The theatrical version (German DVD by Hollywood Pictures) was compared to the Director's Cut (US DVD by Hollywood Pictures).
7 additional scenes in the DC = 20 minutes and 22 seconds.
3 additional scenes in the DC with alternative material = DC: 36.5 seconds / Theatrical: 6 seconds.
2 additional shots in the Theatrical = 3.5 seconds.
After director Oliver Stone achieved one of his greatest successes with JFK in 1991, it took only 4 years later until he was able to make another contribution about a former US president with Nixon. Richard Nixon was the 37th President of the United States from 1969 - 1974 and resigned from office due to the scandalous Watergate affair as the only president in US history, after pressure from all sides became too great and a threatened impeachment trial would have ended his presidency anyway.
The film tells a largely chronological account of Nixon's political career, beginning with his rising career as a Republican, Vice President to Dwight Eisenhower, losing the presidential election to JFK, later the successful presidential campaign and of course the Watergate affair, which ultimately ended his political career. Occasionally, there are also various leaps in time that show Nixon before he started politics, such as flashbacks from his childhood. As usual, Oliver Stone also focused on the cast of the movie, because with so many different characters, the viewer also gets a wide selection of well-known and talented actors.
First of all, there is Anthony Hopkins, who impersonates Nixon down to the smallest details in a brilliant performance. Other important supporting roles include Joan Allen as Nixon's wife, James Woods as White House chief of staff, or J.T. Walsh, who plays Nixon's chief advisor. Smaller roles are played by Powers Boothe, Ed Harris, Bob Hoskins and Larry Hagman, to name but a few actors from the entire cast. In short, Stone's film is an excellent portrait of a failed president whose political history has been captured on film in over 3 hours.
For the theatrical version, a few smaller and larger plot scenes were taken out of the film, which together make up 21 minutes of material. The Director's Cut was first released in the States in 2001 on VHS and DVD as part of an Oliver Stone boxset and was later released there separately on DVD and Blu-ray. It again contains the previously removed scenes. Much of the new material in the DC consists of a 12-minute scene showing a conversation between Nixon and Richard Helm, Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), and a several-minute dialogue scene between Nixon and FBI Chief J. Edgar Hoover.
Angry demonstrators have gathered in front of the White House to protest against the Vietnam War. One man comments offstage: "Enraged student groups across the country are calling for a general strike tomorrow to shut down the entire university system until the Vietnam War is ended.
" The mood of the demonstrators heats up even more as the limousine with the president in it passes by. Nixon says that this riot is nothing compared to Venezuela. When he was vice president and visited that country, there was much more unrest and destruction.
Nixon: "Oh, this is nothing compared to Venezuela. When I was vice president, Ike sent me down there like a blocking tackle. They threw rocks, broke out windows. Almost overturned the car. Read -Six Crises-, Bob."
Haldeman: "I did, Sir."
Nixon: "Pat was brave.... Jesus, they're serious. Why are we stopping? Come on, move it!"
A few of the demonstrators rush towards the presidential limousine and strike aggressively against the windows. They are then pulled away by security personnel. Nixon justifies the aggressive behavior of the demonstrators with the fact that it is their spoiled parents' fault and that they are poisoning the upper class. John replies that they should not forget, however, that the demonstrators are mostly still teenagers and fortunately they do not yet have the right to vote.
Nixon: "Jesus! Get that little punk. Tackle. Go on, get him. Yeah. Reminds me of my days at Whittier. These kids are useless."
Haldeman: "Probably flunking. Nothing to do except come here and chase girls."
Nixon: "There parents fault. They're poisoning the upper class, Bob. Too soft, too many cars, color TVs."
Haldeman: "Don't forget the South, the West. Good football colleges."
John: "More with than against you. Let's not forget they're just kids. They don't vote."
Haldeman: "This is the fall of the Roman Empire. Are you blind? We're putting the fig leaves on the statues."
Nixon and his guys meet Bob in the lobby. They greet each other, chat a little and then walk together to Richard Helm, who is already waiting for them in his office.
Bob: "Mr. President."
Bob: "I don't know what to say, sir. Soon as we learned from the Secret Service that you were en route, the director was notified. He should be here."
Nixon: "So where the hell is he?"
Bob: Rushing back from his tennis game."
Nixon: "So let's go."
Bob: "Told me to take you to his conference room."
Nixon: "No, his office. I want a private conversation with him. I don't wanna be bugged."
Bob: "Then his office will be fine."
Nixon: "Ok... How's the job going, Bob?"
Bob: "Frankly, it stinks, sir. I have no access. We'll see to that. He's nervous, sir. He's heard you're looking for a new director."
