7.7/10
97,542
258 user 299 critic

Frost/Nixon (2008)

Trailer
2:30 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $3.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC
A dramatic retelling of the post-Watergate television interviews between British talk-show host David Frost and former president Richard Nixon.

Director:

Ron Howard

Writers:

Peter Morgan (screenplay), Peter Morgan (play)
Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 22 wins & 72 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow looks to bring down Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Director: George Clooney
Stars: David Strathairn, George Clooney, Patricia Clarkson
Biography | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The story of James Braddock, a supposedly washed-up boxer who came back to become a champion and an inspiration in the 1930s.

Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger, Craig Bierko
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

"The Washington Post" reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that leads to President Richard Nixon's resignation.

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Warden
The Queen (2006)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

After the death of Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth II struggles with her reaction to a sequence of events nobody could have predicted.

Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Originally broadcast in May of 1977, this series of interviews between Sir David Frost and U.S. President Richard Nixon, delves into the various controversies of Nixon's presidency, ... See full summary »

Director: Jorn H. Winther
Stars: David Frost, Richard Nixon
Apollo 13 I (1995)
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

NASA must devise a strategy to return Apollo 13 to Earth safely after the spacecraft undergoes massive internal damage putting the lives of the three astronauts on board in jeopardy.

Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon
Milk I (2008)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The story of Harvey Milk, and his struggles as an American gay activist who fought for gay rights and became California's first openly gay elected official.

Director: Gus Van Sant
Stars: Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsch
Capote (2005)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In 1959, Truman Capote learns of the murder of a Kansas family and decides to write a book about the case. While researching for his novel In Cold Blood, Capote forms a relationship with one of the killers, Perry Smith, who is on death row.

Director: Bennett Miller
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Clifton Collins Jr., Catherine Keener
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A law firm brings in its "fixer" to remedy the situation after a lawyer has a breakdown while representing a chemical company that he knows is guilty in a multibillion-dollar class action suit.

Director: Tony Gilroy
Stars: George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson
JFK (1991)
Drama | History | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison discovers there's more to the Kennedy assassination than the official story.

Director: Oliver Stone
Stars: Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Jack Lemmon
Biography | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An adaptation of the cult memoir of game show impresario Chuck Barris, in which he purports to have been a CIA hitman.

Director: George Clooney
Stars: Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore, George Clooney
The Insider (1999)
Biography | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A research chemist comes under personal and professional attack when he decides to appear in a "60 Minutes" expose on Big Tobacco.

Director: Michael Mann
Stars: Russell Crowe, Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank Langella ... Richard Nixon
Michael Sheen ... David Frost
Sam Rockwell ... James Reston, Jr.
Kevin Bacon ... Jack Brennan
Matthew Macfadyen ... John Birt
Oliver Platt ... Bob Zelnick
Rebecca Hall ... Caroline Cushing
Toby Jones ... Swifty Lazar
Andy Milder ... Frank Gannon
Kate Jennings Grant ... Diane Sawyer
Gabriel Jarret ... Ken Khachigian
Jim Meskimen ... Ray Price
Patty McCormack ... Pat Nixon
Geoffrey Blake ... Interview Director
Clint Howard ... Lloyd Davis
Edit

Storyline

Writer Peter Morgan's legendary battle between Richard Nixon, the disgraced president with a legacy to save, and David Frost, a jet-setting television personality with a name to make, in the story of the historic encounter that changed both their lives. For three years after being forced from office, Nixon remained silent. But in summer 1977, the steely, cunning former commander-in-chief agreed to sit for one all-inclusive interview to confront the questions of his time in office and the Watergate scandal that ended his presidency. Nixon surprised everyone in selecting Frost as his televised confessor, intending to easily outfox the breezy British showman and secure a place in the hearts and minds of Americans (as well as a $600,000 fee). Likewise, Frost's team harbored doubts about their boss' ability to hold his own. But as cameras rolled, a charged battle of wits resulted. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

400 million people were waiting for the truth. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK | France | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 January 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Duel Frost/Nixon See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$180,708, 7 December 2008

Gross USA:

$18,622,031

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$27,426,335
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Oliver Platt previously played Yankees owner George Steinbrenner in the ESPN mini-series The Bronx Is Burning (2007). In 1974, Steinbrenner was convicted and suspended from baseball due to illegal contributions made to Nixon's 1972 re-election campaign. See more »

Goofs

At one point, someone mentions that Frost's contract with Australia's Channel 9 has not been renewed. Earlier, during Frost's Sydney TV taping, studio cameras had the ATN Channel 7 logo. See more »

Quotes

[from trailer]
David Frost: Why didn't you burn the tapes?
Richard Nixon: I didn't want to take any questions on Watergate!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Michael Sheen and Frank Langella are credited simultaneously before the title. Sheen's name is on a lower level, but further to the left; while Langella's is higher up, but pushed to the right. Therefore, depending on whether you read the card top-to-bottom or left-to-right, either actor can be seen as being credited first. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Koppel/Langella: One on One (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Love and Marriage
Written by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen (as James Van Heusen)
(Performed at a nightclub visited by David Frost and associates)
Lyrics rewritten as "Frost and Nixon"
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Howard does not disgrace himself, and the play works better as a film.
10 November 2008 | by Chris KnippSee all my reviews

