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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.

Director:

Ron Howard

Writers:

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank Langella ... Richard Nixon
Michael Sheen ... David Frost
Sam Rockwell ... James Reston, Jr.
Kevin Bacon ... Jack Brennan
Matthew Macfadyen ... John Birt
Oliver Platt ... Bob Zelnick
Rebecca Hall ... Caroline Cushing
Toby Jones ... Swifty Lazar
Andy Milder ... Frank Gannon
Kate Jennings Grant ... Diane Sawyer
Gabriel Jarret ... Ken Khachigian
Jim Meskimen ... Ray Price
Patty McCormack ... Pat Nixon
Geoffrey Blake ... Interview Director
Clint Howard ... 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:

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


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 January 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Duel Frost/Nixon See more »

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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
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ron Howard previously directed Kevin Bacon in Apollo 13 (1995). In that film, Bacon's character is granted an extension on his taxes by President Nixon. See more »

Goofs

Around the 1973/4 segment of the film, David Frost is filming in Australia. He watches the resignation speech in colour. Australia did not go to colour TV until 1975. See more »

Quotes

Richard Nixon: [Prior to the second interview] Ah, the great inquisitor.
David Frost: More like a trusted confidante.
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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 Bollywood Hero: Episode #1.2 (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Nixon: Piano Concerto No. 1
Written by Richard Nixon (as Richard M. Nixon)
Performed by Frank Langella
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Mr. Nixon, It's Time for Your Close-up

Ron Howard's competent film adaptation of Peter Morgan's play (who also scripted and co-produced here) dramatizes the famous Frost/Nixon interviews from 1977. At one point in the film, Kevin Bacon's character explains to Frank Langella's Nixon that a portion of the interview will focus on "Nixon the man". To which Nixon retorted, "As opposed to what? Nixon the horse?" Of course what was on everyone's mind at the time was Watergate and how American was never able to give Nixon the trial they so desperately wanted. Through the unlikely Frost interviews, the American people finally heard the truth behind the scandal--straight from the horse's mouth.

Morgan's source material translates smoothly onto film. Much as he did with "The Queen", he mixes a behind the scenes look at the immediate time period leading up to the historical event and closes with an almost word-for-word dramatization of said event. Also, like "The Queen", we have the excellent Michael Sheen on board, who after playing Tony Blair now takes on the mannerisms of the legendary British talk-show host and man-about-town David Frost. Director Ron Howard nicely interweaves archival news footage, faux-post interviews with the secondary players, and the dramatic reenactments of the actual Frost/Nixon interviews. Howard's studied but pedestrian style of direction lends itself well to this type of docudrama as he allows the actual events to speak for themselves and the fine performances to shine on their own. Though it takes quite awhile to get where it's going, the final interview where Frost takes Nixon head-on about the Watergate cover-up is a payoff well worth the wait.

Of course the most fascinating aspect of the film is Frank Langella's portrayal of a shamed and swollen Richard Nixon. He plays him as a fallen man desperate for an act of contrition but still in too deep with his old trickery and slick ways. His performance, and the way it connects with the audience, is wonderfully layered. On one level, we have an aged actor thought to be well past his prime firing back on all cylinders in a renaissance role that will likely lead to a showering of award nominations. The way the film reduces his performance to that one lingering close-up after being steamrolled by Frost on the last day of the interview leaves a lasting impression. But it also works on another level as it is meant to represent the reduction of Nixon's political life to that one lingering close-up on the television monitor when he realized it's all over for him. The audience members who remember watching the interviews and can picture the actual close-up they saw on their TV screens are now allowed to share a communion with the audience members who weren't even born yet and now only have a memory of Langella's face on the silver screen. In that sense, Langella truly became Nixon, and his performance will not soon be forgotten.


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