Thank you! Don't forget to confirm subscription in your email.
A dramatic retelling of the post-Watergate television interviews between British talk-show host David Frost and former president Richard Nixon.
Richard Nixon: That's our tragedy, you and I Mr. Frost. No matter how high we get, they still look down at us. David Frost: I really don't know what you're talking about. Richard Nixon: Yes you do. Now come on. No matter how many awards or column inches are written about you, or how high the elected office is, it's still not enough. We still feel like the little man. The loser. They told us we were a hundred times, the smart asses in college, the high ups. The well-born. The people who's respect we really wanted. Really craved. And isn't that why we work so hard now, why we fight for every inch? Scrambling our way up in undignified fashion. If we're honest for a minute, if we reflect privately, just for a moment, if we allow ourselves a glimpse into that shadowy place we call our soul, isn't that why we're here? Now? The two of us. Looking for a way back into the sun. Into the limelight. Back onto the winner's podium. Because we can feel it slipping away. We were headed, both of us, for the dirt. The place the snobs always told us that we'd end up. Face in the dust, humiliated all the more for having tried. So pitifully hard. Well, to *hell with that*! We're not going to let that happen, either of us. We're going to show those bums, we're going to make 'em choke on our continued success. Our continued headlines! Our continued awards! And power! And glory! We are gonna make those mother fuckers *choke*!
James Reston, Jr.: You know the first and greatest sin of the deception of television is that it simplifies; it diminishes great, complex ideas, stretches of time; whole careers become reduced to a single snapshot. At first I couldn't understand why Bob Zelnick was quite as euphoric as he was after the interviews, or why John Birt felt moved to strip naked and rush into the ocean to celebrate. But that was before I really understood the reductive power of the close-up, because David had succeeded on that final day, in getting for a fleeting moment what no investigative journalist, no state prosecutor, no judiciary committee or political enemy had managed to get; Richard Nixon's face swollen and ravaged by loneliness, self-loathing and defeat. The rest of the project and its failings would not only be forgotten, they would totally cease to exist.
[from trailer] David Frost: Are you really saying the President can do something illegal? Richard Nixon: I'm saying that when the President does it, it's *not* illegal! David Frost: ...I'm sorry?
Richard Nixon: I let them down. I let down my friends, I let down my country, and worst of all I let down our system of government, and the dreams of all those young people that ought to get into government but now they think; 'Oh it's all too corrupt and the rest'. Yeah... I let the American people down. And I'm gonna have to carry that burden with me for the rest of my life. My political life is over.
Richard Nixon: You know those parties of yours, the ones I read about in the newspapers. Do you actually enjoy those? David Frost: Of course. Richard Nixon: You have no idea how fortunate that makes you, liking people. Being liked. Having that facility. That lightness, that charm. I don't have it, I never did.
James Reston, Jr.: I want to give Richard Nixon the trial he never had!
Richard Nixon: These men, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, I knew their families, I knew them since they were just kids. But you now, politically the pressure on me to let them go, that became overwhelming. So, I did it. I cut off one arm then I cut the other and I'm not a good butcher. And I have always mantained what they were doing, what we're all doing was not criminal. Look, when you're in office you gotta do a lot of things sometimes that are not always in the strictest sense of the law, legal, but you do them because they're in the greater interest of the nation. David Frost: Alright wait, wait just so I understand correctly, are you really saying that in certain situations the President can decide whether it's in the best interest of the nation and then do something illegal... Richard Nixon: I'm saying that when the President does it, that means it's *not* illegal! David Frost: I'm sorry?
Richard Nixon: [after being told that one of the interview segments will be about "Nixon the man"] Nixon the man? As opposed to what? Nixon the horse?
Richard Nixon: Take my advice. You should marry that woman. David Frost: Yes. Lovely, isn't she? Richard Nixon: More important than that, she comes from Monaco. They pay no taxes there.
[from trailer] David Frost: Why didn't you burn the tapes? Richard Nixon: I didn't want to take any questions on Watergate!
