How Accurate Is Oliver Stone's Nixon Film: History and Cultural Commentary - George McGovern (1997)

Nixon is a 1995 American biographical film directed by Oliver Stone for Cinergi Pictures that tells the story of the political and personal life of former US 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 Joan Allen, Annabeth Gish, Powers Boothe, J. T. Walsh, E. G. Marshall, James Woods, Paul Sorvino, Larry Hagman, and David Hyde Pierce, plus cameos by Ed Harris, Joanna Going, and political figures such as former President Bill Clinton in TV footage from the Nixon funeral service.
This was Stone's second of three films about the American presidency, made four years after JFK about the assassination of John F. Kennedy and followed thirteen years later by W., the story of George W. Bush.

The film is non-linear, framed by scenes of Nixon listening to his secret recordings towards the end of his presidency as the Watergate crisis intensifies. As such, it covers all aspects of Nixon's life as a composite of actual events, usually in the form of memories triggered by the recordings or newsreel-style summaries. It depicts his childhood in Whittier, California, as well as his growth as a young man, football fan and player, and suitor to his eventual wife, Pat Ryan. It explores most of the important events of his presidency, including his downfall due to abuse of executive power in the White House.
The film implies that Nixon and his wife abused alcohol and prescription medication. 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 movie 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", 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 the assassination and, eventually, Watergate.
The film ends with Nixon's resignation and famous departure from the lawn of the White House on the helicopter, Army One. Real life footage of Nixon's state 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.

Anthony Hopkins as Richard Nixon.
The studio did not like Stone's choice to play Nixon. They wanted Tom Hanks or Jack Nicholson — two of Stone's original choices. The director briefly considered Gene Hackman, Robin Williams, Gary Oldman and Tommy Lee Jones. Stone met with Warren Beatty but the actor wanted to make too many changes to the script.[1] Stone cast Hopkins based on his performances in The Remains of the Day and Shadowlands. Of Hopkins, Stone said, "The isolation of Tony is what struck me. The loneliness. I felt that was the quality that always marked Nixon."[2] When the actor met the director he got the impression that Stone was "one of the great bad boys of American pop culture, and I might be a fool to walk away." What convinced Hopkins to ultimately take on the role and "impersonate the soul of Nixon were the scenes in the film when he talks about his mother and father. That affected me."
Joan Allen as Pat Nixon
When Beatty was thinking about doing the film, he insisted on doing a reading of the script with an actress and Allen was flown in from New York City. Afterwards, Beatty told Stone that he had found his Pat Nixon.
Annabeth Gish as Julie Nixon Eisenhower
Marley Shelton as Tricia Nixon Cox

White House Staff and Cabinet
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)

The Nixon Family
Mary Steenburgen as Hannah Milhous Nixon
Tony Goldwyn as Harold Nixon
Tom Bower as Francis Nixon
Sean Stone as Donald Nixon
Corey Carrier as adolescent Richard Nixon
David Barry Gray as young adult Richard Nixon
White House Plumbers[edit]
Ed Harris as E. Howard Hunt
John Diehl as G. Gordon Liddy
Robert Beltran as Frank Sturgis

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