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Best of Enemies (2015)

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A documentary on the series of televised debates in 1968 between liberal Gore Vidal and conservative William F. Buckley.

Writers:

Robert Gordon (co-writer), Tom Graves (co-writer) | 1 more credit »
6 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Paul Newman ... Himself (archive footage)
John Lithgow ... Gore Vidal (voice)
Kelsey Grammer ... William F. Buckley (voice)
Gore Vidal ... Himself (archive footage)
Dick Cavett ... Himself
Arthur Miller ... Himself (archive footage)
Walter Cronkite ... Himself (archive footage)
Matt Tyrnauer ... Himself
Noam Chomsky ... Himself
Christopher Hitchens ... Himself
William F. Buckley ... Himself (archive footage)
Brooke Gladstone Brooke Gladstone ... Herself
Sam Tanenhaus Sam Tanenhaus ... Himself
Ginia Bellafante Ginia Bellafante ... Herself
Fred Kaplan Fred Kaplan ... Himself
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Storyline

'Best of Enemies' is a documentary about the legendary series of nationally televised debates in 1968 between two great public intellectuals, the liberal Gore Vidal and the conservative William F. Buckley Jr. Intended as commentary on the issues of their day, these vitriolic and explosive encounters came to define the modern era of public discourse in the media, marking the big bang moment of our contemporary media landscape when spectacle trumped content and argument replaced substance. 'Best of Enemies' delves into the entangled biographies of these two great thinkers and luxuriates in the language and the theater of their debates, begging the question, 'What has television done to the way we discuss politics in our democracy today?'

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Buckley vs. Vidal. 2 Men. 10 Debates. Television Would Never Be The Same.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexual content/nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 July 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Best of Enemies: Buckley vs. Vidal See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$50,378, 2 August 2015, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$891,997, 8 November 2015
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin bought the rights to this documentary almost immediately; he is developing a narrative film based on Buckley and Vidal's confrontations. See more »

Quotes

Christopher Hitchens: The mores of the country were going to hell. And if there was one thing William Buckley cared more about than another thing it would have been that. If we go on like this, abortion will be on-demand, women will have sex with women, the family will be over, the church won't be respected, we will be screwing in the street and frightening the horses, buggery will be legal... And if you'd said all that to Gore, he would've said, Well OK, bring it on.
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Crazy Credits

There is a short scene after the credits showing footage of an interview with Buckley. See more »

Connections

Features Sunset Blvd. (1950) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A good look at legendary debates, it's really what political TV and pundit talk should be like today!
8 November 2015 | by blanbrnSee all my reviews

1968 was before my time I wasn't born till 1978 still I know and have studied enough history to know what the times were like and have heard by now and read and have done my homework on the legendary figures of Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley. Finally got to watch this new like documentary called "Best of Enemies" Buckley vs. Vidal. And the title is so true and I must say after watching this telling of footage it rings so true from the interviews and debate footage it was interesting and so educational that any political or history buff will enjoy. The film centers around the summer of 1968 as the news would change forever as last place in the ratings network ABC made the choice to put two educated and know a lot people on to debate each other during the Democratic and Republican conventions. Enter William F. Buckley Jr. a rich arrogant snob like conservative who lead the new wave march for the right. And second up the outspoken and always talking liberal Gore Vidal who was also a novelist and champion for the left. During the debates both thought each others views were wrong for America as it even got to heated verbal exchanges and name calling and in the day in age with class and political clashing of the 1960's war and fight for freedom ABC news had a ratings hit. To bad in today's pundit land of political TV it can't no longer be like this as the networks have became to one sided and don't encourage debate and educated thought even if it does lead to verbal words and name calling the country needs more debates from people on the opposite sides. Gore Vidal and William Buckley both were legends who challenged and caused thought and asked questions of many, to bad we don't have any around like those two both the wit and smarts of Vidal and Buckley is really missed in today's TV pundit political world.


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