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.

Find more posts: Documentaries, To Watch, Trailer



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.

dan on Jun 9, 2015


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.

Charles Knowlton on Jun 10, 2015


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.

dan on Jun 10, 2015


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.

Charles Knowlton on Jun 12, 2015


So a person who makes a brilliant case for truth is Captain Obvious? He was promoting that America actually act on that truth, and despaired that this country ever would. Vidal was talking over the ridiculous posturing of politicians of both stripes, and this isn't about red/blue or labels such as "liberal." He was about humanity, and Buckley represented the elite. Buckley was insulting to the poor, blacks, called Gore a 'fag,' and was utterly inhumane. 'Decadent' is I suppose your prudish code word for gay. Gore was surrounded by the best and most creative minds of the century celebrating the end of the repressive black and white 50's. Grow up.

Maenad on Jun 14, 2015


This looks great. I'll have to watch it with my parents to get their reactions. Gore Vidal was a fascinating man.

DAVIDPD on Jun 9, 2015


Cage match. Now. Go!

Quanah on Jun 9, 2015


"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.

George Kafantaris on Jun 11, 2015


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.

Maenad on Jun 14, 2015

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