Best of Enemies

Best of Enemies

Buckley Vs. Vidal

DVD - 2015
Average Rating:
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Dead last in the ratings, ABC hired two towering public intellectuals to debate each other during the Democratic and Republican national conventions. William F. Buckley Jr. was a leading light of the new conservative movement. A Democrat and cousin to Jackie Onassis, Gore Vidal was a leftist novelist and polemicist. Armed with deep-seated distrust and enmity, Vidal and Buckley believed each other's political ideologies were dangerous for America.
Publisher: Los Angeles, California : Magnolia Home Entertainment, [2015]
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9786316214928
6316214928
Branch Call Number: DVD 323.097 BES
Characteristics: video file, DVD video, region 1, rda
NTSC, rda
digital, optical, surround, Dolby Digital 5.1, rda

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LetsNeverPart Jul 24, 2017

Our 24 hour news cycles and toe-to-toe punditry didn't come out of nowhere. This documentary was a history lesson for me as I am a little young for the events it covers. But, wow-- does it highlight the beginning points of our current national dialog style, having opened Pandora's boxes and posing questions that we still haven't solved. Those with firsthand memory of the rivalry portrayed in the film, I would be interested in your take!

s
StarGladiator
Jan 07, 2017

Quote: // ABC hired two towering public intellectuals . . . \\ ????
You mean Vidal and Buckley??? Holy cow!!! I remember that, when Buckley left his booth to physically attack Vidal. Hardly towering behavior, that? Although I agree with Vidal's assessment of Eisenhower as one cagey, diabolical politician, his gigantic gay crush on his cousin, Jackie Bouvier [Kennedy, Onassis], biased his thinking against both John F. Kennedy's presidency and assassination. Buckley was just a privileged chump!

l
laparesseuse
Jan 06, 2017

Speaking about whether television runs America, Buckley says "there is an implicit conflict of interest between that which is highly viewable and that which is highly illuminating." Perhaps the only thing he said with which I could agree. And so true today.

s
seeker472
Sep 15, 2016

I watched most of the debate between these two enormous egos at the time they were shown. It was very entertaining and thought provoking television. Being small town Canadian raised the debate between two completely opposite points of view was a new experience compared to our very civilized politics. Best of Enemies shows two points of view, and the personal flaws behind them as well as the egos that drove them in a very different light. I enjoyed it very much.

g
Gary Geiserman
May 14, 2016

As much fun as this is it’s the very least of both of these cats. Better would be OTHER stuff by either or both. >>>> Youtube et al….. Buckley is actually a tragic figure; a few twisted beliefs early on strangled a ‘philosopher’s mind’. He was a beautiful nullifying mess; mesmerizing. >>> Vidal is a very rare example of a ‘liberal’ who naturally went left and became a radical. Truth sayer!

s
snavelyz
Apr 29, 2016

This is a wonderful film. Do not miss the "special features" section. for additional comment and footage of this film.

I see a wonderful, learned gentleman in William Buckley, jr; and a small-minded, nasty, greedy- money grabbing, phony, hypocritical and vulgar Gore Vidal

LPL_DanC Feb 24, 2016

A solid documentary about a series of televised debates between William F. Buckley Jr. and Gore Vidal that took place against the backdrop of the 1968 Democratic and Republican political conventions. Vidal and Buckley are both fascinating, as is the examination of their public feud and its impact on their lives, but the movie also documents an important chapter in the history of political coverage and debate on television.

xaipe Feb 16, 2016

The documentary “Best of Enemies” is an engrossing and surprisingly entertaining documentary about the notorious 1968 televised clash between conservative William F. Buckley Jr. and liberal Gore Vidal. Buckley, who was then a high-profile figure thanks to his National Review magazine and “Firing Line” television talk show, was enlisted to speak for the right wing. Vidal, a noted author, playwright and political commentator whose novel “Myra Breckinridge” was at the time a much-publicized and scandalous best-seller spoke for the left.
The late ‘60s was a time when intellectuals such as Vidal and Buckley were widely recognized celebrities and routinely invited as guests on late night talk shows hosted by the likes of Jack Paar and Dick Cavett. It’s a toss-up as to which vintage clip in this documentary is funnier: Buckley trading quips with the cast of “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In,” Vidal hobnobbing with Hugh Hefner on “Playboy After Dark," or Buckley's melt-down at Vidal's accusation.
Buckley, who never misses an opportunity to hiss the title “Myra Breckinridge” like a cobra spitting venom, likens the anti-war protestors of the infamous 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention to bullying fascists. This prompts Vidal to reply that “the only pro- or crypto-Nazi I can think of is yourself.” And that is when Buckley loses it. “Now listen, you queer,” Buckley angrily snarls. “Stop calling me a crypto-Nazi, or I’ll sock you in your goddamn face, and you’ll stay plastered.” All of this on live TV. At that point, interviewee Dick Cavett impishly says, “The network nearly shat.”
This documentary is great fun for those old enough to remember live television and the Buckley/Vidal dust-ups and for those interested in seeing how profoundly political discourse has changed since then. Kelsey Grammer serves as the off-camera “voice” of Buckley (who died in 2008), and John Lithgow does the same for Vidal (who died in 2012).

real_thing Feb 02, 2016

Politics. This is are history. Buckley/Vidal. One of the best documentaries of the year.

j
jamescalhoun
Dec 11, 2015

A really fun documentary about the Vidal/Buckley debates on ABC in 1968. The special features include extended interview clips with all of those interviewed for the film, including Christopher Hitchens & Sam Tanenhaus and are well worth watching.

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