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Honest Man: The Life of R. Budd Dwyer (2010)

7.4
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Honest Man: the Life of R. Budd Dwyer is a movie about politics and corruption, suicide and survival. Four years in the making, it explores the scandal that led an honest, hard-working man ... See full summary »

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Title: Honest Man: The Life of R. Budd Dwyer (2010)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Dyan Dwyer ...
Herself
Joanne Dwyer ...
Herself
R. Budd Dwyer ...
Himself (voice)
Robert Dwyer ...
Himself
...
William Smith ...
Himself
...
John Torquato
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Storyline

Honest Man: the Life of R. Budd Dwyer is a movie about politics and corruption, suicide and survival. Four years in the making, it explores the scandal that led an honest, hard-working man to take his own life. This independently produced feature-length documentary follows Budd Dwyer, a Pennsylvania politician who infamously committed suicide at a televised press conference. The film chronicles Dwyer's meteoric rise to political power and examines the bribery scandal and subsequent trial that pushed him to his breaking point. Honest Man also delves into the controversy and consequences of the uncensored airing of Dwyer's death on television stations worldwide. Honest Man reveals a story that has remained untold for over 24 years. The film features exclusive new interviews, including William Smith, the man whose testimony convicted Dwyer, and Dwyer's widow Joanne--her last interview before her death in 2009. Was Dwyer venal, or a victim? Did he kill himself because he couldn't live ... Written by Eighty Four Films

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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This was the only on camera interview William Smith ever gave. See more »

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User Reviews

 
A terribly one-sided "documentary".
5 February 2012 | by See all my reviews

I just finished the film and was taken by how one sided it turned out to be. At least half of the film covers his past. It plays out more like a tribute to the main character - Budd Dwyer.

The film is composed entirely of interviews and news casts. Headlines and partially highlighted newspaper articles are repeatedly shown. The selection of people interviewed and the amount of air time they are given all create bias towards Dwyer.

One example is the the appointment of a federal prosecutor. The film has someone interviewed stating that the "Democratic governor" had a role in his appointment. That is far from being true as it was a federal crime. The president at the time was Ronald Reagan who was also head of the Republican party. The Attorney General of the US is appointed by the president and he in turn assigns federal prosecutors. The "documentary" tries to make it seem that the Democratic governor who felt wronged by Dwyer was out for vengeance.

Another example of biasness is when the film shows the man who gave Dwyer the bribe money. William Smith, the district Republican chief, states in one scene of the film he was surprised that Dwyer accepted the money when he offered it to him. This would seem to indicate he knew it was bribe money. The film then tries to show he lied at Dwyer's trial because he was offered a plea bargain. One scene lasts three seconds and the other 4 minutes. Be very careful while watching as you may miss items as they are being glossed over by the filmmakers. Afterwards think about all you have seen and make your own decision regarding the case.

The interviews with Dwyer's son unwittingly show how he failed as a father. His son is not a very nice or compassionate man. The film spends far too much time interviewing Bud Dwyer's friends and family. It does not spend enough time combing through the case which led to his conviction.

The "documentary" did not do a very good job when explaining the charges against Dwyer. Instead it quickly introduced the evidence and witnesses then spent more time trying to demean them. It's as if the filmmakers felt only the headlines and a few quips were sufficient. I took issue with this and realized how poorly done the film had become.

I enjoy watching documentaries and exploring issues in an unbiased manner. This film really was a let down. I would say it is more of a propaganda piece than anything else. If you always felt Bud Dwyer was innocent or were one of his supporters then this film may be enjoyable. No one can feel good about what Dwyer did in taking his own life but do not let that act cloud your own judgment when viewing the film. I can not recommend others view it.


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