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The Assassination of Richard Nixon (2004)

2:32 | Trailer

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Based on real life events, Assassination is set in 1974 and centers on a businessman who decides to take extreme measures to achieve his American dream.


Niels Mueller
2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Sean Penn ... Samuel J. Bicke
Naomi Watts ... Marie Andersen Bicke
Don Cheadle ... Bonny Simmons
Jack Thompson ... Jack Jones
Brad William Henke ... Martin Jones (as Brad Henke)
Nick Searcy ... Tom Ford
Michael Wincott ... Julius Bicke
Mykelti Williamson ... Harold Mann
April Grace ... Mae Simmons
Lily Knight ... Receptionist
Jared Dorrance ... Sammy Jr.
Jenna Milton ... Ellen
Mariah Massa ... Julie
Eileen Ryan ... Marie's Mother
Derek Greene Derek Greene ... Joey Simmons


Fact-based story about a disturbed office furniture salesman who in 1972 concocted a plot to kill then-President Nixon by hi-jacking a plane to fly over the White House to drop a gas bomb. At the start of the movie, the man is separated from his wife and stressed in his job where he is made the butt of jokes and is an under-performer. Attempts to get his brother's old tire business resurrected with a black partner is rejected by the banks. When he is officially served with divorce papers, everything comes apart and Richard Nixon's broken promises comes to represent all the evils that have come down on him. A news story about a pilot that landed a helicopter on the White House lawn gives him the idea for his attack. Bolting onto a Baltimore plane, he attempts the hi-jacking. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The mad story of a true man. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and a scene of graphic violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



USA | Mexico



Release Date:

22 October 2004 (Greece) See more »

Also Known As:

The Assassination of L.B.J. See more »

Filming Locations:

Alameda, California, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$37,547, 2 January 2005, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$697,759, 27 February 2005
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


Black and White (archive footage)| Color (archive footage)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The nick-name of Samuel J. Byck (Sean Penn) was "Sam". See more »


The main hero is taking horizontal elevator at 1:18. This type of moving walkway was first introduced in airports in the mid-1950s and is used to great effect in the opening shots of the 1967 Dustin Hoffman film The Graduate. See more »


[first lines]
Samuel Bicke: Testing. Testing. Testing. One, two, three. Mr. Maestro, Leonard Bernstein, tape number one.
See more »


Features Let's Make a Deal (1963) See more »


Piano Sonata No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 2
Performed by the Studio Symphony Orchestra Prague
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
Produced by Steven Stern and Jack Smalley
See more »

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User Reviews

London Bridge is Falling Down
10 April 2005 | by CuriosityKilledShawnSee all my reviews

Much like the Joel Schumacher film of 1993 starring Michael Douglas, this film is about an ordinary man with an ordinary job who is driven to insanity by the injustice and unfairness of his world. While both films teach us that no matter how solid it seems, everything will crumble under enough pressure there is no humor to TAORN. In fact it's the most depressing film like...ever.

I don't know what made me go see TAORN. I'd heard nothing of it but I like Sean Penn and Naomi Watts (they were in the brilliant 21 Grams together) and everything else at the cinema I had either seen or looked crap (Man of the House, Miss Congenatailiality 2) so I chose this, hoping it to be a dark horse. It was well made and acted but it's really, really heavy and I would not recommend it to anyone bored with their jobs or lives in general.

Sean Penn plays the true story of Sam Bicke, a furniture salesman who is estranged from his family, his wife, his children, his colleagues...basically everything. He sees the fatcats around him growing richer and richer while he rots away in his inescapable reality of nothingness. He blames Dick Nixon for his woes, the fattest of all fatcats, the man at the top of the food chain. He believes that if he kills Nixon he might be able to make the slightest of changes to the racist, lying world.

Of course he failed, but watching Sam Bicke crash and burn is a very painful thing to do. What makes it more distressing is that there is never a reason given as to why everyone deserted him. It gave the impression that anyone can be so callous and uncaring and that anyone can be driven to such insanity and desperate measures.

Not a film to see with your girlfriend that's for damn sure but certainly an impressive, if tough to watch, piece of work.

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