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Frost/Nixon

4.2 out of 5 stars 208 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard comes the electrifying, untold story behind one of the most unforgettable moments in history. When disgraced President Richard Nixon agreed to an interview with jet-setting television personality, David Frost, he thought he’d found the key to saving his tarnished legacy. But, with a name to make and a reputation to overcome, Frost became one of Nixon’s most formidable adversaries and engaged the leader in a charged battle of wits that changed the face of politics forever. Featuring brilliant portrayals by Frank Langella and Michael Sheen, Frost/Nixon is the fascinating and suspenseful story of truth, accountability, secrets and lies.

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Sounds like a good match: a historical drama from the author of The Queen, but with an American subject in the generational wheelhouse of director Ron Howard. And so Peter Morgan's Tony-winning play morphs into a Hollywood movie under the wing of the Apollo 13 guy. Morgan's subject is a curious moment of post-Watergate shakeout: British TV host David Frost's long-form interviews with ex-President Richard Nixon, conducted in 1977. It was a big ratings success at the time, justifying the somewhat controversial decision to cut an enormous check for Nixon's services. The movie adds a mockumentary note to the otherwise straightforward style, having direct-to-camera addresses from various aides to Frost and Nixon (played by the likes of Oliver Platt, Sam Rockwell, and Kevin Bacon); these basically tell us things we already glean from the rest of the movie, adding unnecessary melodrama and upping the stakes. In this curious scheme, the success of Frost's career, which could bellyflop if he doesn't get something worthwhile out of the cagey, long-winded Nixon, is given somewhat more weight than the actual revelations of the interviews. Even with these questionable storytelling decisions, there's still the spectacle of two actors going at it hammer and tongs, and on that level the movie offers some heat. Michael Sheen, who played Tony Blair not only in The Queen but also in another Morgan-scripted project, The Deal, is adept at catching David Frost's blow-dried charm, as well as the determination beneath it. Frank Langella's physical performance as Nixon is superb, and he certainly can be a commanding actor, though veteran Nixon-watchers might find that he misses a certain depth of self-pity in the man. Both actors were retained from the original stage production, a rare thing in Hollywood--and probably Howard's best decision of the project. --Robert Horton

Special Features

  • Deleted Scenes
  • The Making of Frost/Nixon
  • The Real Interview
  • The Nixon Library
  • Feature Commentary with Director Ron Howard

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Frank Langella, Michael Sheen
    • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
    • Subtitles: French, Spanish
    • Dubbed: French, Spanish
    • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated:
      R
      Restricted
    • Studio: Universal Studios
    • DVD Release Date: April 21, 2009
    • Run Time: 123 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (208 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B001TH92N4
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,338 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Frost/Nixon" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    By Jana L.Perskie HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 29, 2009
    Format: DVD
    "Frost/Nixon is a riveting historical drama, based on the play by Peter Morgan. Morgan wrote the movie's screenplay, as well as screenplays for "The Queen," and "The Last King of Scotland." The controversial 1977 Frost/Nixon interviews are dramatized here, and Frank Langella's superb performance as the disgraced former president, Richard M. Nixon, is worth the price of a movie rental alone.

    Richard Nixon resigned from the office of the presidency on August 9, 1974, rather than face impeachment by Congress for his role in the Watergate scandal, and subsequent events. He was the only US president ever to do so. The film shows real footage of the Nixon family, leaving the White House and boarding a helicopter - the first step in a journey which will take Mr. Nixon into exile.

    David Frost, (Michael Sheen), a British celebrity talk show host, watches this event on television and decides that an interview with Nixon would be just the thing to relaunch his waning career. He pursues the project for some time and winds up financing it out of his own pocket, while searching desperately for backers. Creepy literary agent Irving "Swifty" Lazar, (Toby Jones), negotiates the deal. Nixon agrees to do more than 20 hours of on-camera interviews with Frost, and will receive $1 million or more in fees and profits for the sessions. He is in serious debt. He has huge legal bills and back taxes to pay and needs the money. Under the terms of the contract, Nixon will have no control over content of questions or editing, and will not see any of the questions in advance. Of course, he can always refuse to answer questions, but he will have to do so in front of a huge audience.
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    Format: DVD
    After the Watergate scandal and his subsequent resignation, Richard Nixon (Frank Langella) is living in relative seclusion back in California. But, following a lucrative interview offer from British talk show host David Frost (Michael Sheen), Nixon sees an opportunity not only to make some easy money but to return himself to the public spotlight. Meanwhile Frost, best known for chatting with celebrity lightweights, views this as a chance to gain fame and respectability as a journalist in America.

    Frost is encouraged by his research aides to go hard after Nixon. But instead Frost throws softballs for the first three interview segments and is easily overwhelmed by his more experienced adversary. Then, on the night before the final interview, Frost receives a strange phone call from Nixon, who basically goes off on a drunken rant. Frost, smelling blood, decides to take a more aggressive approach and on the final day Nixon ends up making humiliating admissions about his role in the Watergate cover-up, perhaps cementing his tarnished legacy in American politics.

    How much you enjoy this movie will probably depend on how much interest you have in the subject matter. But there is no doubt that this is one of those rare motion pictures that reaches near perfection in terms of filmmaking. The acting, especially by Langella, is superb and the sense of dramatic timing is impeccable. The small details were also well handled, such as film's spot on depiction of the 70's and Nixon's bizarre fascination with Frost's Italian leather shoes. This is probably the best directorial outing in Ron Howard's career. Highly recommended.
    2 Comments 46 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD
    I'm afraid I must take exception to director Ron Howard's assertion in his commentary on this DVD that creative license is a good thing when telling a story based on real-life events.

    In my opinion, he and the playwright/screenwriter have taken too many creative liberties and muddied the waters here in a way that will raise doubts about the truth and consequences of the actual Frost/Nixon interviews as well as the true character of each man.

    For example, in real life, Nixon did NOT call Frost after-hours in his hotel, rambling on in his cups about the way both men rose from humble origins and fought an uphill battle against their social superiors.

    This is an important falsehood, because in the movie, Frost attempts to psyche out Nixon before the final Watergate interview by alluding to this phone call. Well, this phone call NEVER happened!

    Similarly, as Frost questions Nixon about his illegal incursions into Cambodia during the Vietnam War, the movie shows both men responding to footage of the ensuing carnage. Apparently, the real F/N interview did NOT resort to this ungainly sort of "gotcha" journalism. Again, this is an unfortunate distortion that actually makes the movie viewer feel more sympathy for Nixon, which in reality is unwarranted.

    The producers of this DVD could have remedied this confusion by including a second disc containing the entire actual F/N Watergate interview rather than a brief bonus feature with video excerpts from the interview.

    Otherwise Frank Langella is superb as Nixon, but I felt that Michael Sheen overplayed his role as Frost. I suspect that Sheen failed to modulate his stage performance for the screen, which could also be Howard's failing, despite his stated ambition to be an "actor's director".
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