Nixon: "Certainly isn't acting like it."
Bob: "That's Helms. He's the epitome of sang- froid. A world-class poker player."
Nixon: "Yeah? Well, I own the fucking casino."
Nixon and the others have arrived at the office and are entering it. Richard meets them there.
Richard: "I'm honored, Dick, that you've come all the way out here to Virginia to visit us at last."
Nixon: "My friends call me Mr. President.
Richard: "Then so shall I. Arrange for some coffee will you. General Cushman?"
At Richard's request, Nixon asks his men to step outside, which they do. Then a conversation starts between Nixon and Richard.
Nixon: "Bob Cushman is a lieutenant general in the Marine Corps, deputy director of the CIA. This is what you use him for?"
Richard: "I didn't choose him as my deputy. You did."
Nixon: "You live pretty well out here. I understand why you keep your budgets classified."
Richard: "I suppose you're unhappy because I haven't implemented your domestic intelligence plan."
Nixon: "Yeah, you're correct. I'm concerned these students are being funded by foreign interests whether they know it or not. The FBI's useless in this area. I want your full attention on this matter."
Richard: "We've tried but so far we've come up with nothing."
Nixon: "Then find something. I want these leaks stopped. Jack Anderson, The New York Times, the State Department. I wanna know who's talking."
Richard: "I'm sure you realize Mr. President that this is a tricky area given our charter and the Congressional oversight committee."
Nixon: "Screw congressional oversight. I know damn well, going back to the 50s this agency reports what it wants and buries what it wants. Pay close attention to this."
Richard: "Is something else bothering you?"
Nixon: "Yes. It involves some old and forgotten papers things I signed as vice president. I want the original in my office and I don't want copies anywhere else."
Richard: "You're referring I believe to chairing the special operations group as vice president."
Richard: "As you know, that was unique. Not an operation so much as an organic phenomenon. It grew, it changed shape, it developed appetites. It's not unusual in such cases that things aren't committed to paper. That could be very embarrassing. I for one saw to it that my name was never connected with these operations. Diem. Trujilo, Lumumba, Guatemala. Iran. Cuba. It's a shamed you didn't take similar precautions, Dick."
Nixon: "I'm interested in those documents that put your people together with the gangster elements. All the documents."
Richard: "President Kennedy threatened to smash the CIA into 1000 pieces. You could do the same."
Nixon: "I'm not Jack Kennedy. Your agency is secure."
Richard: "Not if I give you all the cards."
Nixon: "I Promised the American people peace with honor in Southeast Asia. That may take time. Two, maybe three years. But in the meantime your agency will continue at current levels of funding."
Richard: "Current levels may not be sufficient."
Nixon: "Well, the president will support a reasonable request for an increase."
Richard: "And me?"
Nixon: "Of course, you will continue as DCI, Dick. You're doing a magnificent job."
Richard: "Of course, I accept. I'm flattered. And I want you to know that I serve only one president at a time."
Nixon: "Yes. And you'll give General Cushman full access."
Richard: "It could take a little time. But I'll order a search for your papers.
Richard: "It does raise a troubling issue."
Richard: "We have recent intelligence that a Soviet nuclear submarine has docked at Cienfuegos.
Nixon: "We'll launch a formal protest."
Richard: "I don't think we can threat this as a formality. Mr. Kennedy gave the Russians a verbal promise that he would not invade Cuba. But you authorized Dr. Kissinger to put this in writing?"
Nixon: "Are you tapping Kissinger?"
Richard: "My job, unpleasant at times is to know what others don't want me to know.
Nixon: "Not if you have spies in the White House."
Richard: "It is not my practice to spy on the president. Dr. Kissinger manages to convey his innermist secrets to the world without my help."
Nixon: "Dick... We've lived with communism in Cuba for ten years."
Richard: "But it's never been the policy of this government to accept that. And it's certainly not CIA policy."
Nixon: "CIA policy? The CIA has no policy except what I dictate you."
Nixon: "I tried to adjust to the world as it is today, not as you or I wanted it to be ten years ago."
12 Min 5 Sec
Richard: "Is that why you and Kissinger are negotiating with the Chinese? This is a very dangerous direction, Mr. President. Terrible consequences can result from such enormous errors of judgement."
Nixon: "If we were able to separate China from Russia once and for all, we can, we could create a balance of power that would secure peace into the next century."
Richard: "And offer Cuba to the Russians as a consolation prize?"
Nixon: "Cuba would be a small price to pay."
Richard: "So President Kennedy thought."
Nixon: "I never thought Kennedy was ready for the presidency. Well, now... I would never consider. His death was awful. It was an awful thing for this country."
