Watergate 50th anniversary: 5 shows, films inspired by the scandal

A scene from the film "Frost/Nixon" is pictured in this undated publicity photo released to UPI. Friday is the 50th anniversary of the Watergate political scandal that ended Richard Nixon's presidency. Photo courtesy of Universal
1 of 5 | A scene from the film "Frost/Nixon" is pictured in this undated publicity photo released to UPI. Friday is the 50th anniversary of the Watergate political scandal that ended Richard Nixon's presidency. Photo courtesy of Universal | License Photo

June 17 (UPI) -- Friday marks the 50th anniversary of Watergate, and many cinema fans most likely will commemorate the political scandal that ended Republican Richard Nixon's presidency by watching the Oscar-winning 1976 film, All the President's Men, starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as iconic Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, respectively.

But Hollywood's fascination with the Nixon-sanctioned break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C., on June 17, 1972, didn't stop with All the President's Men.


Several other films and TV shows tell the sordid story from the perspectives of people directly involved or on the fringes of the case that led to Nixon's resignation. While most received praise for their performances and craftsmanship, they didn't necessarily capture the public's imagination the way the Redford-Hoffman picture did.


Here are five to watch after All the President's Men:

Nixon (1995) - Prime Video

Oscar-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone's biopic stars Anthony Hopkins as the titular commander-in-chief and Joan Allen as his wife, Pat. The story is told mainly through flashbacks, with some real archival footage blended in, and spans most of Nixon's political rise and fall. Other highlights include his relationships with his advisers, his time as vice president to Dwight D. Eisenhower and reactions to the Bay of Pigs Invasion and John F. Kennedy's assassination. Although the 3-hour,10-minute film was reviewed favorably by critics, the Nixon family denounced Stone's version of history as "reprehensible" surmount to "character assassination. Despite a star-studded cast that featured Annabeth Gish, Marley Shelton, Powers Boothe, James Woods, Paul Sorvino, Bob Hoskins, Larry Hagman, Ed Harris and David Hyde Pierce, it only earned about $13.7 million at the box office.

Dick (1999) - Prime Video

Writer-director Andrew Fleming pondered what might happen if two 15-year-old girls (Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams) stumbled into the Watergate robbery, and his 94-minute comedy, Dick, was the result. To keep the youngsters quiet about what they witnessed, Nixon (Dan Hedaya) hires them to be his official dog walkers. Their antics at the White House lead to them inadvertently influencing historical events. The fantasy also shows them becoming the notorious "Deep Throat" whistleblower whose leaked information to the media ultimately results in Nixon's resignation. Harry Shearer, Dave Foley, Will Ferrell and Teri Garr co-star in the critically acclaimed movie, which also earned about $6 million when it played in theaters.


Frost/Nixon (2008) - Prime Video

Ron Howard directed Peter Morgan's adaptation of his play, Frost/Nixon, for the screen. It is set in 1977 and follows British TV personality David Frost (Michael Sheen) as he prepares to interview Nixon (Frank Langella) about his years in office and the events that led to his premature exit. The final sit-down is riveting as Frost surprises Nixon with his well-thought-out questions and Nixon gives equally fascinating answers. The broadcast is widely seen as a trial of Nixon in the court of public opinion. While the film successfully reunited the two stars from the hit West End and Broadway productions of the play -- much to the joy of reviewers -- it only earned about $18.6 million at the box office.

Mark Felt (2017) - Netflix

Liam Neeson took a break from his action-hero career to play the real "Deep Throat" in the critically panned biopic, Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House. Peter Landesman wrote and helmed the film about how Felt, a career FBI agent, came to the difficult decision to anonymously pass on critical information about the Watergate break-in and Nixon's involvement in it to Woodward and Bernstein. Noah Wyle, Tony Goldwyn and Diane Lane co-star.


Gaslit (2022) - Starz

The Starz miniseries, Gaslit, is based on the Slow Burn podcast and focuses on Martha Mitchell (Julia Roberts), a gossipy socialite from Arkansas and wife of Nixon's attorney general and best friend, John Mitchell (Sean Penn). According to this telling of the tale, Mitchell is the first person to publicly call out the president for his involvement in Watergate. Over the course of eight episodes, her outspokenness forces John to choose between Martha and Nixon. The ensemble includes Betty Gilpin, Shea Whigham and Dan Stevens.

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