The true story of several interviews between talk shot host David Frost
and former President Richard Nixon shortly after his resignation.
Directed by Ron Howard
Written by Peter Morgan
Starring Michael Sheen, Frank Langella, Sam Rockwell,
Kevin Bacon, Matthew Macfadyen, Oliver Platt, Rebecca Hall
Based on the stage play by Peter Morgan
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Actor (Frank Langella),
Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing
When President Nixon resigned the presidency in 1974, the nation was in a state of shock. It had never happened before, and (regrettably) it hasn't happened since. In the wake of the Watergate scandal, the American people wanted Nixon's head, but when he left office and was pardoned by President Ford, it looked like Nixon was going to escape without a trial. Enter David Frost, goofy talk show host who wanted a shot at Nixon to boost his ratings and his international profile. Nobody thought he was a good enough journalist to handle Richard Nixon, so he paid for the interviews mostly out of his own pocket. What followed was some of the most extraordinary journalism ever filmed. David Frost became the man who broke Richard Nixon.
Michael Sheen and Frank Langella are extraordinary as Frost and Nixon, respectively. I like how the film doesn't paint Nixon as a monster. People forget that he was an effective leader prior to the Watergate scandal, which will forever be his dark legacy. This film paints Nixon as more of a tired man, haunted by his own sins and burdened with self-loathing. Frost was the first man to tap into it and allow Nixon to (partially) unburden himself. The back-and-forth between Frost and Nixon is breathtaking, which led director Ron Howard to describe the film as the thinking man's Rocky. Any student of history will be impressed by this film, which does treats this historical interview like a boxing match.
Frost/Nixon is a must-see for Watergate obsessives, as well as anyone on the hunt for a juicy story. We get to see the detailed process that went into the prep for the Nixon interview, and how Nixon was the master at deflection. Nobody thought Frost could pull it off because his resume was goofy. It would be like Jimmy Fallon interviewing Nixon today. But here we are, watching a movie based on the experience.