HE CHANGED A WORLD. BUT LOST A NATION.
After JFK (1991), Oliver Stone made this epic portrait of Richard Nixon, presenting his upbringing and political career as a background to what the director really wants to focus on: the darkness in the White House, caused by an unwinnable war and a burglary that consumed Nixon’s entire presidency. Anthony Hopkins’s brilliant performance has the president constantly in JFK’s shadow, a paranoid, hard-drinking man who craves respect and love but remains unable to accept it. Sharing look and style with JFK, the film is long and seasoned with the expected conspiracy theories… but it’s hard to look away.
1995-U.S. 190 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Oliver Stone, Clayton Townsend, Andrew G. Vajna. Directed by Oliver Stone. Screenplay: Stephen J. Rivele, Christopher Wilkinson, Oliver Stone. Cinematography: Robert Richardson. Music: John Williams. Editing: Brian Berdan, Hank Corwin. Cast: Anthony Hopkins (Richard Nixon), Joan Allen (Pat Nixon), Powers Boothe (Alexander Haig), Ed Harris, Bob Hoskins, E.G. Marshall… David Paymer, David Hyde Pierce, Paul Sorvino, Mary Steenburgen, J.T. Walsh, James Woods, Kevin Dunn, Annabeth Gish, Tony Goldwyn, Larry Hagman, Edward Herrmann, Madeline Kahn, Dan Hedaya, Michael Chiklis, John C. McGinley, George Plimpton.
Trivia: Alternative version, where Sam Waterston shows up as Richard Helms, runs 28 minutes longer. Tom Hanks, Gene Hackman, Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty were considered for the lead.
Last word: “Anyone can relate to suffering in this world. And I had a handle on him through my father, who was a businessman, and paralleled Nixon in many ways; he went through the Depression and the war, anti-communism and the collapse of communism. My father hated FDR and he hated Kennedy, so there were a lot of those emotions in the household. Both men had a lot of repressed emotion. There was a pessimism about my dad that I found in Richard Nixon, a social awkwardness, those kinds of things.” (Stone, RogerEbert.com)