Nixon is a 1995 American biographical political drama film directed by Oliver Stone, produced by Clayton Townsend, Stone and by Andrew G. Vajna. The film was written by Stone, Christopher Wilkinson and by Stephen J. Rievele. The film tells the story of the political and personal life of former U.S. President Richard Nixon, played by Anthony Hopkins.
The film portrays Nixon as a complex and, in many respects, admirable, though deeply flawed, person. Nixon begins with a disclaimer that the film is "an attempt to understand the truth [...] based on numerous public sources and on an incomplete historical record."
The cast includes Anthony Hopkins, Joan Allen, Annabeth Gish, Marley Shelton, Powers Boothe, J. T. Walsh, E. G. Marshall, James Woods, Paul Sorvino, Bob Hoskins, Larry Hagman, and David Hyde Pierce, plus cameos by Ed Harris, Joanna Going, and political figures such as President Bill Clinton in TV footage from the Nixon funeral service.
Plot[edit | edit source]
The movie begins in 1972 with the White House Plumbers breaking into The Watergate and subsequently getting arrested. Eighteen months later in December 1973, Richard Nixon's Chief of Staff, Alexander Haig (Powers Boothe), brings Nixon (Anthony Hopkins) audio tapes for Nixon to listen. The two men discuss the Watergate scandal and the resulting chaos. After discussing the death of J. Edgar Hoover, Nixon uses profanity when discussing John Dean, James McCord and others involved in Watergate. As Haig turns to leave, Nixon asks Haig why he hasn't been given a pistol to commit suicide like an honorable soldier.
Nixon starts the taping system which triggers memories that begin a series of flashbacks within the film. The first begins on June 23, 1972 about one week after the breakin, during a meeting with H. R. Haldeman (James Woods), John Ehrlichman (J.T. Walsh) and Dean (David Hyde Pierce). Ehrlichman and Dean leave, and Nixon speaks the ""Smoking_Gun"_tape smoking gun" tape to Haldeman.
The film covers most aspects of Nixon's life and political career and implies that Nixon and his wife abused alcohol and prescription medications. Nixon's health problems, including his bout of phlebitis and pneumonia during the Watergate crisis, are also shown in the film, and his various medicants are sometimes attributed to these health issues. The film also hints at some kind of responsibility, real or imagined, that Nixon felt towards the John F. Kennedy assassination through references to the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the implication being that the mechanisms set into place for the invasion by Nixon during his term as Dwight D. Eisenhower's vice-president spiraled out of control to culminate in Kennedy's assassination and, eventually, Watergate.
The film ends with Nixon's resignation and departure from the lawn of the White House on the helicopter, Marine One. Real life footage of Nixon's funeral in Yorba Linda, California plays out over the extended end credits, and all living ex-presidents at the time—Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and then-president Bill Clinton—are shown in attendance.
Cast[edit | edit source]
- Anthony Hopkins as Richard Nixon
- Joan Allen as Pat Nixon
- Annabeth Gish as Julie Nixon Eisenhower
- Marley Shelton as Tricia Nixon Cox
- James Woods as H. R. Haldeman
- Woods talked Stone into giving him the part, a role that the director had planned to offer Ed Harris.
- J. T. Walsh as John Ehrlichman
- Paul Sorvino as Henry Kissinger
- Powers Boothe as Alexander Haig
- E. G. Marshall as John N. Mitchell
- David Paymer as Ron Ziegler
- David Hyde Pierce as John Dean
- Kevin Dunn as Charles Colson
- Saul Rubinek as Herbert G. Klein
- Fyvush Finkel as Murray Chotiner
- Tony Plana as Manolo Sanchez (Nixon's valet)
- James Karen as William P. Rogers
- Richard Fancy as Melvin Laird
- Mary Steenburgen as Hannah Milhous Nixon
- Tony Goldwyn as Harold Nixon
- Tom Bower as Francis Nixon
- Sean Stone as Donald Nixon
- Joshua Preston as Arthur Nixon
- Corey Carrier as adolescent Richard Nixon
- David Barry Gray as young adult Richard Nixon
- Ed Harris as E. Howard Hunt
- John Diehl as G. Gordon Liddy
- Robert Beltran as Frank Sturgis
- Bob Hoskins as J. Edgar Hoover
- Brian Bedford as Clyde Tolson
- Madeline Kahn as Martha Beall Mitchell
- Edward Herrmann as Nelson Rockefeller
- Dan Hedaya as Trini Cardoza, based upon Bebe Rebozo
- Bridgette Wilson as Sandy
- Ric Young as Mao Zedong
- Boris Sichkin as Leonid Brezhnev
- Sam Waterston as Richard Helms (scenes present only in director's cut)
- Larry Hagman as "Jack Jones"
- Unlike some other characters in the film who represent actual people, Jack Jones, a billionaire investment banker and real estate tycoon, is a composite character, who is emblematic of "big business" in general. The character may be a reference to Nixon's meetings with Clint Murchison, Sr., although he also illuminates Nixon's relationships with Howard Hughes, H. L. Hunt and other entrepreneurs.
- George Plimpton as the President's lawyer