Gore Vidal vs Bill Buckley in 'Best of Enemies' Documentary Trailer

June 9, 2015
Source: YouTube

Best of Enemies

2 Men. 10 Debates. Television would never be the same. Magnolia Pictures has debuted an excellent trailer for Best of Enemies, a fascinating documentary about two enemies for life - Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr. Back in the late 60s, these two were recruited to debate each other on television during the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, and it changed television forever. I saw this at Sundance and it was one of my favorite documentaries from the fest. "This thoroughly entertaining and effortlessly fascinating doc examines their relationship on and off the screen, similar to the love-hate battle between Ebert and Siskel shown in the doc Life Itself." It's so good, full of so much fun footage of these two fighting.

Here's the trailer for Robert Gordon & Morgan Neville's Best of Enemies, direct from Magnolia:

Best of Enemies Poster

In the summer of 1968 television news changed forever. 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. Like rounds in a heavyweight battle, they pummeled out policy and personal insult—their explosive exchanges devolving into vitriolic name-calling. Live and unscripted, they kept viewers riveted. Ratings skyrocketed.

Best of Enemies is co-directed by Robert Gordon & Morgan Neville. The documentary first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Magnolia will be releasing Best of Enemies in theaters starting July 10th this year.

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  • Bo
    Yea, thanks for the heads up Alex. This brings back memories big time for me. Late 1968 I was just getting out of the Army after being drafted for 2 yrs. They made me a Drill Sgt. What I saw, heard, and realized from my time in the Army during the Viet Nam horrors totally radicalized me. Curiously, I liked both Buckley and Vidal, but without a doubt held the same political and world view as Vidal. Both these guys came from the ruling class of America and were educated in the finest institutions this country offers. What I respected most about Vidal was his ability to over-come his programming, if you will, and see the ruling class and their power in America for what it was rather than remain a member in fine standing of that ruling class. Even though Buckley was a very intelligent guy, in my opinion, of course, he was bat-shit crazy in his political views and opinions. I enjoyed watching Vidal all these years since those times and it will be interesting to see these debated now and see how my opinions compare to those I held back then....way back
    • dan
      man, you have a right to your views, but I disagree with your admiration for vidal completely. vidal had a quick wit but didn't make much sense at all.
      • Bo
        Well, Dan...he sure made sense to fact, a lot of sense. Too bad, for you, that he didn't. I mean that in all sincerity. And yes, you too have the right to your views.
      • Charles Knowlton
        Vidal didn't make much sense? No, Nixon didn't make much sense and he clearly pointed it out. History has proved Vidal right time and time again.
        • dan
          hey, I never said Nixon made any sense - did I? and don't try to turn this into another conversation or make it out to be some ridiculous republican vs. democrat thing. I don't think it took gore vidal to open peoples eyes to Nixon - the village idiot could have seen what was going on. this is the thing with him (vidal) - when he IS right, it's something anyone could figure out. like, when he said anyone with enough money to be president would never be a good president for the general public - OF COURSE THIS IS TRUE!!! we didn't need gore vidals help to see this.....but thanks to gore for stating the obvious. while there are quite a few "vidal thoughts" that I find absolutely ridiculous, the one that infuriates me the most is his assertion that liberals are people who want, and I quote, "reform and change", that is completely loony-tunes, bat-sh!t crazy wrong. vidal is nothing more than a writer with a "Dorothy parker-like" wit. and you can thank me for not bringing up his decadent lifestyle or his alledged encounters with underage boys.....encounters that even his relatives believe did happen. encounters that vidal, himself, covered up by filing a lawsuit against buckley to keep this activity from becoming public. geez, your eyes.
          • Charles Knowlton
            Yowza, did I touch a nerve or what?? Harboring some deep seated post-traumatic aggression towards the "decadent" man? He's dead by the way. He's no threat to you anymore, so calm down and relax.
    This looks great. I'll have to watch it with my parents to get their reactions. Gore Vidal was a fascinating man.
  • Cage match. Now. Go!
  • George Kafantaris
    "We see Vidal, a very-leftist novelist, polemicist and cousin to Jackie Onassis, go head-to-head with Buckley and his right-wing ideologies. Plenty of name-calling, vitriol-spewing and policy and personal insults spark in this examination of America at a crossroads." -- Ryan Lattanzio Since America is at a crossroads again but on totally new issues, "Best of Enemies" promises to be a timely and refreshing documentary.
    • Maenad
      Listen to Gore carefully and you will hear today's problems defined and hear his warnings. These are not at all "totally new" Issues. War, American imperialism, inept and incompetent politicians, inequity, injustice, crushing of the arts, narrow-minded bigotry, and so on.




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