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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like the man himself, great but very flawed
First of all, I give the film itself 5 stars - the Director's Cut, at 3 and 1/2 hours, is a true epic in scope and depth, an excellent (often highly dramatic) portrayal of many things - Nixon himself, America going through intensely difficult social/cultural changes, the power structure of America, as well as many more elements of history and human nature which could take...
Published on 17 Oct. 2004 by iamtheconspirator

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars And... Action!
This film has garnered much kudos on these pages for its adventurous approach to a difficult subject, and all power to Oliver Stone for undertaking such a project in his usual Stakhanovite way. By and large, it has earned its plaudits.
However, I had problems with it. Firstly, although the film had a welter of great performers acting their socks off, I found...
Published on 24 Mar. 2011 by J. Rottweiller Swinburne


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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like the man himself, great but very flawed, 17 Oct. 2004
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First of all, I give the film itself 5 stars - the Director's Cut, at 3 and 1/2 hours, is a true epic in scope and depth, an excellent (often highly dramatic) portrayal of many things - Nixon himself, America going through intensely difficult social/cultural changes, the power structure of America, as well as many more elements of history and human nature which could take up more space than I have here, and that it is best that the viewer discover for themselves.
This is potentially Oliver Stone's best film, and a tragic shame that it has been so overlooked, especially in the U.S. (Stone says as much on a commentary track). Performances all round are fantastic, especially the exceptional Anthony Hopkins. The film is at times difficult, but giving it patience, thought and attention will hopefully yield very worthwhile benefits.
The film receives some worthy extras. On the film disc, Stone features on TWO solo commentary tracks for this film - so much does he have to say and discuss about the film, its background and many related issues. Fascinating listening and worth returning to again. On the extras disc there is an hours worth of deleted/extended scenes, again with optional commentary by Stone, and an hour long interview with Stone by Charlie Rose.
All of this should automatically garner a 5 star rating, but it is the presentation of the film itself which loses a star, probably two if I was feeling more critical. The film is presented in its original ratio of 2.35:1, but is presented non-anamorphically. This in itself isn't a disaster as the main print is very good, but the extra footage is of significantly lower quality (some of it looks like it comes from a video source!) and hence when it is zoomed the picture looks, at times, awful. Nixon has some great photography, especially some of the wonderfully low lit scenes in the Whitehouse, but the presentation of the picture doesn't do it justice by half. I feel that for a film of this quality proper restoration and integration of the extra footage should have been undertaken. Sadly that isn't the case. Secondly, the film disc comes with both Dolby 5.1 and DTS 5.1 tracks. 'Great', I thought, as a big fan of DTS. However, during playback of the DTS track there is VERY audible distortion during at least two scenes that I can clearly remember, when Nixon is shouting - this is incredibly amateurish on the part of those mastering the disc, and both the picture and sound problems are a serious let down to the efforts of the filmmakers, and a serious disappointment to a lover of the film.
However, I would still suggest that this 2-disc set is well worth purchasing. It's the only available director's cut, the extras are very good indeed, and you can get it very cheaply through z-shops. Remedying the problems would probably mean splitting the film onto two discs to allow encoding space for an anamorphic picture, a proper remastering of the sound and restoration of the 'new' footage, but I'm not holding my breath for that particular 3-disc set! Ultimately though, unless you are fanatical about picture and sound quality, this is a superb piece of cinema which deserves to be seen, even more so in this cut, and I heartily recommend this set.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dense, complicated drama, worth the 3 hour running time, 20 May 2002
This review is from: Nixon [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
Oliver Stone's exhaustive biopic of the American president might have seemed excessive (over three hours long, covering his life from childhood to death), if it weren't filmed in such an audacious and imaginative way as this. All the triumphs, defeats, heartaches, fears, doubts and mistakes of the man are covered and hardly any are washed over or ignored. The Watergate scandal is inevitably covered the most here, and keeps the fascination burning throughout. All the cast are brilliant, particularly Anthony Hopkins as Nixon himself, who makes the role his own and commands great screen presence in every scene he's in. You will be captivated and fascinated throughout, with the pace of the film never lagging, always moving forward.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a great film but a highly intriguing one!, 25 Nov. 2000
