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Honest Man: The Life of R.Budd Dwyer

34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Honest Man: the Life of R. Budd Dwyer is a film about politics and corruption, suicide and survival. Four years in the making, it explores the scandal that led an honest, hard-working man to take his own life.

This independently produced feature-length documentary follows Budd Dwyer, a Pennsylvania politician who infamously committed suicide at a televised press conference. The film chronicles Dwyer's meteoric rise to political power and examines the bribery scandal and subsequent trial that pushed him to his breaking point. Honest Man also delves into the controversy and consequences of the uncensored airing of Dwyer's death on television stations worldwide.

Honest Man reveals a story that has remained untold for over 24 years. The film features exclusive new interviews, including William Smith, the man whose testimony convicted Dwyer, and Dwyer's widow Joanne--her last interview before her death in 2009.

Was Dwyer venal, or a victim? Did he kill himself because he couldn't live with being guilty, or because he couldn't live with being innocent? Honest Man allows audiences to judge for themselves.

This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media.'s standard return policy will apply.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Directors: James Dirschberger
  • Format: NTSC
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Eighty Four Films
  • DVD Release Date: October 25, 2011
  • Run Time: 76 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005ZJ4UPW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,032 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By on January 29, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video
This is an excellent film. I was in graduate school, studying Public Administration, when R. Budd Dwyer committed suicide. This film will go a long way towards telling Mr. Dwyer's story.

The facts are irrefutable:

1.) Mr. Dwyer did not accept any bribe.
2.) A witness, who had already been convicted of perjury, who later recanted his own testimony, and who had cut a deal with the state, is the testimony convicted Mr. Dwyer.
3.) Since this time, probably to prevent innocent people from being convicted when a criminal witness lies, a person accused of bribery will have to actually accept a bribe. (Again, Mr. Dwyer never accepted a bribe; According to the key prosecution witness, he said "Okay. Let's take that money." Again, later recanted. And, again, this witness who claimed this, was already a convicted perjure and had already cut a deal for himself when he had taken money.)
4.) Mr. Dwyer's love was so great for his family and children, that he didn't want them to suffer financially if he had lost his state retirement and he likely would have if he had to resign his office prior to his death. (Some may disagree with my statement "his love so great..." but I believe that he didn't want his family to suffer financially.)
5.) This film includes interviews with many, many people that knew Mr. Dwyer--including family, friends, colleagues, etc--and even if you think he guilt, evil, or whatever, the film is a terrific portrait of the man and the case.

Mr. Dwyer's desire was to help change the system and I can tell you that I've not stopped trying to fix the system! I've been involved in the Criminal Justice System since this time and now work as a college professor where I try to teach my students the importance of thinking for themselves.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Privacy, Please on July 22, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
I had already seen the footage of Dwyer's suicide many times on the Internet, as well as hearing about it the day it happened from relatives who lived in Western PA and called my husband up at work to tell him what they'd just seen on live TV. I thought it was just another sad case of a politician who'd been caught with his hand in the cookie jar and couldn't deal with the shameful aftermath. What a shock to find out that there is a very, very strong case that he was wrongly convicted and innocent all along. That just makes the whole thing more poignant, as does the fact that his killing himself was the only way he could preserve some financial security for his wife and two children.

Initially I thought this documentary would be biased in Dwyer's favor because his family was involved, but it gained, not lost, credibility the longer it went on. Dwyer was, unfortunately, a country bumpkin who believed in honesty, truth, justice and America. Unfortunately when those people run up against the realities of the political and justice system they often get eaten alive, as this man did. It's pathetic that Dick Thornburgh, whose misuse of state funds appears to have been the driving force behind Dwyer's prosecution (or should I say persecution?), went on to high office. I don't know how he sleeps at night but that's the kind of guy who sadly gets ahead in politics, while the honest men get trampled underfoot more often than not. RIP Budd Dwyer.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Not a Real Name on June 11, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video
I was in the category of those who had no idea why he did it, but I had seen R. Budd Dwyer's suicide in the Faces of Death videos (before the internet) and later, on the internet, where video of that type of thing spreads like a virus. I had heard that Filter's "Hey Man Nice Shot" was about this incident, but the lyrics don't really say anything... so when I saw this video being promoted (legally) on BitTorrent (the paid DVD contains all kinds of extras, supposedly including an actual Budd Dwyer Campaign sticker and a copy of his final press conference speech, including the last paragraph that he never got the chance to read), I had to watch it.

A lot of people out there with minimal knowledge of this event might think a dead politician is something to be celebrated, especially if he was found guilty of corruption, but R. Budd Dwyer was an honest man, an innocent man, and this is what paradoxically put him in the cross-hairs of corrupt politicians, prosecutors, investigators and a "party judge" who wanted to crucify him because he didn't tolerate abuses of power during his time as State Treasurer.

He planned his suicide in part to protect the financial well-being of his family, as he was going to lose his hard-earned pension (from earlier work in education, not politics) as a result of his persecution... but he also had hoped that his suicide would shine a light on the state of the "justice" system in America, how the whole process has been corrupted and perverted to the point that if you rub a powerful politician the wrong way, you can be completely innocent of any crime and still be found guilty.

The message he tried to send in his final moments was all but lost in the gruesome suicide that followed, this movie and the accompanying materials resurrect that message: A call for reform, and a justice system that actually seeks justice for average citizens. Budd Dwyer WAS a modern-day Job; he is a martyr and a hero. Everybody should hear his story.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Stacy Calzolari on January 15, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
finally a well made documentary based on the life he lived and the honest man that he was. this documentary goes inside the mindS of those closest to him allowing the viewer to see a genuine side rarely understood in such detail. in addition, this documentary also goes into the injustice he was faced with during his time as treasurer. it allows us to see the corruption among politics that sadly have only gotten worse. however, it does not have a sad undertone. although we are aware that a man can do everything in his power to do good and yet still have a tragic outcome, Budd Dwyer is a martyr who should be remembered as a hero. the last honest man in politics who shows the world what happens when you trust in the system. not suicide but a sacrafice by the men who washed the blood from their shoes and learned nothing.
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