Bob Zelnick: [Impersonating Nixon, discussing Jack Kennedy] That man, he screwed anything that moved, fixed elections, and took us into Vietnam. And the American people, they loved him for it! Whereas I, Richard Milhous Nixon, worked around the clock in their service, and they hated me! Look. Look. Now I'm sweating. Damn it! Damn it! And Kennedy's so goddamn handsome and blue-eyed! Had women all over him! He screwed anything that moved, and everything. Had a go at Checkers once. The poor little bitch was never the same!
Richard Nixon: [Frost is signing a cheque] I hope that isn't coming out of your own pocket. David Frost: [Gives a quick smile] I wish my pockets were that deep.
David Frost: I'm in this for all I've got.
David Frost: What have I done?
Richard Nixon: [Watching Frost head for his car] You mean to say he just paid me two hundred grand for a visit? Jack Brennan: Yeah. Richard Nixon: Huh. If I'd known that I would invited him for tea.
Richard Nixon: I wouldn't want to be a Russian leader. They never know when they're being taped.
Richard Nixon: Whenever I have had my doubts I remembered the construction worker in Philadelphia because he came up to me and he said 'Sir I got only one criticism of that Cambodia thing; if you'd gone in earlier you might've captured the gun that killed my boy three months ago'. So you're asking me do I regret going into Cambodia?... No, I don't. You know what, I wish I'd gone in sooner. And harder!
[from trailer] Richard Nixon: Why would I want to talk to David Frost? Swifty Lazar: I've got half a million dollars. Richard Nixon: Really?
Jack Brennan: Well, in boxing, you know, there's always that first moment, and you see it in the challenger's face. It's that moment that he feels the impact from the champ's first jab. It's kind of a sickening moment, when he realizes that all those months of pep talks and the hype, the psyching yourself up, had been delusional all along. You could see it in Frost's face. If he didn't know the caliber of the man that he was up against before the interview started, he certainly knew it halfway through the President's first answer.
[reading from a newspaper] Caroline Cushing: "Frost has hired three crack investigators..." James Reston, Jr.: Can I be Crack #1? Bob Zelnick: Can I be Deep Crack?
James Reston, Jr.: You have to set up that he has an anti-democratic personality. There's a reason they call him Tricky Dick.
Richard Nixon: I shall be your fiercest adversary. I shall come at you with everything I got, because the limelight can only shine on one of us. And for the other, it'll be the wilderness, with nothing and no one for company but those voices ringing in our head.
[from trailer] David Frost: I've had an idea for an interview: Richard Nixon. John Birt: You're a talk show host. I spent yesterday watching you interview the Bee Gees. David Frost: Weren't they terrific?
Richard Nixon: [a few seconds before the cameras begin to roll] Did you have a pleasant evening last night? David Frost: Yes, thank you. Richard Nixon: Did you do any fornicating?
David Frost: Success in America is unlike success anywhere else.
Richard Nixon: We're not gonna let that happen! We're gonna make 'em choke!
Richard Nixon: David, did I really call you that night? David Frost: Yes. Richard Nixon: Did we discuss anything important? David Frost: Cheeseburgers. Richard Nixon: Cheeseburgers? David Frost: Goodbye, sir.
David Frost: [Picking up the phone, thinking it's room service] I'll have a cheeseburger. Richard Nixon: [drunk] Mmm. That sounds good. I used to love cheeseburgers, but Dr. Lundgren made me give them up. He switched me to cottage cheese and pineapple instead. He calls them my Hawaiian burgers, but they don't taste like burgers at all. They taste like Styrofoam.
Caroline Cushing: Well, I've never been to Vienna. David Frost: Oh. Well, you'd like it. It's like Paris without the French.
Richard Nixon: Please excuse my golf outfit. It's the official uniform of the retired.
Richard Nixon: [Prior to the second interview] Ah, the great inquisitor. David Frost: More like a trusted confidante.
James Reston, Jr.: [Referring to Nixon] His most lasting legacy is that today any political wrongdoing is immediately given the suffix "-gate".
Richard Nixon: [Reston swore to Zelnick earlier he would never shake Nixon's hand] Pleasure to meet you. [Offers Reston his hand] James Reston, Jr.: [after a pause, he shakily extends his own hand] Mr. President... Bob Zelnick: [after Nixon leaves] Oh that was devastating, I don't think he's ever going to get over that. James Reston, Jr.: Fuck off.