Best biographic documentary of Nixon
Isaac Ho | Canada | 10/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw the entire documentary on PBS about President Nixon last night. I think, in a nut shell, it tells in full details the life and time of this American politician who is still not well understood by his countryman. For sure, the Chinese government and the people in China respect President Nixon for visiting their country in 1970s - the first American presidential visit. In a way, Nixon and his entourage has laid the ground work to foster understanding and cooperation between the Chinese and American people. In doesn't matter that Nixon, during his presidency, has made many annoying mistakes but the fact remains that he has been instrumental in terminating the agonizing Vietnam War as well as bring China into the international arena which bear fruits today - the glittering Beijing Olympic Games - and this would speak volumes of Nixon blazing the trail of international understanding. So how could the Chinese government and the people forget Nixon's efforts in this regard. Cheers...! My advice is just buy the DVD and watch it for yourself as I have decided to do now. Three solid hours of documentary viewing, man!"
A Fine Introduction to RN
Sherringford Clark | Mayor's Income, Tennessee | 11/14/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The American Experience documentary about Richard Nixon is definitely above average. Surprisingly, I found the first part to be the best of the three, covering Nixon's early years. There was more insight into the man and more interesting footage. The second and third parts cover Nixon's presidency, but I found these disappointing. They repeat much of the same information, and spend way too much time on Watergate - at least 45 minutes.
Another problem is (as with most studies of the man) there is a slight anti-Nixon bias. They repeat the same tired story about how Nixon destroyed Jerry Voorhis and Helen Gahagan Douglas in his elections aginst them, and they are both featured in the documentary, accusing Nixon of dirty politics. This is nonsense, of course, as anyone who read the Ambrose biography would know. Voorhis was simply out of his depth, and Douglas first tried to accuse Nixon of being a communist, which was a huge mistake. Clearly, both underestimated Nixon, and they should blame themsleves for their defeats.
Anyway, this documentary is principally valuable because it features a lot of footage of Nixon, his appearances and speeches. It's a shame that there is no convenient collection of all of Nixon's televised speeches. The Criterion Collection DVD of Altman's "Secret Honor" featured a good many of his speeches as bonus features, but that movie is terrible and hardly worth owning. (It is strange how "Secret Honor," and the recent "Frost/Nixon," reveal how much Nixon is misunderstood to this today. Portrayals of him on screen are generally unrecognizable, although Hopkins was probably the best. Of course, he courted this misuderstanding himself by remaining so elusive to even his closest associates.)
All in all, this is an excellent introduction to Nixon, although it is a shame it does not cover his post-presidential years in some part but ends with the resignation and pardon. Hopefully, though, it will lead the interested viewer to read the Ambrose 3-volume biography and other works on and by Nixon, who remains an endlessly fascinating individual. Love him or hate him, Nixon is the most important American politician of the second half of the 20th century."