Frost Nixon - 2008 - USED

Frost Nixon - 2008 - USED

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After the Watergate scandal of 1972 and his subsequent resignation in 1974, 400 million people worldwide watched on television as Nixon left the White House aboard Marine One. Among those watching was British journalist David Frost, who was recording a talk show in Australia at the time, and who decided that day to interview Nixon.

Nixon's literary agent, Irving Lazar, believes the interviews would be an opportunity for Nixon to salvage his reputation and profit financially. Lazar demands $500,000 and ultimately secures $600,000 (equivalent to $2,500,000 in 2020) after Frost accepts.

After persuading his friend and producer John Birt that the interviews could be a success, Frost travels with Birt to California to meet with Nixon. Onboard the plane, Frost flirts with a young woman named Caroline Cushing, and the pair begin a relationship as she tags along for the trip.

Frost struggles to sell the interviews to American networks, and decides to finance the project with private money. He brokers his own deals with advertisers and local TV stations to syndicate the broadcast of the interviews. He and Birt hire two investigators — Bob Zelnick and James Reston Jr. — to help Frost prepare. Frost is unsure as to what he wants from the interviews; Reston encourages him to aim for a confession from Nixon.

Under scrutiny by Nixon's post-presidential chief of staff, Jack Brennan, Frost and Nixon embark on the first three recording sessions. Frost is restricted by an agreed-upon timeframe and, under pressure from his own team, attempts to ask tough questions. However, Nixon dominates the sessions regarding the Vietnam War and his achievements in foreign policy. Behind the scenes, Frost's editorial team is nervous about Frost's capacity as a journalist and angry that Nixon appears to be exonerating himself.

Four days before the final interview, which will focus on Watergate, Frost receives a phone call from an inebriated Nixon. In a drunken rant, Nixon declares that they both know the final interview will make or break their careers. He compares himself to Frost, insisting that they both came from humble backgrounds and had to struggle to make it to the top of their fields, only to be knocked back down again. Frost gains new insight into his subject, while Nixon assures Frost that he will do everything in his power to emerge the victor of the final interview.

The conversation spurs Frost into action. For the next three days, he works relentlessly to prepare as Reston pursues a lead at the Federal Courthouse library in Washington.

As the final interview begins, Frost ambushes Nixon with damning transcripts of a conversation between Nixon and Charles Colson that Reston dug up in Washington. As his own team watches in horror from an adjoining room, Nixon admits that he did unethical things, adding, "When the President does it, that means it's not illegal." A stunned Frost is on the verge of inducing a confession when Brennan bursts in and stops the recording. After Nixon and Brennan confer, the interview resumes. Frost aggressively pursues his original line of questioning; Nixon admits that he participated in a cover-up and that he "let the American people down."

Some time after the interviews have aired, Frost and Cushing pay a farewell visit to Nixon at his villa. Frost thanks Nixon for the interviews and Nixon, graciously admitting defeat, thanks Frost in return and wishes him well. Frost gifts Nixon a pair of Italian shoes identical to the ones Frost wore during the interviews. In a private moment, Nixon asks about the night he drunkenly called Frost, implying that he has no recollection of the event. For the first time, Nixon addresses Frost by his first name. Nixon watches Frost and Cushing leave and places the shoes on the villa's stone railing. He solemnly looks out at the sunset as the screen fades out.

A closing onscreen text states that the interviews were wildly successful and Nixon never escaped controversy until his death from a stroke in 1994. 


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Inventory Last Updated: Aug 14, 2022