Nixon: "Do you ever thing of death, Dick?"
Richard: "Flowers are continual reminder of our mortality. Do you appreciate flowers?"
Nixon: "No, they make me sick and they smell like death. I had two brothers die young. Let me tell you, there are worse things than death."
Nixon: "There's such a thing as evil."
Richard: "You must be familiar with my favorite poem by Yeats, The Second Coming. Black Irish, very moving. Turning and turning in the widening gyre. The falcon cannot hear the falconer. Things fall apart. The center cannot hold. Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. And everywhere, the ceremony of innocence is lost. The best lack all conviction. And the worst are full of passionate intensity. But it ends so beautifully eminous. What rough beast its hour come round at last. Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born? Yes. This country stands at such a juncture."
Nixon talks to J. Edgar Hoover about security problems in his own government, including the stolen and published documents by Ellsberg, or Nixon's conversations that Kissinger tapped and recorded on tape.
Nixon: "There must be a quarter million out there. They've been at it for a whole year. Young kids just like Tricia. You think they got a point, Edgar? This whole damn system of government."
Edgar: "Remember what Lenin said in 1917. The power was lying in the street. Just waiting for someone to pick it up. Communists have never been closer than now. Now is the time to get back to the old themes. The ones that made you president. Let the communists know you're on to them."
Nixon: "Little bastards think they can ruin Tricia's wedding by dancing naked in the reflection pool."
Edgar: "Don't listen to'em. And don't quit. Remember, Kennedy and King were against the war. Where are they now? Hot the hell -The Times- got a hold of this Ellsberg stuff is a disgrace."
Nixon: "Yeah. We can't keep a damn secret in this government. They're stealing papers right out of this office."
Edgar: "Johnson had the same damn problem, until he bugged his own office."
Nixon: "We took that system out. That was a mistake. The White House was full of Kennedy people then."
Edgar: "It still is."
Nixon: "Who's behind this."
Edgar: "Well, you have CIA people all over this place. Helms has seen to that. Then there's Kissinger's staff. Kissinger himself. I believe, may be the leaker."
Edgar: "Yeah. He's obsessed with his own image. He wants his Nobel Peace Prize a little too much. And as the late Dr. King proved, even an ape can win a prize with good press."
Nixon: "Jesus, I'd like to book him into a psychiatrist's office. He comes in here ranting and raving, dumping his crap all over the place. Could you prove it, Edgar?"
3 Min 14 Sec
Edgar: "Mr. President, I always get my man."
Nixon: "Yeah, you do. This damn tie. Could you help me?"
Nixon: "See, I'd be bugging myself."
Nixon: "Who'd get the tapes?
Edgar: "No one. Your property. And it would prove your case. Why do you think Kissinger is taping all your calls? For history. His word against yours. And right now, he's got the records."
Nixon: "I'll get Manolo to do this. Thanks. You know, Churchill once said to me: If you want your own history written properly, you better write it yourself... The only thing is, Edgar, I don't want this to come back and haunt me."
Edgar: "It won't as long as I'm here."
Nixon gathers around the table with his people and tells them that Ellsberg and other people have become a massive threat to him and his government, and that they must take tough action against them.
Nixon: "Gentlemen, this is our last damn leak. It's no way to run a goddamn government. We're gonna prosecute Ellsberg and anyone else who wants to leak and that means anyone here who crosses the line, I'm going after, Ok? The permissiveness of this year is over. The belts are coming off and people are gonna go to the woodshed. Cause the government cannot survive with a counter-government inside it. I know how traitors operate. I've dealt with them all my life. I've worked with these cases. It's never little people. The little people do not leak. It's always some smooth son of a bitch like Ellsberg. The Harvard Hebrew boys who leak. I hear people say: -But Ellsberg did it for the good of the country. People's right to know-. Well, that's in every case. Alger Hiss said the same thing. So did the Rosenbergs. Look what happened to them. Old Sparky got'em. They always underestimated old Nixon, see. We're gonna fight just as dirty. This is sudden death, gentlemen. We're gonna get'em on the ground, stick in our spikes and twist and show them no mercy. So, starting today, no one in this room talks to the press without checking with Mr. Haldeman here. That means we're on complete freeze on The New York Times, CBS, PBS, Jack Anderson and The Washington Post. Mr. Haldeman is the chief high executioner from now on. Don't come whining to me when he tells you to do something. That's me talking. If you do come to me, I'm tougher than he is. Anyone who screws with us, his fucking head comes off. You got that? Well, thank you very much, gentlemen. Good day to you."
Nixon stands up from his chair and leaves the room.
2 Min 28 Sec