I'm not normally a fan of Oliver Stone in fact, I've NEVER liked an Oliver Stone picture before but this one just blew me away. The reason I usually don't like him is that, though he is a great technical director and visual stylist, his scripts are heavy-handed and one-sided to the point of absurdity. But not here. In fact, the script is perhaps the most impressive element in this whole movie, not only for how ambiguous and even-handed it is in dealing with Nixon as a character, but also for the brilliant way it moves around in time. It starts with Nixon, feeling embattled in the <more>
White House in 1973 as the Watergate hearings are upon him, and uses the device of him listening to his secret tapes to jump back and forth to previous eras, flawlessly moving between past and present to give an impressionistic, kaleidoscopic overview of the man's life, instead of following the staid and ho-hum linear approach most movie biographies take most recent example: "Man on the Moon", the bio on Andy Kaufman which was a snoozer in spite of a great performance by Jim Carrey mainly because of the dry boring, "This happened. . .And then this happened" approach .Another reason to see this film is the brilliant, absolutely overwhelming lead performance by Anthony Hopkins; his Nixon may not look or sound exactly like the 37th president but come on, except maybe for Ed Sullivan, who does? but he embodies his qualities - strengths as well as weaknesses - to such an enormous degree that he simply BECOMES Nixon, at least for the three hours the movie is on screen.I have to say, though, I was not nearly as impressed as every one else critics and general audiences alike seems to be about Joan Allen as Pat Nixon. It's nothing against her performance, she did fine, it's just that as written, the part is rather weak. In fact, I was much more bothered about the liberties the filmmakers took in fleshing out her character than in all the political events; it's like, whenever they wanted to have someone blast Nixon or act as his conscience, they'd trot out Ol' Pat, giving her some of the most embarrasingly "speechified" moments in all of the movies - almost none of their scenes together ringed true as husband as wife; it was more like Nixon sitting across from the Filmmakers' Conscience. In fact, she's angry at him so often in the film you have to wonder, what exactly does she love about the man? The film never answers or attempts to answer this question.But this one minor quibble is not enough to make me downgrade this film. It is an absolutely stunning achievement by any stretch of the imagination, and it contains some interesting thematic and technical echoes of both Citizen Kane cavernous high ceiling scenes, a "March of Time"-type newsreel on Nixon, a dinner scene between Dick and Pat at a long, impersonal table as well as The Godfather the burnished, half-dark half-light cinematography, several "chamber of power" scenes in tight, dark and claustrophobic rooms that I found, in context, to be totally appropriate. It paints both Nixon and the times he and the country lived through on a grand and mythic scale that was truly awesome and, once again, entirely appropriate. Yes, it's a film that is at times big, loud and bombastic because so, after all, was Nixon himself but, just as often quiet, contemplative and told at an achingly *human* level. The contrast between these two states is what gives the film a good deal of its overall power and, as I've said, I never would have believed that Stone would have been capable of doing the smaller, quieter scenes so well.This is a good film to have on tape or DVD, for two reasons. It's so long, and so dense with facts, characters and events, that you're not likely to want to watch it all the way straight through the first time I saw it was in the theater and though I was held spellbound, I began wishing for an intermission at about the two-hour mark, not so much to stretch my legs but to give my brain a chance to process all I'd seen and heard so far . Also, and more importantly, the videotape includes after the credits two scenes cut out of the final film for time purposes. In both cases, I believe, a severe mistake was made - these are both, I believe, ESSENTIAL sequences; not just nice to have as an additional bargain, but scenes which Stone should have fought tooth and nail to keep in even cutting out some others if he had to - my vote would have been to excise a few of those Pat Nixon scenes instead . Once scene involves Nixon's visit to the CIA and another a discussion between Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover in the Oval Office. The first scene is a masterpiece of writing and acting with Sam Waterston as CIA Director Richard Helms, otherwise in no other scene of the movie and the other is, I think, key in understanding Nixon's motivation to begin taping his White House conversations in the first place also - an issue which is touched on no other place in the movie . I feel that these two scenes should be edited back into their appropriate places in the movie; seeing them separated from the rest of the film is better than not seeing them at all, but they really belong as part of the entire story.
