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Frost/Nixon (2008)

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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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(screenplay), (play)
Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 21 wins & 71 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Richard Nixon
... David Frost
... James Reston, Jr.
... Jack Brennan
... John Birt
... Bob Zelnick
... Caroline Cushing
... Swifty Lazar
... Frank Gannon
... Diane Sawyer
... Ken Khachigian
... Ray Price
... Pat Nixon
... Interview Director
... Lloyd Davis
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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:

An epic battle for the truth See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

23 January 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Duel Frost/Nixon  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$180,708, 7 December 2008, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$18,593,156, 22 March 2009
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Technical Specs

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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The opening film of the 52nd London Film Festival. See more »

Goofs

Upon Frost's first meeting with Nixon at La Casa Pacifica, the former president tells a story about presenting Soviet Premier Brezhnev with a Lincoln Continental. Although Brezhnev was given several American cars as gifts, only one was a Continental. This was given to him in 1973 at Camp David, not La Casa Pacifica. See more »

Quotes

Richard Nixon: That's our tragedy, you and I Mr. Frost. No matter how high we get, they still look down at us.
David Frost: I really don't know what you're talking about.
Richard Nixon: Yes you do. Now come on. No matter how many awards or column inches are written about you, or how high the elected office is, it's still not enough. We still feel like the little man. The loser. They told us we were a hundred times, the smart asses in college, the high ups. The well-born. The people who's respect we really wanted. Really craved. And ...
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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 Na plovárne: Na plovárne s Peterem Morganem (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

By George It's David Frost
Written by George Martin (as George Henry Martin)
Performed by Atli Örvarsson
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Great cast, excellent screenplay
15 December 2008 | by 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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