Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Day Reagan Was Shot|
Actors: Richard Dreyfuss, Richard Crenna, Yannick Bisson, Colm Feore, Michael Murphy
Director: Cyrus Nowrasteh
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
From Academy-Award® winning director and producer Oliver Stone comes this riveting true story...March 30, 1981. An insane and obsessive young man named John Hinckley Jr. attemps to kill U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Rushed... more »
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A superb but wildly inaccurate motion picture
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 11/29/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The Day Reagan Was Shot is a gripping, impressive film, but it does a great disservice to the parties involved and to the American public by passing itself off as a true recounting of the awful events of that day. I went into this film somewhat on my guard, knowing that Oliver Stone has never failed to let actual facts get in the way of his historical dramas; I was also leery of the fact that Richard Dreyfuss, a terrific actor but also a well-known liberal, would be playing a primary role. I was ten years old on March 10, 1981, but it is a day I will never forget. I won't dare compare the Reagan assassination attempt with the public execution of President Kennedy, but it was a formative event in my young life. I loved Ronald Reagan, and due largely to him I had begun developing my own political views. The images of those few seconds outside the Hilton Hotel were forever burned into my brain. Seeing the President shoved into a limo and rushed to a hospital while three men lay grievously wounded on the sidewalk was unnerving to say the least, invoking a horror I could scarcely have imagined before that fateful day. Thus, the events presented here are important to me, and I really hoped they would have been presented truthfully - they were not.
It is important for viewers to know that this film deviates wildly from the truth in many important respects. Secretary of State Alexander Haig (played brilliantly by Richard Dreyfuss) is demonized most unfairly, the state of chaos existing that day is exaggerated, the potential of nuclear war against the Soviets during the crisis is far-fetched indeed, and the members of the President's Cabinet and senior level staff are oftentimes wrongly portrayed as buffoons. Not only is Haig presented as a man making a selfish power play, his actions are even referred to more than once as a coup d'etat. Oliver Stone's Haig stomps around barking commands, arguing and insulting his fellow Cabinet members to a ridiculous degree, actually slapping one of his most trusted aides, and usurping power in the midst of a government in crisis. Although his character is redeemed to a small degree later on in the film, Stone unloads all of his guns on Haig's character. It is true that a certain degree of chaos did exist in the wake of the attempt on Reagan's life, and we all know that Haig addressed the public and mistakenly listed secretary of state as next in line for the Presidency after the Vice President (who was in flight over Texas when the assassination attempt occurred). If you look at the history yourself, however (and we now have tapes of the discussions in the crisis center that day), you will find an imperfect yet noble Alexander Haig who took necessary action for the good of the country. When deputy press secretary Larry Speakes went on television and refused to answer a question as to who was currently running the government, Haig stepped in to quell public fears and reassure allies and Cold War enemies that there were indeed capable hands on the wheels of the American government. Besides his inaccurate interpretation of the 25th amendment, Haig has also been criticized for claiming that military alert status had not been raised at the time. In reality, he only learned that Defense Secretary Weinberger had indeed raised that status after he returned to the situation room following his statement to the press. In this movie, he gets that information beforehand and is thus portrayed as lying to the country and the world. This is just one of many facts that Oliver Stone gets wrong.
Oliver Stone makes a mockery of the President's advisors and Cabinet, characterizing them as squabbling children in the aftermath of the shooting. Certainly there was tension and frayed nerves in the crisis center, but Stone goes far beyond the pale in this movie. CIA Director William Casey is particularly targeted for ridicule as a deaf, unintelligible old man. What surprised me more than anything, though, was the inaccuracy of the actual assassination attempt scene. As soon as President Reagan exits the hotel, Hinckley is firing at him; there's no "Mr. President" call just before he steps into the limo, and the brave actions of Jerry Parr (who pushed the President into the limo) and Tim McCarthy (who jumped between the gunman and his target in truly heroic fashion, taking a bullet in his chest for the President) are not given the attention they deserve.
Thus, The Day Reagan Was Shot is poor, politically slanted history. As a motion picture, though, it works wonderfully. The scenes in the hospital are riveting and sometimes graphic, all of the actors and actresses give wonderful performances, and Richard Dreyfuss turns in a truly impressive performance. Thus, I have to balance both sides of the coin in terms of rating this film. It's a five-star movie, but its subversion of the facts and misrepresentation of history cry out for one star only. Thus, I am splitting the difference and giving it three stars. It's a great film, but please don't take Oliver Stone's version of history as the truth."
