Best of Enemies

Nationally televised debates in 1968 between two intellectuals defined the moment TV’s political ambition shifted from narrative to spectacle.

Best of enemies 01
Series
Independent Lens
Premiere Date
October 3, 2016
Length
90 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call
  • Nominated laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2015 Academy Awards-Best Documentary Feature Shortlist
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    2016 News and Documentary Emmy Awards-Best Historical Documentary
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    2015 Cinema Eye Honors-Audience Choice
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    2015 Cinema Eye Honors-Outstanding Achievement in Editing
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    2016 Independent Spirit Awards-Best Documentary
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    2015 International Documentary Association (IDA)-Best Music
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    2015 International Documentary Association (IDA)-ABC News VideoSource Award
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    2016 FOCAL International Awards-Best Use of Footage in Factual Production
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    2016 FOCAL International Awards-Best Use of Footage in an Entertainment Production
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    2016 The Grierson Trust-Best Cinema Documentary
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    2015 National Board of Review-Top 5 Best Documentaries
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    2015 Camden International Film Festival-Audience Award
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    2015 Hamptons International Film Festival-SummerDocs Audience Award
  • Neville morgan filmmaker bio
    Co-Director/Co-Producer

    Morgan Neville

    Morgan Neville is an award-winning filmmaker who has spent twenty years working as a cultural documentarian. Neville has been nominated for three Grammys for his music films: Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story, Muddy Waters Can't Be Satisfied, and Johnny Cash’s America. His other films include Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Blues The Cool School and Troubadours Show more (Sundance ’11). Through his company, Tremolo Productions, Neville has also produced films such as The Rolling Stones’ Crossfire Hurricane, Pearl Jam Twenty, The Night James Brown Saved Boston and Beauty is Embarrassing (Independent Lens, 2013). His film 20 Feet From Stardom, which premiered opening night of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and went on to become the top-grossing documentary of the year, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Show less

    Gordon robert filmmaker bio
    Co-Director/Co-Producer

    Robert Gordon

    Grammy Award-winning writer and filmmaker Robert Gordon has focused on the American south — its music, art, and politics — to create an insider’s portrait of his home that is both nuanced and ribald. His first book, It Came From Memphis, careens through the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, riding shotgun with the weirdoes, winos, and midget wrestlers. In 2003, he Show more wrote the definitive biography of blues great Muddy Waters, the award-winning Can’t Be Satisfied, and his Respect Yourself, about Stax Records, also received accolades. Gordon’s documentaries include Stranded in Canton, made with photographer William Eggleston, and the harrowing Very Extremely Dangerous about Jerry McGill, recording artist and outlaw. His first film, All Day & All Night, showed at MOMA’s New Directors/New Films in 1990. He was writer and a producer on the Memphis episode of Martin Scorsese’s The Blues. As a team, Gordon and Morgan Neville have made four previous films together: Muddy Waters Can’t Satisfied, Shakespeare Was a Big George Jones Fan, Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story, and Johnny Cash’s America. Show less

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    The Film

    Best of Enemies captures the legendary 1968 debates between two famed intellectuals and ideological opposites: leftist Gore Vidal and neoconservative William F. Buckley. 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. Their televised sparring shaped a new era of public discourse in the media, marking the moment TV’s political ambition shifted from narrative to spectacle.

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