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This review is from: Nixon [VHS] [1996] (VHS Tape)
Nixon is not a great film but it is truly an intriguing one. Following the personal and political life of one of Americas most notorious presidents was all ways going to spark off controversy and interest, therefore it was just the challenge for Oliver Stone to undertake. Beginning with the Watergate conspiracy the film takes us on an emotional and highly gripping journey through Nixon's life and experiences, his child hood, his victories and defeats, the Vietnam War and China talks. During these presidential scenes I also found the way the film juxtaposed his wavering relationship with his wife between the stresses of political decisions rather effective by adding more depth and allowing the character to further relate to the viewer. Hopkins performance is spell binding and cannot be flawed, he delivers the role in a way that gains sympathy and compassion, something the public could never have known about the real President. The Supporting cast including Mary Steenburgen, James woods and Bob Hoskins to name but a few give immaculate performances, but the show really does belongs to Hoskins. The camera work and direction is also top notch, the changing in camera angles and colours along with tying in old footage add to the atmosphere of this academy nominated picture. The film is too long, being over three hours it flounders to fill such an epic length while the plot is very complex, this film needs to be viewed with concentration but in the end it's pros counteract it's cons and it is worth watching.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars And... Action!, 24 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Nixon [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
This film has garnered much kudos on these pages for its adventurous approach to a difficult subject, and all power to Oliver Stone for undertaking such a project in his usual Stakhanovite way. By and large, it has earned its plaudits.
However, I had problems with it. Firstly, although the film had a welter of great performers acting their socks off, I found difficulty in identifying exactly who was who, what they did and why they were there. Obviously, in this respect, there was no problem with significant others such as Nixon's family, and extremely famous characters such as Henry Kissinger (played with awesome power by Paul Sorvino, in what must be a career-best performance. Before I saw this film I regarded him as principally, and as little more than, the father of the wonderful Mira Sorvino, whose only mistake in life has been to marry someone other than me. I had no idea how great an actor he was). But it was all the accessory characters, played by brilliant actors such as James Woods, J.T. Walsh and E.G. Marshall, that I found bewildering. I felt that, because HE knew his subject and its characters inside out, Stone perhaps forgot that the rest of us - particularly those of us who aren't American - weren't so familiar with the ins-and-outs of such an intricate story. I was never sure of the significance of many such characters, particularly where the Watergate saga was concerned, so that they all tended to run into each other, like wet paint. Maybe the failing here is in me, but I didn't have this problem with "JFK".
Then again, there was the problem of dramatic chiaroscuro, or rather the lack of it. The whole long film was just continuous, climactic sturm und drang, with no relief from either Nixon's tortured soul or the endless succession of political crises. And just to hammer home the point of how hectic every minute of Nixon's life was, there was the frequent use of documentary flashbacks to Vietnam, the Watts riots, the Kennedy assassinations, and all the other ills that beset America during these admittedly tumultuous years. All this was meant to be exciting. With a bit of a rest every now and then, it might have been. As it was, I just found it wearisome.
Still, for all that I'm glad I saw it. I felt by the end that I had a better idea of the man who lay behind the rictus-smile, and I suppose that's all that matters in the end.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Citizen Nixon, 27 Oct. 2004
By 
R Jess "Raymond Jess" (Limerick, Ireland.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Nixon [VHS] [1996] (VHS Tape)
'Nixon' comes off as a greater success than Stone's 'JFK', in part due to the subject of the film itself. President Nixon always had an awareness of his place in history and did much to construct and protect his public image. Oliver Stone's mixture of drama and documentary footage allows the audience to disengage somewhat from the subject and contemplate the historical legacy of this much maligned president. Stone has been obvious in his references to two great fictional American icons, Citizen Kane and Willy Loman of Arthur Miller's 'Death Of A Salesman'. The story of the film is close to 'Kane' in its investigation of the trappings of power, but Nixon's personal character has all the eager despair and bewildered arkwardness of Willy Loman. Probably the last American President who best representated the American Dream through his rise from a lowly grocer's son, Nixon nevertheless remained paranoid about his position in the halls of the elite and like Loman felt the over bearing need to prove his abilties.
