Film & Water #109 – Nixon


Episode 109: NIXON

Rob welcomes Give Me Those Star Wars guest Omar Uddin to discuss one of their favorite films, Oliver Stone’s 1995 bio-pic NIXON, starring Anthony Hopkins, Joan Allen, James Woods, J.T. Walsh, E.G. Marshall, and many more.

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5 responses to “Film & Water #109 – Nixon

  1. As a kid back in the early 1980s, my brother and I would dress up as Nixon and Jimmy Carter for Halloween. We’d wear blazers, khaki pants , and ties. For some reason lots of folks mistook the Carter mask for Reagan.

    I saw Nixon in the theater when it came out and was most impressed. From that opening shot through the White House gates echoing the start of CItizen Kane, Stone wants us to think of Nixon as someone who never truly lived up to his potential despite his achievements. It would be interesting to see a film from Pat Nixon’s perspective. I always thought Nixon’s sobs at her funeral were his finally realizing just how badly he had treated her both publicly and privately over the years. In that final speech (“My mother was a saint”) at the WH she is standing there totally humiliated and he doesn’t even acknowledge her.

    Another very fine political film that is a bit forgotten today is John Ford’s “The Last Hurrah” (1958) based on the Edwin O’Connor novel. I read the novel years ago and it’s great. It’s a fictionalized tale of Boston Mayor Michael Curley’s final campaign. It’s both a nostalgic and clear-eyed look at old style Irish-American Democratic machine politics (everything Nixon despised). And talk about a great cast of character actors: Spencer Tracy, Jeffrey Hunter, Pat O’Brian, Basil Rathbone, Jane Darwell, Donald Crisp, John Carradine, and many more. TCM runs it every now and again so check it out.

    1. My top 4 political movies that I’d love to hear discussed on F&W:

      The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
      Bob Roberts (1992)
      The Great McGinty (1940)
      The Candidate (1972)

  2. Great episode! I also love this movie and found myself in agreement with the co-host!

    Rob, poach more guys like this from Ryan.

    Also, JFK is brilliant. I smell a commentary…

  3. I too am an amateur presidential historian, and I watched both the theatrical and director’s cuts for this film. I read the annotated screenplay, heck I even read Nixon’s memoirs. So please believe me when I say I really appreciated the depth of both the cinematic and political discussions in this episode.

    One bit I remember is Oliver Stone saying he wanted “name” actors for the film, as it would make it easier for audiences to distinguish between the large cast of characters.

    Thanks for both of your analysis.

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