The year is 1968 and there are but three television networks: CBS, NBC, and ABC. With the latter struggling to meet a decent viewership, network executives knew they had to step up their game by offering something different from their competitors, and so ABC proposed the first ever point-counterpoint type of approach for news coverage.
Starring the fast-talking right winged William F. Buckley and the eloquent liberal Gore Vidal, the weekly series of live debate was riveting, unapologetic, and a true game changer for television as we now know it. And Best of Enemies, the recently released documentary, directed by Norman Neville and Robert Gordon made to celebrate their legacy, does a truly magnificent job of educating, informing and entertaining the audience. Especially if, like me, you are a 20something without a clue as to who, or what, any of this is about.
This film is simply a must see for any American on the precipice of adulthood, struggling still to grasp the rich history of political opposition or understand the influence pop-culture has on politics and political opinions. I left feeling informed, inspired, and incredibly thankful toward the art of documentary and its ability to captivate an otherwise politically indifferent girl and have her start to examine some of her own beliefs and morals.
This film will do that for you, and then some.
I really don’t want to say to much else on the topic, or give away much more on the film. My incredible experience comes mostly at the heels of walking into the screening room blind to the subject at hand, something few of us ever have the luck to enjoy as it is we live in a world of previews and mass entertainment campaigns.
See the film, learn something you never knew you never knew and get to know two of the most well-spoken men from our country’s modern history pages. You’ll be very glad you did.
But for the record, I’d like to take a moment to thank Buckley and Vidal for turning the world on its head, unabashedly being lightyears ahead of their time, and proving that words of strength have more plausibility to change the future of thought in the world than weapons or violence ever could.