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Nixon Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    It takes on the resonance of classic tragedy. Tragedy requires the fall of a hero, and one of the achievements of Nixon is to show that greatness was within his reach.

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  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Gene Siskel

    It's a superb, thoughtful drama that doesn't claim to be a documentary and shouldn't be judged as such. [22 Dec 1995, p.B]

  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Mike Clark

    Oliver Stone's Nixon humanizes a reviled but respected subject for over three hours - dynamically at times, but finally so solemnly that it becomes a grind-you-down dirge. The maker of Natural Born Killers actually concludes with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing Shenandoah - without irony. [20 Dec 1995, p.1D]

  • 70

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Since Mr. Stone is a prisoner of his penchant for pop-psychologizing on a cosmic scale, his movie has the astounding effect of absolving President Nixon of personal guilt for his crimes and misdeeds without bothering to explain what he did wrong. [21 Dec 1995, p.A12]

  • 75

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    In this motion picture, Oliver Stone presents his vision of the forces that drove and motivated the late President. And, factual or not, there's no denying that Nixon has moments when it is nothing short of compelling.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 13+

Dense psychodrama of much-disliked U.S. president.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the dialog in the Nixon White House is a veritable profanity-gate, with R-rated usage of the F-word, the S-word, the c-word, and numerous racial epithets (this is historically accurate, as the tapes revealed). Vintage newsreels and broadcast-TV footage show glimpses of corpses, explosions, and war atrocities in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Chile. There is talk of the sexual lives of leading figures such as Martin Luther King, Henry Kissinger, and the Kennedys. Meanwhile FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, heavily hinted as a homosexual, flirts with a waiter. This is a looong movie (even longer in the "Director's Cut"), so it's not the best choice for short-attention-span viewers.

  • Families can talk about the character of Richard Nixon, both in this dramatization and in reality. Do you think this movie is fair to him? Fact-check what parts really happened and what parts (like a conspiratorial meeting with a nameless, sinister Texas oilman, played by Larry Hagman) are Stone's imagination. For what it's worth, the Nixon family was unhappy with this movie. You can have kids research the life and career of the controversial statesman and the tangled Watergate scandal. Do they think the country (and the Congress) learned anything constructive from Nixon's downfall? Can you relate it to the Washington D.C. of today?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: This version of Nixon is certainly a mixed character, but more tragic than an actual villain. Brought up in a strict Christian household on principles of truth and honesty, he becomes known popularly as a liar and a cheat. He tries to do good as a public servant, even succeeds in some ways, yet ruthlessly violates the law to maintain his power, and close friends and advisors are suspected of treachery. There is casual racist talk in high U.S. government circles about African Americans and Jews. An FBI director comes across as more like an evil mob boss -- an evil gay mob boss.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: War and assassination footage in vintage news clips, some of which depict dead and mutilated corpses, fiery explosions.

  • sex false2

    Sex: Gossip of sexual indiscretions and adventuring by Daniel Ellsberg, Dwight Eisenhower, Martha Mitchell, the Kennedy men, even Martin Luther King Jr. J. Edgar Hoover is depicted flirting with another man and called a "queen," even though his (rumored) homosexuality is never directly confronted.

  • language false4

    Language: Numerous racial epithets for Jews and African Americans (including the N-word), the F-word, the S-word -- this all out of a president's mouth (though he regrets the profanity becoming known to the public). Some of Nixon's cabinet similarly swear.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Mention of prominent newspapers, TV networks, automobile companies.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Social drinking, with the character of Pat Nixon particularly sinking into alcoholism and chainsmoking as a consequence of her unhappy marriage. Richard Nixon at one point has a prominent bottle of pills. As a boy he is severely upbraided for smoking homemade cigarettes of corn-silk.