Video Resource
Those resources indicated by a * are also in the main bibliography of the annotated screenplay by Oliver Stone.

*American Experience: Richard Nixon.  PBS Production, Directed by David Espar, Elizabeth Deane and Marilyn H. Mellowes.  1992
Main Home Page:
Teacher's Guide:

This three-hour documentary is possibly the best and most student friendly documentary on the topic of Richard Nixon's presidency.  By using live footage, interviews, photographs, and many other resources, the director's present an engaging portrait of the president that is extremely useful in understanding the major events in Oliver Stone's Nixon.  Divided into "The Quest," which shows his early political career, "Triumph," which depicts his presidential years, and "The Fall," which covers the Watergate years, this well-researched documentary does not cover Nixon's later years as an elder statesman.

An important aspect of this biography is the extensive online resources that PBS has set up at the American Experience website.  Noted above is the main home page address, which includes several sections.  Nixon's biography is divided into his "Early Career," "Domestic Policies," "Foreign Affairs," "Presidential Politics," and "Legacy."  In another section titled "The Film and More," researchers, students, and teachers can find a full transcript of all three tapes in the series, transcripts of interviews with experts discussing different aspects of Nixon's career such as Henry Kissinger and John Ehrlichman.

American Justice: High Crimes and Misdemeanors.  Produced by Kurtis Productions, Ltd. & Towers Productions, Inc. for A&E Network.  New York: A&E Home Video: distributed by New Video Group, c1998-1999.  50 minutes.

A slick television program in which several historians comment on significant presidential scandals including Watergate (Richard Nixon), Monicagate (Bill Clinton), as well other politicians who faced impeachment or were impeached from their office, for example Judge Alcee Lamar Hastings who was an U.S. district court judge.  Hastings claimed that his investigation was tainted (an FBI agent did come forward claiming that he lied in his testimony) and his case indicates the problems inherent in the impeachment process.  The documentary traces the evolution of the term "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" and the reasons for which the Founding Fathers felt the impeachement law and process are necessary for a democratic process.  Historians discuss the impeachment of Andrew Johnson, the 17th president of the United States. The video is both entertaining and educational and will provide students quick information about the origination and execution of the impeachment process but is not useful in providing any particular information about President Nixon or Watergate that cannot be gleaned from other documentaries.

Death of a Statesman: The Final Journey.  Production of the Orange County Newschannel ; producer, director/writer, Wayne A. Brown ; producer/editor, Kim Cherry.    [California] : Freedom Communications, c1994.  59 min. 

A producton of the news staff Orange County NewsChannel comprised of the story and events surrounding the death and funeral of Richard Nixon.  A film traces Nixon's "return" to his hometown of Yorba Linda, the final resting place for the President and his wife.  The film shows the remarkable exodus of mourners and well-wishers that descended onto Nixon's birthplace as soon as it was announced he had suffered a heart attack.  As his condition grew worse, many waited with candles, prayers, and flowers -- many touching interviews contain the same sentiment -- Nixon was a great leader who had accomplished much for the nation, and his few mistakes were inconsequential or not important enough to mar his achievements.  One woman put it best when she said, "he is not perfect, which is the indication of his humanity and that we should all learn from our mistakes and live to continue."  Surprisingly, mourners included young children -- one young girl had done a report on the president and her mother described her as becoming "obsessed" with her subject.  The third-grader broke down, unable to speak to cameras.  The documentary also contains footage of the state funeral with speeches by Billy Graham, Bob Dole, and Henry Kissinger.  Many scholars complain about the lack of coverage of Nixon's life as well as American opinion of him after his resignation, and this is an interesting resource to fill those gaps.

The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara.   Dir. Errol Morris, 2003.

A documentary that examines the life of Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense in the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, and discusses his involvement in Cuban missile crisis, the fire-bombing of Japan during WWII, and his role in design and prolonging of the Vietnam War. Winner of the 2003 Oscar for Best Documentary, the film should be watched by students of Nixon's presidency because of its unflinching looks at leaders during times of war.  Although McNamara was fired by the time Nixon would be in office, the eleven lessons that he outlines including No.1 and 2, "Empathize with your enemy" and "Rationality will not save us," or  No. 7, "Belief and seeing are both often wrong," and No. 8, "Be prepared to reexamine your reasoning," would be put to the test, and according to Oliver Stone's version Nixon failed at learning from any of McNamara or Johnson's mistakes.  For so many scholars, the Vietnam War was in direct oposition to lesson 5, "Proportionality should be a guideline in war," to which Nixon would probably respond with lesson 9, "In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil."  Watching McNamara speak reminds me of watching footage of Nixon in his later years reflect on his presidency, and as Roger Ebert writes, "the effect of The Fog of War is to impress upon us the frailty and uncertainty of our leaders. They are sometimes so certain of actions that do not deserve such certitude."