I will start by saying I am an Oliver Stone fan. For some particular reason though I did not expect to like this movie but obviously I did. He actually unexpectedly gave a very fair depiction of Nixon. Nixon really transformed before my eyes in here. That was really something special to see.The acting was quite good. Anthony Hopkins though totally uplifted this movie. I could imagine many people saying his performance was over-the-top or a bit too surreal at times. Yet that is what really made his performance so amazing. The way he was able to transform the many crazy and totally off the wall <more>
aspects of Nixon and make them into a reality. To me as the movie went on I felt I was in some way able to see his paranoia, anxiety, thirst for power and just the simple fact of wanting to be liked. I could see he was more of a troubled and vulnerable man than a monster. He never quite connected with anybody which made him bitter and fueled his paranoia and greed even more. To me Hopkins portrayed this all perfectly, all the complexities and inner feelings of Nixon. Hopkins slipped into this role in way that you rarely see. He became Nixon, and at times I was speechless or should I say thoughtless watching him portray such an important figure in such a way. More and more I felt sorry for Nixon, as he looked more and more like a schizophrenic. To me this role was more psychologically bone-chilling than his role as Hannibal Lechter in Silence of the Lambs and I have no problem debating that. The rest of the cast was quite good as well. Joan Allen was very good in showing the complex relationship/marriage she had with Richard Nixon. James Woods freaked me out at times displaying that pure evil and hatred at times that Hopkins showed as Nixon. Paul Sorvino was very good as Henry Kissinger. Mary Steenburgen was interesting to watch in the very limited time she played in here. The two actors though other than Hopkins though that really stood out to me were Bob Hoskins and Sam Waterston. Despite Hoskins not giving an amazing performance and having very limited time he gave me chills just seeing J. Edgar Hoover being portrayed in some sort of way. Sam Waterston despite being limited to really just one scene was even more chilling than the rest of the cast excluding Hopkins combined in that one moment. That moment was one of the most intense face to face scenes that I have ever seen. It was so memorable.The directing was very good. It was not the best I have seen from Oliver Stone but it was up there. For the first 45 minutes or so I was a bit confused about what was happening and the flow of the movie but I got used to it. The first portion of the movie did feel unbalanced at times but the feel of the movie got better as it wore on. Going back to that one scene between Sam Waterston and Anthony Hopkins, I felt this scene was one of the best directed and written scenes I have seen from Oliver Stone or anyone ever. That scene was a microcosm of the movie. The motion-sickness, mind scrambling, paranoid feeling of that scene captured the entire movie. The feeling of even seeing the president himself being treated like a puppet, despite not that shocking, was mind numbing to watch. That scene was true testament to the writing and directing abilities of Oliver Stone.The writing was also very good throughout. It seemed as if everything Stone wanted to get across got across. The writing was not amazing but it certainly served it duty. The cinematography was great though. Stone always knows how to get his point across in the way he photographs a movie even if all of other aspects of the movie fail. That dark Oliver Stonish feeling kept on creeping in on every scene, but also that dark psychological feeling that he had put in Born On the Fourth of July and Platoon also was felt through the cinematography. The music by John Williams, who always knows how to capture a moment musically, was simply perfect in here again.I can understand this movie being boring to a lot of people or it being considered propaganda. Yet I think this movie is an overlooked masterpiece. Just seeing Anthony Hopkins perform as Nixon is a good enough reason to see this movie. He took control of this movie by force and took it to another level. Despite this being an Oliver Stone movie it is more fair than you would think. Of course this movie may have a few conspiracy theories included in it but Oliver Stone never forces his theories on people. There is a reason why at the beginning at every movie he puts a disclaimer saying that not everything in his movies are facts. Despite it being great I don't know if this is a movie for everyone. This movie seems to be crazy and surreal but isn't that how life seems to be at times as well?
An epic film of a very flawed politician's life. (by TxMike)
Would you go to a movie called "Politician?" Or "Crook" or "Cheater" or "maniac"? Probably not, and that is why I didn't see "Nixon" in the theater when it came out in 1995. I grew up during the period that Nixon was vice president and later president and never cared much for him. However, primarily because of Sir Anthony Hopkins in the lead role, I viewed "Nixon" on DVD yesterday.I was totally unprepared for how good this movie, all three hours of it. I am in my 50s and have seen lots of movies, and I have to rate <more>
"Nixon" as one of the best of all time. In a real sense a modern "Citizen Kane" but about a real person, a real former president, who even through his insanity could not do lasting harm to the US form of government. The movie clearly focuses on the Watergate scandal that ultimately caused Richard Nixon's resignation in the early 70s, but through relevant flashbacks actually tells the Nixon story from his childhood. Director Oliver Stone does a masterful job, and Anthony Hopkins proves once more why he is arguably the finest actor of our days.The DVD is apparently dual-layer, and there is just the slightest pause when the player switches from one layer to the other. The picture is expectedly sharp and the Dolby Digital 5.1 sound is just right most of the time. However, some of the quieter conversations required doubling the volume +3 dB to get acceptable listening levels.All-in-all a great movie. Unless you really don't like this kind of movie at all, see Nixon, the experience will be with you for a while.
