“Nixon” (1995) movie by American director Oliver Stone

Nixon (1995) is a movie by American director Oliver Stone, the second (after JFK) in his series of films about U.S. presidents. The film describes the major milestones of life of the 37th U.S. President Richard Milhouse Nixon and his political career after 1960 – the year of Nixon’s first campaign for president – particularly focusing on the events surrounding the Watergate scandal. The movie tells the story of Richard Nixon, president of the United States, whose presidential term ended in disgrace. He became the only U.S. president who resigned to avoid impeachment.
This is the most interesting movie about political figures, confirming the idea that in politics people like the president of the United States can not remain a normal, because politics itself is the most horrible disease of mankind, because it serves the interests not of the people on the planet, but states, and within nations – it serves the interest of those who have power, not the people casting their votes for less evil. In order to create a portrait of a hostage of political power struggles, the filmmakers turned to more than 80 major works on American history, showing Nixon from childhood, in adolescence and throughout life up to the Hotel Watergate.

The movie quite authentically tells about his presidency. The film allows learning about the political environment of the 60-70s in America. It described how Republican Nixon on the election in 1960 ran for president, but lost to John F. Kennedy. In 1968 and 1972 he was elected to the presidency (the only American politician who was elected to two terms as vice-president, and later two terms as president). The viewer observes not only the life of the president, but life throughout the country, all the events of that time.

The film also proves that in domestic policy, Nixon remained moderate conservative. Despite strong opposition in Congress, he has cut federal spending on social programs, dismissed the department responsible for economic opportunities that was formed in 1964 to address the problems of the poor, and launched a program to reduce subsidies to farmers. Four conservatives were appointed for the vacant seats in the Supreme Court; it liberalization of the judicial system.

The film helps to find out that in international affairs, Nixon was primarily concerned about the fulfillment of his campaign promise to terminate the participation of Americans in the Vietnam War and achieve an honorable peace. While a stop in Guam during his visit to seven countries in the world in July 1969, Nixon said that by continuing to provide assistance to Asian countries fighting communism, the U.S. would not send troops to participate in the wars in Asia. That doctrine contained a recommendation to U.S. allies to rely on their own strength, although there was no hint of denial from the United States` superpower status. Nixon made it clear in April 1970 when he sent troops to Cambodia to support the newly formed government.

Watching the movie, it becomes clear that from the first day in office, Nixon had to deal with feverish economy, which resulted in the severe inflation. He introduced a restrictive budget and monetary policy. Nixon contributed to the development of unprecedented centralization of executive power. He tried to be separate from the Congress, virtually ignoring it while carrying out foreign policy.

This movie has some links with the book We the People: A Concise Introduction to American Politics, written by Thomas E. Patterson. The book, together with the movie faithfully describes American history, government and political life of society at that time. In the book, especially in Chapter 8 Political Parties, Candidates, and Campaigns: Defining the Voter’s Choice the author also narrates some episodes of the Nixon presidency. These two sources make the viewer (reader) to think critically, analyze in depth the actions of the president, and understand the main concepts and ideas of policy at the time. The movie is fascinating and interesting from the standpoint of history, as it in detail tells about American politics during the presidency of Richard Nixon.


Leave a Reply