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4.8 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

"Fascinating political intrigue" —The New York Times "Very entertaining" —The Washington Post

"Great stuff" —The Philadelphia Inquirer

The award-winning miniseries based on John Ehrlichman’s post-Watergate novel The Company

CIA director Bill Martin (Cliff Robertson, Charly, Falcon Crest) knows that an incoming president means a new direction for the country—and another set of eyes on the top secret Primula Report. Martin tries to build a rapport with his new boss, but President Richard Monckton (Jason Robards, All the President’s Men) is more interested in settling old scores and cleaning house with the help of the FBI.

Against the backdrop of a war in Southeast Asia and antiwar protests at home, this high-intensity political drama tells the story of an increasingly paranoid president, an administration under siege, and a reckless group of White House aides desperate to hold on to power. Featuring Stefanie Powers (Hart to Hart), Robert Vaughn (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.), and Andy Griffith (Matlock). Special appearance by John Houseman (The Paper Chase).

Special Features

BONUS 8-page booklet with articles on the historical background of the program, the Vietnam War, peace movements in America, Nixon’s visit to China, and the Watergate scandal; plus brief biographies of the political figures of the period

SDH subtitles

Contains coarse and offensive language

Due to the age of these programs and the improved resolution that DVD provides, you may notice occasional flaws in the image or audio of this DVD presentation that were beyond our ability to correct from the original materials.

Due to music rights, this program has been modified for home video presentation.

Product Details

  • Actors: Cliff Robertson, Jason Robards, Stefanie Powers, Robert Vaughn, Lois Nettleton
  • Directors: Gary Nelson
  • Writers: David W. Rintels
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: June 5, 2012
  • Run Time: 550 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007ISJS8M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,569 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "WASHINGTON: BEHIND CLOSED DOORS" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I first watched this mini-series on British TV some years ago, and found it riveting. Having since enjoyed the film "The American President" and the entire West Wing series, I think Washington Behind Closed Doors was the first of these political dramas, showing the behind the scenes jockeying for position, power and privilege. But it was shown at a time just before most of us in the West began to doubt and mistrust most of our political "leaders", so it was in some ways quite shocking at the time. But it was also funny, sometimes hilariously so. Nicholas Pryor springs immediately to mind as a young man desperate to climb the greasy political pole, but a man also greatly lacking in confidence, someone who would behave as though he were a lord of creation when things were going well for him, but who disintegrated into a wimpish, snivelling, sweating wreck when he saw his golden future disappearing in front of his eyes. It is a truly great performance. Robert Vaughn,in full Machiavellian mode,usually cut him down to size in no time at all, browbeating, intimidating and blackmailing everyone into following his instructions, and a first rate job he made of it, too.

Jason Robards made a wonderfully shifty, devious and underhand President. Cliff Robertson and Stefanie Powers were also in the cast, along with a dark-haired actress with hypnotically blue eyes, name of Meg, but I can't remember whether that was her character's name, or the first name of the actress playing her. I believe I read somewhere that she had been auditioned for one of the lead parts in "Cagney and Lacey", and was in fact in the pilot of that show, but subsequently replaced for the series. I have forgotten many of the plot twists, as it is now so many years since I saw Washington Behind Closed Doors on TV, and I am really looking forward to getting the DVD and enjoying it once again. Cassandra
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Format: DVD
It's 1977 but relevant as ever 35 years later. Astonishingly so! Pay phones-NO cells; no deleted expletives; VHS tape surveillance technology; and the film look of the late 70s--early 80s but its datedness is quickly forgotten THEN seen as a period political series with set-costume historic perfection. I lived the Nixon years (actually voted for him, OUCH!) This is powerful. Made me mad all over again, but also expect a compelling drive all the way to the 3 DVDs' end.
SUBTITLES for all 6 feature-length episodes.

One dialogue quote sums it up: "It's just so vicious. There's so much back-biting and insincerity." Perhaps too true in an election year. You may opt to stay away from the voter booth in favor of another viewing for this adaptation of Ehrlichman's book. Everyone knows the book and this series was about Nixon and Watergate. Author Ehrlichman was part of it. Like Haldeman, portrayed perfectly by Robert Vaughn under the fiction name of Flaherty, they did 18 months of jail time. Both the real man and Vaughn inspire disgust of politicians. Also giving such an astonishingly perfect performance that it makes a voter want to puke, was Nicholas Prior as Hank, anything-to-get-ahead boot-licker. And you'll be spitting nails at the see-saw politics of the CIA Director (Cliff Robertson plays Martin, but it was Helms in real Nixon life). Plenty of other stars like Jason Robards playing `Tricky Dick',President. I'm surprised congress didn't investigate the actor after the series, like they did the president--that convincing. Oh and who'd have thought Andy Griffith could play such a nasty former-Pres ESA (really LBJ)? Easy to spot Tessler (Harold Gould), or the real Kissinger, with German accent and dark frame glasses.
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Format: DVD
Revisiting TV programs from the 1970s invites comparison to what is being produced on television today. Shows like “The West Wing” have set a new standard for dramatizing politics. Yet a superior mini-series like WASHINGTON: BEHIND CLOSED DOORS holds up very well for any number of reasons: the timeless story that reminds us that absolute power corrupts absolutely; the incredible assembly of first-rate actors including Jason Robards and Robert Vaughn (who won an Emmy for his efforts); and the direction, which includes any number of impressive shots at a time when television production was still considered a static, rather than a visual, medium. What doesn’t hold up as well is the technical standard of production, which serves as a reminder of the wonders of the digital age. Some of the footage in WASHINGTON: BEHIND CLOSED DOORS is inevitably quite grainy.

Fortunately, content trumps technical specifics every time, and the political machinations of WASHINGTON: BEHIND CLOSED DOORS make for some fascinating viewing.

My first reaction as the story unfolded was “here comes another Hollywood Liberal Democratic indictment of Republicanism”, but as the storyline unfolded, it became clear the scope was not so narrow-minded. Although some of the effects, such as freeze frames, are dated, some unabashedly over-the-top performances propel the series into the realm of Greek Tragedy. There is genuine amazement, horror, remorse and hope for justice in the proceedings and this keeps the series from falling into the category of mere Democratic diatribe. Let’s face it, Nixon is an easy target. With source material written by one of the ex-president’s closest associates, even the most outlandish behaviour (the president’s paranoia, for example) is believable even while being eminently theatrical.
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