Unlike Stone's 'JFK' information and detail are not as important as mood and nuance. Shooting from the bottom up, Stone tries to artifically create the ambience of power but instead the low-lighting, sinister looks and b&w flashbacks creates a pseudo-narcotic atmosphere. An obvious allusion to Nixon's alleged pill-popping.
Time and time again Stone has been attacked for the historical inaccuracies of his movies. However most American historians contemptuous of the purported 'scientific' basis of history espoused by Marxist historians, would be the first to confirm that history isn't a minor fact obsessed 'science'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hopkins at his best, but the script is sometimes a bit too fast pace, 28 Feb. 2007
By 
D. Scheven (london) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Nixon [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
I believe Anthony Hopkins did a brilliant job, probably his best! If you want to get a good look behind the scene in Washington, this is a brilliant portrait of the complexity intrigue and hardship of US politics. While the film confirms Nixon as one of the most repelling US presidents in history, one cannot feel sympathetic to some of his most controversial actions, because you can now see why he did. The only critic on the film is its pace: it jumps that little bit to fast from one sub-plot to the next, which prevents the audience to fully appreciate some very compelling points Oliver Stone and his scriptwriter are making.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly gripping!, 4 Mar. 2004
By 
K. Abraham (Southampton, England.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Nixon [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
This is a film about a troubled President who fights to the bitter end to save his political career. The sheer tenacity that Nixon displays in trying to keep his political career afloat is truly amazing and this is vividly portrayed in Oliver Stone's film. Anthony Hopkins stars as Richard M. Nixon in Stone's continuation of his own American political film saga after the success of JFK. Hopkins delivers a stunning performance as one expects from the renowned British actor. Stone's direction maybe a little distracting from the content of the film, perhaps, but it adds to the postmodernism that is evident in the film. This is a film that stays in your mind for a long while since it creates such a dramatic impact on you the viewer through it's psychoanalysis of Nixon's character. The film is also an covert examination of American conscience during the most difficult times of the Vietnam War when so many Americans were opposed to it. Note the scene where ordinary American students surround Nixon in front of the Lincoln memorial as they protest against the War in Vietnam.
The film does this parallel examination through Nixon's own examination of his conscience.
This film is a must see for all fans of American politics and politics in general.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oliver Stone's Finest Film. Hopkin's Greatest Role., 27 Oct. 2003
By 
This review is from: Nixon [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
This is Oliver Stone's epic "Nixon", perhaps his finest film to date. It's certainly one of Anthony Hopkins greatest roles he has ever undertaken as the tragic disgraced 37th US President. The overall presentation of this film which marks Nixon's rise and fall along with the usual milestones (childhood, early political life, the wilderness years etc) is stylistically akin to Stone's "JFK": deft camera work, rapid edits, use of different types of film, whilst the story and its characters zigzag back and forth. Befitting the subject, it's complex yet utterly compelling.
Its a lot to take in at first, and it does help if you have some knowledge of Nixon's life before and during his presidency (i recommend the Nixon screenplay book which includes essays and the full unedited script with footnotes), but with repeated viewing it all comes together. If Shakespeare were alive today I'm sure he would have found the figure of Nixon, the architect of his own downfall,hard to resist. The story is the King Lear or Othello of the modern age, and Stone's cinematic patchwork along with Hopkin's astonishing delivery in the role (though robbed of the best actor oscar award). The final scene depicting Nixon's farewell speech to his staff is an acting masterclass,full of pathos, brilliantly poised and executed, it could well be Hopkin's finest moment. Its hard to even imagine how Jack Nicholson would have fared! (He was reputedly in second place for the role)
The White House interior sets are breathtaking, the use of historical archive footage fits well, the legendary John Williams is on top form with a brilliant score, and a superb supporting cast just add to the spectacle. This is one of the best drama films of the 90's.
