See the real Frost/Nixon before you see the movie

Frost/Nixon opens next week, but you can prep for it by watching the infamous real-life interview that inspired the play that Ron Howard’s film is based on.

Forty-five million Americans tuned in to the original 1977 broadcast of the interview between British talk-show host David Frost and disgraced former president Richard Nixon. Contrary to American journalistic practices, Frost paid $600,000 of his own money for access. But the interview itself cut surprisingly close to the bone, and the justifiably famous Watergate segment is the only time that Nixon himself spoke more or less candidly about his wrongdoing. (The DVD that comes out next Tuesday contains an equally frank interview with the since-knighted Frost.) Howard’s film concerns two smart and wily men who circle around and try to outwit each other — it’s one of his best. But in this case, at least, nothing Hollywood could have come up with compares with the real thing.

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See the real Frost/Nixon before you see the movie