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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.

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

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Cast

Credited cast:
... Himself (archive footage)
... Gore Vidal (voice)
... William F. Buckley (voice)
... Himself
... Himself (archive footage)
... Himself (archive footage)
... Himself (archive footage)
... Himself
... Himself
... Himself (archive footage)
... Himself
Sam Tanenhaus ... Himself
Todd Gitlin ... Himself
Brooke Gladstone ... Herself
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 »

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Details

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Release Date:

31 July 2015 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Best of Enemies: Buckley vs. Vidal  »

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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film-makers shot an interview with Gore Vidal, but ultimately decided not to use it, so he only appears in archive footage. 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 Land of the Giants (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The genesis of punditry journalism
15 August 2015 | by See 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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