesting as the interviews themselves is the lead-up to them, the circumstances surrounding them, and the characters involved, particularly Frost and Nixon, of course. One could say that you only need to watch the actual footage, but there's ample room for a great dramatization, but it needed an even-handed approach, and certainly needed no political preaching.

I have a personal dislike for Ron Howard as a director, a result of my sensibilities mainly, I suspect. Howard strikes me as a particularly heavy-handed, didactic director who has wasted many great concepts on mediocre films (out of 18 films I've seen by him, I only genuinely liked "Apollo 13". I was expecting the worst with "Frost/Nixon", but instead was met with one of the most entertaining films in a while, and a remarkably well-acted, even-handed, quality character study. I suppose I should have been prepared for a quality screenplay given the success of this Peter Morgan play in New York and London, but I was hardly expecting something this good. It's glib, funny, well-paced, expertly-structured, clever, observant, and intelligent. It creates a fascinating Nixon, played brilliantly by the great Frank Langella, though this is not quite up there with the likes of Oliver Stone's sadly under-appreciated "Nixon" or Robert Altman's endlessly fascinating "Secret Honor". The film is almost surprisingly well-directed, although there is a bit of the old TV trick of shaking the camera a bit, panning too often, to give the illusion of motion and energy when there's really just people in a room talking. The conversation's interesting enough, there's no need for that. Oh well, I suppose I am nitpicking.

As far as Nixon movies go this is lightweight entertainment with plenty of comic moments largely leading up to two or three scenes of real human vulnerability. Aside from these scenes (which are truly, truly excellent), Peter Morgan conceives the meeting as something of a chess match with the unpredictability of a boxing match. To use J. Hoberman's words 'a prize fight between two comeback-hungry veterans, only one of whom could win'. On paper this could have been very heavy on amateur psychoanalysis and low on entertainment value but Morgan and I suppose Howard as well are clever enough to have some fun with the idea. This is not a criticism at all, the film has moments of surprisingly real depth and intellectualism, but overall the nature of the script works in its favor, makes those scenes more interesting, more ultimately rewarding.

"Frost/Nixon" is an entertaining, exciting film, around as populist as I expected but in a very different way. This is the sort of writing we don't see enough of, particularly not in today's films. It's vaguely reminiscent of a particularly good BBC television drama. The cast is certainly good enough for that. Langella and Michael Sheen are outstanding, both manage to accurately portray the real-life men they are portraying while still adding some characterization and mannerisms of their own. Langella's Tony-award winning performance might be up for Oscar consideration soon, but Sheen's Frost almost upstages him at times. No heavy-handedness, no political 'messages', just a fun, clever script and a great cast in a well-made film.


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Nixon being pardoned a good idea? Writerchamp13
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Australians TayshaWaffles
Frost comes out very badly dazfiddy
Was the audience supposed to have pity for Richard Nixon? This_is_an_outrage
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