Secret Honor

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"Anyone can be the president."
  • NR
  • 1984
  • 1 hr 30 min
  • 7.2  (3,291)

Secret Honor from 1984 is a psychological drama movie directed by Robert Altman, starring Philip Baker Hall as Richard Nixon. The film is based on the one-man play written by Donald Freed and Arnold M. Stone, set in a solitary location that consists of Nixon's private office in San Clemente, California, after his presidency ended in scandalous circumstances.

The movie opens with Nixon, alone and lighting a cigar, preparing to give a monologue that will expose his innermost feelings, revealing political secrets, and his personal demons, in a soul-searching journey. The plot of the film is an imaginary account of Nixon's last hours in the Oval Office, following his resignation and exile from Washington.

The story follows Nixon's deteriorating state of mind as he drinks scotch, rambles, and speaks aloud to his dead mother, father, and former President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Though Nixon feels betrayed and is drowning in anger, he still sees himself as a victim of the system, which failed him despite his sacrifices.

Throughout the movie, Nixon reminisces about his life, his difficult childhood, his rise to power, and abuse of that power. He reminisces with regret about Watergate's scandal, his downfall, and the impeachment proceedings that led to his resignation from the presidency.

The film puts a strong emphasis on Nixon's psychological state and how it deteriorates as he realizes the extent of the damage he has done and the consequences of his actions. The monologues are delivered with great intensity, often filled with angry outbursts and a strong sense of self-pity.

As Nixon rants and raves about the circumstances that led him to resign, he speaks of conspiracies, enemies at home and abroad, and his deep betrayal by those closest to him. At times, the viewer can't help but sympathize with him and find a deeper understanding of his personality and his motives.

Secret Honor is an excellent character study, as it provides an interesting insight into the psyche of a troubled historical figure. It humanizes Nixon and explains many of his actions, but also shows the darker side of his character, showcasing his paranoia and self-destructive tendencies.

This movie's single-location setting and intense delivery by Philip Baker Hall add to the film's tension and emotional depth, making it a thrilling and thought-provoking experience for any viewer. The nuanced and sophisticated script provides considerable insight into the psychology of one of the most controversial presidents in US history.

Overall, Secret Honor is an artistic, psychologically charged, and powerful piece of filmmaking, providing an imaginary insight into the troubled mind of Mr. Nixon, a unique and controversial American political figure. It is a must-watch for any audience interested in American politics, history and drama, and a great testimony of Philip Baker Hall's exceptional acting abilities.

Secret Honor is a 1984 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 30 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.2.

Secret Honor
Where to Watch Secret Honor
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 30 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.2  (3,291)