It didn't seem so in the run-up to the event, but British talk show host/interviewer David Frost's 1977 series of four on screen encounters with the disgraced ex-President Richard Nixon was great, historic television. This movie directed by Ron Howard successfully transfers the Peter Morgan play about the event to the big screen. Arguably, the story belonged here all along. The paraphernalia of a Hollywood production enables Howard to gussy up this claustrophobic event with such acoutrements as the luxury suite of a 747, Nixon's "smart" seaside villa La Casa Pacifica at San Clemente, and the impressive, downright menacing sight of a presidential motorcade. As the train of glittering, dark limos approach the Nixon friend's house where the interviews were shot it feels like a battalion of tanks; and Caroline Cushing (Rebecca Hall), the British socialite Frost chats up on the plane and makes his consort for the duration of the exploit seems the more slinky and glamorous for emerging from a posh airplane rather than a bare stage. Lighting tricks and artful camera angles help make Frank Langella morph more successfully into Nixon than his physicality would otherwise permit. Michael Sheen as Frost already seems to look and sound like his character, and the "monkey suit" blue blazer outfits add the final touch. His task is easier; we don't know so well or care so much what Frost was like. In the film version, both performances take on more nuance. Langella's performance on camera brims of with dyspeptic melancholy, aggression, and self-pity; Michael Sheen's as frost glitters with a muted, hysterical cheer mixing infantilism and fear. The extra visuals of a film also help to show Nixon's comfort and loneliness and Frost's sleazy playboy side.

It's important that the fakery should work well, because the movie must provide lots of closeups that those in the balcony didn't see. So long as it works, the feeling of TV interviews is better achieved in the film, and the actors don't have to yell. The camera, sometimes annoyingly jerky, but in the best moments simply direct and relentless, does their yelling for them.

So I'm saying this is a winner. Peter Morgan after all did the screenplay, and he's no stranger to such efforts--notable examples of his film writing are in The Last King of Scotland and The Queen; a rather less notable one is The Other Boleyn Girl. The flaws are simply in the events. For three of the interview parts, till it gets to Watergate in the fourth, Nixon seems to be winning. Despite a dramatic intervention by Nixon support staffer Col Jack Brennan (Kevin Bacon) to prevent an abject breakdown, Nixon does buckle under in part four. But his admissions still remain in the realm of generality, and there is the question: does anything said on TV really matter? The audience for a West End or Broadway play is a bit different from the popcorn crowd and how appealing this film will be to the mainstream is uncertain. Needless to say it's all talk and minimal action. For students of contemporary American history nonetheless the topic is thrilling. Frost used his own money for down payments. In need of cash and highly mercenary, Nixon used the celebrity agent Swiftie Lazar (Toby Jones) to get $600,000 for the interviews. Frost lost sponsors and the US networks refused to come aboard. He made down payments from his own funds and borrowed. He hired two journalists, Bob Zelnick (Oliver Platt) and James Reston (Sam Rockwell), to do support research. Reston was a firebrand opponent of Nixon. He refused to participate unless there was a commitment to shame Nixon and get him to admit he did wrong in Watergate and betrayed the country's trust.

The issue was whether Frost had the depth to tackle a job like this. He wanted a Watergate confession too, but he let Nicon play him with small talk (despite the man's claim that he was no good at it) and temporize with lengthy self-serving reminiscences that blunted most of Frost's pointed questions. This is where Zelick and especially Reston come in to give a sense of urgency. Again the film excels where the play couldn't in showing Nixon's walk out to his car after each encounter, jubilant at first, pathetic at the end.

Ultimately both in the play and the film, Frost's victory seems a hollow one, of little significance to morality or history. This is above all a story about television. In that arena, this was a coup. and there is great drama in how close Frost's project came to failing. As the encounters got under way, he was losing every sponsor, and later he lost his Australian show, having some time earlier lost his American one. The film tells us they all came back, and then some. Frost never really seems to have reentered the world of American television, but he has had many projects in England and is said now to be "worth £20 million," with a live weekly current affairs program on Al Jazeera English. Nixon is dead, and though he may have won three rounds out of four in the Frost interviews, his legacy is tainted.

The show belongs to Sheen and Langella, but Bacon is excellent as the stiff, loyal Col. Brennan, and Sam Rockwell strong in an unusually serious role for him. As Nixon's somewhat lost wife Pat, the child star of The Bad Seed Patty McCormack is touching. There are lots of other actors, far more than in the stage production, and the best thing is they don't get in the way. San Clemente also plays a significant role. The brightness and beauty of Nixon's ocean-side estate helps dramatize his depression by contrast. There were doubts about putting Howard in charge of the screen version, but they were groundless.


119 of 162 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 258 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed