In the summer of 1968, television news changed forever. That year, gunmen assassinated both Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. The Democratic convention in Chicago flared up with protests and violence. Overseas, the Vietnam War raged on, and the streets at home roiled with race riots. With this tense political climate as a backdrop, Best of Enemies captures the legendary televised debates between ideological opposites Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley, Jr. MORE
Dead last in the ratings, ABC hired Vidal and Buckley to debate each other during the Democratic and Republican national conventions. Buckley, who founded National Review magazine in 1955, was a leading light of the new conservative movement. Gore Vidal, lifelong Democrat and cousin to Jackie Onassis, was a leftist, taboo-smashing novelist and polemicist. Both believed each other’s political ideologies were dangerous for America. Like rounds in a heavyweight boxing bout, they pummeled each other with exchanges that devolved into personal attacks. These live and unscripted quarrels riveted viewers, and the television industry took notice.
Best of Enemies reveals the moment TV’s political ambition shifted from narrative to spectacle, forever altering the way the media — and Americans — talked about politics.
Morgan Neville is a documentary filmmaker whose films focus on culture. His acclaimed 20 Feet from Stardom won the 2014 Academy Award for Best Documentary as well as a Grammy Award for Best Music Film in 2015. Best of Enemies was shortlisted for the 2016 Academy Award. Neville has been nominated for three additional Grammys for his films Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story, Muddy Waters Can’t Be Satisfied, and Johnny Cash’s America, and won an Emmy Award for his film Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Blues. Neville’s non-music films include The Cool School and Beauty Is Embarrassing (producer). Recent projects include Chelsea Does, a four-part documentary series, and Keith Richards: Under the Influence — both for Netflix. His film The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble was released by The Orchard and HBO in June 2016, becoming one of the highest-grossing documentaries of the year.
Robert Gordon is a Grammy Award-winning writer and filmmaker. His work has focused on the American South – its music, art, and politics. His films include William Eggleston’s Stranded in Canton, Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story, and the verité shocker, Very Extremely Dangerous. His work has been broadcast on PBS, A&E, and numerous international networks, and has been exhibited at the Whitney, LACMA, Haus Der Kunst (Munich), and many other museums the world round. He's written the books It Came From Memphis and Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion. LESS