Director: Ron Howard

A championship bout between anxious egotists, a journalist and a politician who seek to buff their images as much as to make history.

There’s a third antagonist in the picture, symbolic yet no less real. It’s television, which, through its seduction of the masses, created indelible images of British interviewer David Frost as a showbiz dandy and disgraced former U.S. president Richard Nixon as a sweating fugitive.

The TV-induced insecurities of the two men are tipped early in Ron Howard’s persuasive film about their totemic 1977 encounters, as both Frost and Nixon (with Michael Sheen and Frank Langella faithfully reprising their original stage roles) grapple with broadcast misconceptions.

The extras are generous. They include a commentary track by Howard, deleted scenes, and several featurettes. The latter includes something of genuine historical value: “The Real Interview” offers a seven-minute glimpse of how the real Frost and Nixon looked on TV. Sheen and Langella compare well.

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