My only negative criticism would be the DVD itself. The US release is far superior, as its a 2 disc set and includes numerous deleted scenes which are featured in screenplay book, and were also put into the actual theatrical trailer. All that is in this DVD is a five minute featurette. It really deserves better. Hope rests with the arrival of a possible DVD Stone boxset Volume 2 over here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HOPKINS IS SPELLBINDING., 13 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Nixon [Blu-ray] [1996] [US Import] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
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"Always remember: others may hate you. But those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself."- Richard Nixon

Here is another Oliver Stone directed drama involving a famous US president that is over three hours. While not nearly as good as JFK, Nixon is still a damn good film. The running time is never really felt as it is always engaging. On a technical level it is fantastic, but what really makes it work is the brilliant performance from Anthony Hopkins. Without him the film wouldn't be half as good. He was absolutely spellbinding.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stone's brilliant biopic., 12 Jan. 2003
By 
Jason Parkes (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Nixon [VHS] [1996] (VHS Tape)
Nixon was given the predictable treatment by the press that has been meted out to Oliver Stone since he released JFK (1992)& as a result appeared to put off the public... This is a severe loss, as Stone is unlikely to get funding for any further films in this mode (though he had failed to make films on Noriega and Eva Peron at this point also).
Stone takes an approach towards the subject which fits somewhere between Welles' Citizen Kane and the historical writings on Nixon by historian Fawn Brodie. The film refers to it's non-reality frequently, from the cue card which alludes to its dramatic status to the opening shot of a projector, to the film within a film- to the montage of real figures (Nixon, JFK, Robert Kennedy etc) with their acted versions. Or the way that Hopkins is not made up to look like RMN, or the frequent stock changes (seemingly for no narrative purpose- like Lindsay Anderson's If...) that flash between black & white and color. Stone is appearing to confirm that this is not the truth, that there is no definitive truth, that the historical record is incomplete with this style. The film also frequently veers off into time-lapse imagery common to films like Koyaanisqatsi & at the end cuts audaciously from Hopkin's goodbye as Nixon to the real thing in the form of Nixon's funeral (where we see Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr & Clinton)- here it is made clear the distinction between the two Nixon's (real & fictional). Then again, as we know- Nixon fictionalised the historical record...
And can we really accept critics like Ambrose & Kissinger on Nixon, stating that a dramatic film based on reality is not the truth. Yeah, that and Battleship Potemkin, Napoleon & just about every film that uses history to any degree! I mean, at points we see Nixon with the ghost of his mother- how can an image of the fantastic be seen as "reality" (rather than symbolic interpretation of various biographies of Nixon)? And I didn't see the press pounce on Fawn Brodie for suggesting an analogy between Nixon's two dead brothers and the dead Kennedy brothers found here...
Stone is surprisingly empathetic towards his subject from time to time, he is seen as an intelligent man who made some achievments such as detente & a man who had everything...and lost it all (as the Biblical quote that precedes the film suggests). The fact we see his controversies: Kent State, the bombing of Cambodia, the Checkers speech, the Alger Hiss lies etc only puts these in tragic context. The historical record, as with JFK, will only get more complete as time passes- fresh works on Nixon suggest that the establishment view of Nixon is as questionable as Stone suggests it is here.
Hopkins delivers one of his greatest performances, and is ably supported by a stellar cast: JT Walsh, James Woods, Joan Allen, Powers Boothe, Paul Sorvino, EG Marshall, Mary Steenburgen etc. The cinematography by Robert Richardson is particularly great also.
Nixon is a key biopic, with its allusions to King Lear- and something more than most biopics- applying codes of cinema to notions of biography. Strange that a film like this is criticised by the mainstream press, who have let similar dramatic approaches to Nixon elsewhere slide. Nixon being depicted & alluded to in works such as Sleeper, Nixon's Nixon, Saturday Night Live, countless TV movies, The Simpsons, Futurama, Dick etc- Look also at fiction that operates in a similar manner like American Tabloid & Underworld. Stone is doing nothing new in depicting the subject, it's just his approach which people find problematic. Perhaps as it looks at things that people don't want to look at? Perhaps cos it wants to look at the erroneous nature of history, something that will only be corrected when the information becomes impotent (look at the tapes that Nixon protected for the rest of his life). No whitewash?
Nixon is one of the strongest films of the 1990's and a key biopic of the 20th century- though it would be helpful to read a little around the subject if unfamiliar with Watergate, Hiss, Cambodia etc. Stone assaults the senses with this audacious film that I think is a neglected work of genius.
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