30 Oct Best of Enemies Review


Buckley vs. Vidal

In the summer of 1968 television news changed forever. While CBS and NBC fought for first place in ratings, ABC news was ranked last and in third place. As the political-convention season came closer, ABC knew they needed a gimmick to increase popularity for their network. The leading light of the new conservative movement, William F. Buckley Jr., and leftist novelist, Gore Vidal, were hired to conduct a series of debates during a pivotal time in history. Best of Enemies presents these live and unscripted debates in great detail offering interviews from those most familiar with the political men, as well as the ABC news network. Often compared to watching a heavyweight-boxing match, the debates were filled with relevant points and both men’s political ideologies. There was intensity, excitement, and a shock-level that viewers hadn’t seen before. ABC ‘s ratings skyrocketed and people were finally paying attention to the once dull news network.

When creating a political documentary, often one person is given more attention or approval. Shockingly, Best of Enemies avoids that dilemma and portrays both, Buckley and Vidal, in an adequate light. Buckley was described as the “best debater of his generation”, whereas Vidal was known as the “greatest talker” making them the perfect opponents. People listened to what the two had to say because they were highly respected cultural figures, which directors Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon make very apparent throughout. Like viewers in 1968, this film will capture your attention and give you a further look at the influence these political intellects have on today’s television news.


Watch Best of Enemies on FlixFling.

This guest blog was written by Breelyn Starrett.