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
Frost and Nixon behave as if they've never met before. In real life, Frost interviewed Nixon when he ran for president in 1968. Nixon enjoyed the interview so much that after he was elected, he met with Frost in the White House to discuss producing a television special. See more »
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 »
Peter Morgan adapted his wonderful stage play Frost/Nixon for film with tremendous success. Directed by Ron Howard and starring Michael Sheen as David Frost and Frank Langella as Nixon, it tells the behind-the-scenes story of the famous series of interviews.
For all many of us who lived through the Nixon presidency and Watergate, this is not the stuff of nostalgia or happy reminiscence. And when the Nixon tapes were published and his bigotry against just about everyone was revealed in explicit "expletive deleted" language, it was time to get disgusted all over again.
Here, portrayed by Frank Langella, we see Nixon as a lonely, vulnerable, angry, and bitter human being, a man who's made a bed he must sleep in for the next twenty years. We also see a manipulative and highly intelligent individual who, despite a great deal of success, had no self-worth. It's the feeling of being an outsider, of never being good enough, that led him to some atrocious decisions.
It's Langella's performance and Michael Sheen's wonderful performance as David Frost -- playboy, comedian, talk show host, and party-giver turned investigative journalist -- that anchor "Frost/Nixon." They are given great support by Kevin Bacon as Nixon's protective assistant, Jack Brennan, Sam Rockwell as James Reston, determined that Nixon pay for Watergate, as well as Oliver Platt, Matthew Mcfadyen, and Toby Jones.
I found the determination of Frost as he attempted to raise financing for the interviews and get networks interested -- with no luck -- very admirable and inspiring. And his gut instinct paid off for him big time.
I transcribed an interview with Nixon that took place in his home in the 1980s, as well as a speech he made during one of the Presidential election periods. He was a brilliant speaker, and as an interviewee, when the interview was over, he engaged the reporter in a very friendly personal conversation. In the end, both those listening experiences made me sad, as did this film. For everything he achieved, Richard Nixon had undeveloped gifts and potential. He robbed the world of a lot more than the ability to trust government. But in the end, as the film shows, he robbed himself the most.
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