Excellent, scary and tense!
D. D'Eugenio | Palm Beach, United States | 11/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"An Oliver Stone influenced film that documents the facts the American people didn't know. This film is based on the true behind the scene account of what happened during the hours leading to, and what transpired during and after the attempted assignation of former President Reagan. This film is tense. For those who live it, you might have suspected something; for those who only know this incident from history class, it's an eye opener. If you believe this story, it is a less than flattering account of Reagan's advisors during this crisis. It clearly shows a lack of control, an extremely loose organization filled with egos and politics and what might be the most terrifying, the non-existent communication between agencies (Homeland Security, humm) and the unreliable communication equipment they depended on. What transpired on that day and the days following were more than the world knew. Twenty one years later we now know? This film is worth your time to watch then judge for yourselves. If you're a fan of Richard Dreyfuss, his portrayal of Secretary of State Haig is brilliant. Other excellent performances were given by Richard Creena and Colm Feore."
LOVE THIS MOVIE!
Britt V | 04/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I actually watched this movie on TV and it was one of the best movies i have ever seen! It was so intense and shows alot about the stress of working in the white house durring a major crisis. I am a 16 year old girly girl and i still loved this movie! haha even though im definetly not the type to watch a movie like this,,it just shows how good it was!"
Steven Hellerstedt | 07/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well, there were, in fact, a number of crises on the day President Reagan was shot by John Hinckley and, according to this movie, none of them were handled terribly well. The Soviets, whose troops are massing on the Polish border in what is expected to be a military invasion to crush the Solidarity movement, suddenly have a screenful of nuclear submarines inching towards the US shores. That may be because inexperienced Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger inadvertently put the military on Def-Con Three. Vice President George Bush can't be reached, he's in the air somewhere but the phones aren't working. The doctors at George Washington can't find the bullet, and then have reason to believe it's lodged near the President's heart. Nobody knows what happened to Reagan's wallet, the wallet with the plastic card that will activate the `football' in case the Alexander Haig led crisis control center decides to respond to those approaching subs. The Russian ambassador can't be reached, either, he left for dinner somewhere, and... well, you get the idea.
I don't watch movies to learn history. Movies compress time, heighten and exaggerate conflict, and do any number of other things to entertain us while distorting The Truth. It's enough that they touch the high and low points, and paint the emotions honestly. THE DAY REAGAN WAS SHOT does that, portraying a numbing series of crises and near-disasters that reach their nadir when Haig tells an anxious and agitated press room full of journalists that "I'm in charge here." Miraculously, President Reagan survived the events of that day. Not surprisingly, Haig was the one to shuffle off the national stage a few months later. Haig's ignorance of the 25th amendment, the one that addresses the issue of succession when a president is incapacitated, wasn't the first time he put his foot into it in front of the country. In 1973 Haig became President Nixon's chief-of-staff following HR Haldeman's resignation during the Watergate scandal. Haig's first major verbal gaffe occurred around that time when he told a congressional investigating committee that a suspicious 18-1/2 minute gap on a Watergate tape might have been made by `sinister forces.' To be fair, Haig may have been making a mordant joke. To be honest, he may not have.
Richard Dreyfuss brings the right amount of brittle intensity to his portrayal of Haig, and seems at time on the brink of a physical or emotional collapse. Richard Crenna, in one of his last roles, is effective as Reagan, even though he spends most of the movie under anesthesia. Crenna's main role is to clue us into Haig's thwarted ambitions ("Cap's my foreign crisis guy. You're my foreign policy guy,") and establish his style ("I'm a big-picture guy") in contrast to Haig's, who, when he hands the President a 2000-page report on foreign policies, is told "Can you narrow that down to one or two pages? Make it one." Crenna looks a bit like Reagan, and a few of the other actors, Leon Pownall as Ed Meese, for instance, look like the character they're portraying, too. Dreyfuss doesn't at all look like Alexander Haig, which was a little disconcerting for a while. Still, he's a capable actor and this is a high-tension docu-drama that seems to hew close to the facts. Strong recommendation.