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Best of Enemies: Buckley vs. Vidal (2015)

Best of Enemies (original title)
Trailer
2:24 | Trailer
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 »

Videos

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gore Vidal ... Self - Debater (archive footage)
William F. Buckley ... Self - Debater (archive footage)
Todd Gitlin ... Self - Media Studies, Columbia University
Brooke Gladstone Brooke Gladstone ... Self - Host, NPR's On the Media
Richard Wald Richard Wald ... Self - Former President, NBC News
William Sheehan William Sheehan ... Self - Former President, ABC News
Frank Rich ... Self - Writer, New York Magazine
Sam Tanenhaus Sam Tanenhaus ... Self - Biographer, William F. Buckley Jr.
Patricia Buckley Patricia Buckley ... Self - Buckley's Wife (archive footage)
Lee Edwards Lee Edwards ... Self - Historian, The Heritage Foundation
Reid Buckley Reid Buckley ... Self - Buckley's Brother
Linda Bridges Linda Bridges ... Self - Buckley's Personal Assistant
Fred Kaplan Fred Kaplan ... Self - Author, Gore Vidal: A Biography
Matt Tyrnauer ... Self - Vidal's Editor & Friend
Sam Donaldson ... Self - Correspondent, ABC News (archive footage)
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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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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

William F. Buckley: [to Vidal] Now, listen, you queer, stop calling me a crypto-Nazi, or I'll sock you in the goddamn face and you'll stay plastered.
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Crazy Credits

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

User Reviews

 
The genesis of punditry journalism
15 August 2015 | by attorney-39769See all my reviews

A well-constructed must-see documentary for anyone who is the least bit interested in the politics of journalism. Don't worry that you won't recall/aren't aware of the background. The filmmakers do an excellent job of setting the stage, and an even more impressive job of avoiding the actual political issues in order to focus on the medium. If you want to know how we got where we are, start at the beginning. This is the genesis of punditry and personality-driven journalism. This is not to say that this little slice of evolution is necessarily bad. As the film points out, prior to 1968 the presentation of news was quite static, with little, if any, chance for anything out of the mainstream to make it out of the studio. Now the genie has been loosed from the bottle, and he has truly been feeling his oats for the past several years. It's up to us to rein him in, give him focus, and pray that we can find some common ground before the growing political mitosis reaches the point of no return.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 July 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Best of Enemies See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$50,378, 2 August 2015

Gross USA:

$892,802

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$892,802
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
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