Powers of the President. Foreign Policy: Nixon and Ford.  Producer, Jeremy Cooper ; BBC ; editor, Tony Roscoe.   Princeton: Films for the Humanities & Sciences, Inc., 1996.

An important, yet one-sided video for any student studying the history of American involvement in Vietnam and Cambodia, as well as the President's power to declare war.  The documentary also covers Congress's 1973 War Powers Resolution, a bill which would control the president's power in matters of foreign policies, and vetoed by both President Nixon and President Ford, both arguing that the law would be unconstitutional.  Several presidents are interviewed who argue that their office entitles them to freedom in such matters, but students can make up their minds as to whether these presidents have properly applied their powers.

Nixon about Nixon.  Las Vegas: Library Distributors of America, 1994.  60 minutes.

An hour-long documentary offers us a unique perspective on many of the events during Nixon's political career.  In candid commentary, President Nixon shares his opinions on issues such as his race for the vice-presidency and presidency, his historic trip to meet with Soviet leaders, the war in Vietnam, as well as his trip to China.  The presentation of the documentary might not be student friendly since it is not very professional and is slightly dated, but if coupled with the The Real Richard Nixon, provides a full portrait of the president's life, from his point of view.  The video sees Nixon as a visionary peacemaker and takes a positive reading of most of his policies.

The Real Richard Nixon. Director, Jesse Raiford ; writer, Frank Gannon ; executive producer, Raiford Communications, Inc.  New York: Central Park Media, 1995.  201 minutes.

"The only thing worse than being wrong on an issue is to be dull.  Whatever else they've said about me, I wasn't dull." --Richard M. Nixon. One of the best documentaries of Richard Nixon, featuring commentary from the president, on his early life, his marriage, his politics, and the last days of his terms.  The program comes in three parts: Early Life, Pat, and Twenty Eight Days.  Historian and interviewer Frank Gannon talks to the president in a non-combative way and tries to bring out the most frank details and discussion about his life.  The memoir contains several photographs and videos of the president that cannot be seen in other places, and Nixon candidly comments on both the good and bad side of his political life.  One of the more impressive parts of the documentary is the "Pat" video.  Although it is Pat's biography through the eyes of Richard Nixon, it is one of few documentaries that focus on her.   The documentary presents an articulate, insightful, and at times humorous Nixon, a far cry from the caricatures painted of him by the press.

Richard Nixon Reflects.  Blackwell Corporation in association with South Carolina Educational TV Network; producer, Lawrence Delaney, Jr.; cameras, Gary Henoch, William Johnson, Mark Chamberlain; videotape editor, Jerry Manley. Oak Forest: MPI Home Video, 1990.  90 min.

Morton Kondracke hosts a thorough interview with Nixon in which he talks about his career, politics, and his relations with the media.  The interview is alternated with file footage and commentary about Richard Nixon.  The documentary covers Nixon's rise as an elder statesman and the similarities between his term in office and President George Bush Sr.'s tenure.   Students can see great examples of Nixon's dry humor as well as gain insight into several political issues with an international focus.  A compelling point that Nixon makes towards the end of the video is that television and the media has trivialized politics, making the public and politicians too image conscious: "You should be more concerned about your makeup artist, than your researcher, the one that blows your hairdryer, than what's between your ears."  He adds that television is not about "serious discussion" but about what will fit in a 10-second space on the eveninng news.

Watergate Plus 30: Shadow of History.  PBS Production.

Several key players recall their roles in the Watergate scandal up till the resignation of President Nixon.  The episode describes Watergate as "one of history's great detective stories... a nearly unbelievable tale of ordinary men corrupted by power and the desire to retain it by any means."  An interesting documentary, particularly for students of history since we can hear from several of the men who were there, as well as significant footage of the trials.

* Richard M. Nixon: His Life and Times.  ABC News

The format of this compilation of clips is sometimes clunky, but even with the dated presentation it provides a unique compilation of news footage of the President Richard Nixon.  Several ABC News journalists including Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel, and Barbara Walters among others, present their different memories of the Nixon presidency.  The show also contains footage from personal interviews by Walters when she accompanied him on his historic trip to China in 1972.  Not particularly useful for the classroom but provides enough information for history buffs or students of Nixon's life.

See also:

* The Final Days (based on the Woodward/Bernstein book), teleplay by Hugh Whitemore, directed by Richard Pearce.

* The Halderman Diaries, Nightline, ABC News.

* 20th Century with Mike Wallace: Presidents in Crisis: Johnson Quits and Nixon Resigns.  A&E Productions, 50 minutes.

* Watergate, The Discovery Channel.

* Watergate.  (two-part symposium) The Discovery Channel.

* Watergate: The Secret Story.  Mike Wallace, CBS News.