When I first started as a hematologist I had so little to do that I used to got to the movies in the afternoon. Business soon built up and for most of my career I have too much work. Now in semi-retirement I occasionally have time to put on a video in the afternoon, so while my wife was watching a wartime drama by Noel Coward starring John Mills, I sneaked off into teh other room to watch Oliver Stone's Nixon.
I can understand why Anthony Hopkins was nominated for an Oscar for this performance. He is seldom of the screen, and gives a tremendous exhibition of acting. This is not mimickry; he does not look at all like Nixon, but he captures the man behind the face. To do the part justice demands an actor reared on the Shakespearean stage. He makes Nixon into a figure not too distant from Macbeth. I would have thought it were impossible to make Nixon at all sympathetic, but Hopkins turns him into a figure of tragedy by revealing the greatness in the man that was hidden by compromises with integrity that he made while climbing the greasy pole. History will judge hime more kindly than his contempories, says one character. It depends on who writes the history, quips back Nixon.
The movie, alas was not as good as the performance. It needed a better writer.