A fair look at a prolific administration (by babapepsi12)
This one has always been one of my all-time favorites. As a political science major, I was fascinated the first time I saw it, and have seen it several times since. You almost have to to assimilate everything. But as a political science junkie and a history nerd, I always found this film to be very entertaining and fun to watch, especially if you're a historian who's also read other books on the Nixon administration, All the President's Men, etc.This film gives a very raw look into the world of the Presidency and politics. I think Hopkins did a wonderful job as Nixon, as well as <more>
the rest of the cast namely Bob Hoskins as J. Edgar Hoover and Ed Harris as E. Howard Hunt . From a historian's perspective, I think it did a fair job of looking at what Nixon's career was like, the disappointments he experienced, the struggles he made, the mistakes he committed, and the situation he found himself in once he finally became President. The film's a bit long especially the redone version 3.5 hours , but I think it's worth it.And I'm fully aware of Oliver Stone's background. I've always had a mixed reaction with Mr. Stone. Two of my favorite films ever are Nixon and Alexander and I'm even a Greek Republican , yet the only film I've ever walked out on was JFK. JFK was just too much; the only assassination theory Stone didn't throw in it was the UFO theory. But as far as Nixon goes, I commend Stone for giving a fair portrayal of him, knowing what a notorious liberal he is. And once again, this is coming from a moderate Republican.Extremists will hate this film. Ultra-conservatives will look as this film with skepticism and claim it's BS while radical liberals will claim it's "too sympathetic" toward Nixon. But for anyone with open eyes who isn't narrow-minded one way or the other, or for anyone interested in what the world of politics is like, I highly recommend this film. Like I said, it's always been one of my all-time favorites.
This Film is Intriguing and Dramatic (by wolverinedave22)
Like other reviews, I have never been fond of Oliver Stone movies, but this is an exception. Anthony Hopkins is nothing short of amazing in the film. Hopkins plays the role of the late Richard Nixon. The film has a great perspective of the psychological issues Nixon went through from his days as a boy to his resignation as president.The movie shows many of these issues and how they manifested themselves to Nixon's fall from grace. First, we see the threatening nature of his father combined with the "saint"-like qualities of his mother and how they affected him. We see Nixon <more>
later feel haunted by the Kennedy family and the success John and Bobby had rising up the political ranks until their lives were tragically ended. We see Nixon's overwhelming desire for the presidency tests his marriage to Pat, brilliantly played by Joan Allen. In addition, we see a man who feels he is above the law during the late part of his first term. In summary, all of his demons haunt him and this is brilliantly displayed in the film.I also liked to see the drama inside the White House. The statesman Henry Kissinger, played by Paul Sorvino, was great and his accent was very similar to the real Kissinger. We see Bob Haldeman James Woods portrayed as anti-Semitic with his cruel comments about Kissinger's background. David Hype Pierce of Frasier fame plays John Dean, a man who vowed to not take the fall for the Watergate scandal. As the movie develops, we are intrigued with the drama and how the administration fell apart. Hopkins' outrage in the Oval Office after a conference telling of the withdrawal from Vietnam is great acting. We see Nixon feel appreciated by the people. He then blames Ted Kennedy for the press' questions about Watergate.Joan Allen's role has been criticized by some others but I thought it was top-notch. She plays Nixon's wife who stands up to her husband upon losing in the California governor race in 1962. She threatens him with divorce and he says to the press core "you won't have Nixon to kick around anymore." After LBJ decides to not run, he changes his mind and runs in 1968. Pat at first is upset but then allows him to run. However, during his presidency, Pat calls out her husband as they don't vacation together and he changes as the quest for power and control seriously damages the marriage. She plays the loyal wife but does get her two cents in.The rest of the cast is top-notch to say the least. Bob Hoskins plays the manipulative J. Edgar Hoover who has a major grudge against the Kennedys. Powers Boothe plays Alexander Haig, the man who finally convinces Nixon that he is in severe trouble and peril with impeachment looming. E.G. Marshall plays the bitter John Mitchell. Mary Steenburgen plays Nixon's mother whose life and influence overshadow her son's life in several occasions through the film. Larry Hagman plays Jack Jones, a Texas man reminds me of his role on Dallas who once was an ally to Nixon but their alliance falls apart later in the film. A great line from Hagman "Mr. President, do you forget who got you where you are?" Nixon: "The American people did." Hagman:"Oh really? That can be changed."I have seen the movie three times and intrigued by it every time. I wished I had seen when it first came out. If you love history or intrigued by the crucial period of the late 60's and early 70's, you will love this movie! Highly rated!
Without doubt Anthony Hopkins performance as Richard Nixon cements his position as one of the finest and most powerful actors of the last 20 years. Without bearing any great resemblance, he gets closer to inhabiting the almost impenetrable enigma that was Nixon than any other actor could do. Looking beyond his towering portrayal, the performances of the supporting cast are mostly exemplary. You just know that James Woods and JT Walsh were born to play Haldeman and Ehrlichman. Ed Harris is a chilling Howard Hunt, Mary Steenburgen a dedicated but controlled and ultimately unaffectionate mother, <more>
Powers Boothe a loyal but pragmatic Al Haig, Bob Hoskins a thoroughly devious J Edgar Hoover and Madeleine Kahn a delightfully outspoken Martha Mitchell. If I had to quibble I would say that Joan Allen makes Pat Nixon a far steelier character than she probably was and EG Marshall is too old to play John Mitchell. Oliver Stone does not play too fast and loose with the real story and endeavours to explore Nixon's childhood and other events in his life to try to explain what what made him what he became. Occasionally he is more sympathetic than one might have expected. The use of black and white is overdone, although real footage is skilfully interlaced with the acting. But the ultimate triumph is Hopkins' performance.
Compelling Portrayal Of The Former U.S. President (by sddavis63)
In an overall solid cast, Anthony Hopkins shines in a powerful performance as Richard Nixon in this Oliver Stone film tracing the former president's life from his boyhood in California to his resignation as U.S. President in 1974.Nixon is seen as a troubled figure, insecure and paranoid, with few friends. An unhappy childhood, in which he refers to himself as his mother's "faithful dog," in fact does dog him his whole life, as he seeks to please a demanding ultra-religious mother Mary Steenburgen who had already died by the time he took office as President, but whose memory <more>
and expectations lived on. Nixon is burdened with an unhappy marriage to Pat Joan Allen - unhappy largely because of his own obsession with political success - and haunted by the ghost of John Kennedy, who defeated him for the presidency in 1960 and who Nixon could never live up to. Kennedy was loved; Nixon was hated - he could never get over that. A scene near the end of the movie demonstrates his feelings toward JFK as he looks at Kennedy's White House portrait: "They look at you and see what they want to be; they look at me and see who they are."Although the movie - as any review of Nixon's life will - revolves around Watergate, it provides a fascinating summary of his life, and of what added up to make him the troubled and lonely figure he really was. There's also typical Oliver Stone material as dark hints of conspiracy extending far beyond Watergate are inserted. Perhaps the most unsettling being a meeting Nixon has shortly before JFK's assassination with some supporters in Texas who are trying to convince him to run for the presidency again in 1964. Nixon protests that Kennedy can't be beaten in '64. A Cuban American present says ominously "What if Kennedy doesn't run in '64?"A truly fascinating portrayal of a fascinating man, even in the end somewhat sympathetic to Nixon as the film ends with his 1994 funeral service, some comments at that service by President Clinton and a summary of his career by a narrator pointing out his accomplishments. A last note: kudos to Paul Sorvino, who hit Henry Kissinger bang on.8/10
Oliver Stone has a way of making films that grab you and hold you until the final frame. His films are usually controversial and that's what generates much debate and Nixon is no exception. Anthony Hopkins assumes the mantle of Richard M. Nixon and he does it with style. His Nixon is a complex man, full of ambition and dreams, but also filled with demons. Nixon lives in the shadow of JFK, and because of that, he feels he can never live up to the greatness that he aspires to. Joan Allen is equally convincing as Pat Nixon. She is a strong woman who loves her husband, but unlike Nixon, she <more>
grows tired of the political world. The film works best when we see the inner workings of the Nixon Whitehouse. We see the coverup of the Watergate break in. We see Nixon's historic visit to China and we see the final farewell of a flawed, but ambitious man. It's hard to cram an entire lifetime into a three hour film, but Stone manages to do it well. We get brief glimpses into Nixon's past and we see the events that eventually undid him. Some may say that Nixon is painted in an unfair light. I think Stone actually sympathizes with him. Here was a man who came into power in the middle of a war. He was feared by many and misunderstood by all. Nixon was able to rise above it all for a short period of time, and in that brief period, he did have the world.
An Often Surreal But Engrossing Film (by Hessian499)
As others have mentioned, Nixon tells the story of the 37th President from his early days in California through his resignation in August of 1974. I started to watch this film with a grain of salt, as with Oliver Stone directing I assumed it would be a few hours of Nixon bashing, but instead I was impressed by the balance in the story, and Nixon does not come across as the monster you might expect flawed, yes, but not the Ghengis Khan as you might expect from Hollywood . The flashbacks that are used tend to make the film somewhat surreal, as does the continual shifting from black and white <more>
to color film, but the story itself is riveting and engrossing, even if we all know how it is going to wind up at the end. Nixon might not be Oliver Stone's most famous or best film, but it is an excellent movie and a surprisingly fair and balanced view of our most controversial President.