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  • While the drama of this movie was entertaining, the reality was that the only people who got their knickers in a twist about this at the time were the media. In fact, it was only later that the anti-nuclear crowd, the bow-tied Harvard elite used this as a political opportunity to question whose finger was really on the trigger, and was the constitution was being ignored!

    For those that look at movies to perform some sort of academic gratification or for those who live for governmental conspiracy theories and anti nuclear messages then this is the stuff for you. While 12 DAYS IN MAY was fiction and JFK stuffed with so many wild theories and ludicrous speculation THE DAY REAGAN WAS SHOT was a factual event that Hollywood has distorted to suggest we were near a nuclear war or a constitutional meltdown. Non of this was true, sure international politics at the time were tense, but the fact of the matter was that as soon as the president is incapacitated the constitutional procedure follows that the vice president takes charge. Al Hague said that he was in charge of the White House that is irrelevant if he has not got access to the nuclear codes that the President and Vice president has.

    Interestingly was has been overlooked was that between 1981-1984 the USSR had to replace it's doddering and bedridden premiers three times until they put in Mikhail Gorbachov. Nobody in Hollywood seemed too be worried whose fingers were on the Soviets trigger for all that time bearing in mind some of them were never seen in public for months and were in a comatose state for weeks!!
  • I saw this film on the History Channel today (in 2006). First of all, I realize that this is not a documentary -- that it is a drama. But, one might hope that at least the critical "facts" that the story turns on might be based on actual events. Reagan was shot and the other characters were real people. The movie got that right. From there on, reliance on facts rapidly decays. I had never heard of this movie before seeing it. Having been a TV reporter at the time of these events, I was stunned that I had never heard anything about the bizarre behavior of Secretary Haig as portrayed by Richard Dreyfuss. The whole nation had heard the "I am in control...", etc., but Dreufuss' Haig is bullying a cowered cabinet and totally out of control personally. Having watched the film, I began researching the subject on the Internet and quickly found actual audio tapes and transcripts of most of the Situation Room conversations that this film pretends to reenact. Incredibly, many the the principal "facts" of the film meant to show a White House, Secret Service etc. in total chaos -- and the nation's leadership behaving irrationally and driving the world near the brink of nuclear war -- are demonstrably incorrect. They didn't happen! There is internal conflict, to be sure. Haig makes missteps, his press room performance is historically regrettable and he is "difficult". But there is nothing approaching the scenes depicted in the film. There are too many gross errors to list, but any fair comparison of the recorded and written record and the fantasy of this film begs the question as to what the producers were really trying to accomplish. Enlighten? Inform? Entertain? I believe they failed on all three fronts. It is difficult to ascribe motives to others, but one must seriously question what was behind such shameless invention. And, as for my beloved History Channel's "Reel to Real" follow-on documentary, there was almost no mention of the issues that were the central focus of the film -- namely the events within the Administration on the day of the shooting. So, the viewer was left to research those without much -- if any -- help from the network.
  • ReelCheese12 November 2006
    This semi-docudrama is really two films in one. The first concerns the infamous 1981 shooting of President Ronald Reagan and the valiant efforts to save his life. The second relays the power struggle among White House staff while the most powerful man in the world lay under anesthesia.

    Despite the fascinating subject matter, THE DAY REAGAN WAS SHOT often falls flat, playing like a cobbled together movie of the week. Writer-director Cyrus Nowrasteh spends far too much time on the ego trips of Secretary of State Alexander Haig (a semi-annoying Richard Dreyfuss), failing to fully explore the more human angles as a nation sat with bated breath. What should have been a subplot with Haig dominates the movie. It would have been nice to see more of the doctors handed this enormous task; more of Nancy Reagan, the beloved First Lady; and more of the behind-the-scenes details, such as the ailing president signing a dairy bill to prove he was still in charge. The dialog is unimaginative and some of the performances resemble those of actors fresh from acting school.

    There is a great movie to be made about the chaos within government when its leader is sidelined. But with its dual personality, THE DAY REAGAN WAS SHOT isn't it.
  • Cinemagraphically, this movie is absolutely dreadful. I've seen better sets and make-up in junior high productions. Particularly laughable is the national TV news anchor who appears to be reporting from a secretary's desk in the basement of the CBS building. The acting is marginal at best, with some good performances in places but overall simply average, and marred further by the fact that almost none of the actors bear any physical resemblance to the people they are playing.

    Despite the fact that he lent his name to this (as "Executive Producer"), the film bears no Oliver Stone trademarks. Say what you will about Stone's political / social agenda, he knows how to make movies. I'm surprised he would allow himself to be associated with such an amateurish TV movie that bears none of his imprint (slick editing; flashbacks; tight plot).

    Apart from accuracy (which I'll get to in a minute), the film is also marred by pointless dialogue and scenes. No self-respecting doctor would beg off emergency surgery simply because of political differences; anyone who even entertained that thought should lose his license. Likewise, there's no way they would have allowed such blatant contamination in the operating room (the secret service agent with the *machine gun* in the OR had me in stitches -- what's he going to DO with the gun, anyway? -- never mind the constant traffic in and out by government agents and officials).

    I was 11 when Reagan was shot and I remember it vividly. I even have the TIME magazine from that week, not to mention a number of books on Reagan. So I'm fairly well qualified to speak to the film's accuracy. Funnily enough, allowing for some dramatic license, it's actually not that far-fetched. We don't know what went on behind the scenes at the White House or at the Hospital. It's doubtful that Haig was as aggressive as depicted, and the missile attack is entirely overwrought. The press was not as belligerent as depicted, and nobody insisted on taking a minicam up to the recovery room to verify that the president was still alive; nor did Nancy force him to sign anything or Deaver insist on taking pictures. What we do know is this:

    • There was a great deal of chaos and confusion within the government, including retrieving the VP from his trip in Texas.

    • Haig did appear on national TV and try to convince the world (not all that successfully) that he was "in control" at the White House pending the VP's return.

    • There was confusing information coming out of the Hospital, including Brady's reported death and other items not even mentioned in the movie (Lyn Nofziger reported that Reagan was having "open-heart surgery" as opposed to "open-chest surgery" -- a big difference!)

    • Jack Paar (the secret service chief who pushed Reagan into the car) did, in fact, save Reagan's life by taking him to the Hospital; and Reagan was a lot closer to death than people (outside the Hospital) realized at the time, due to many of the factors mentioned in the movie.

    • The opening scenes that depict Reagan meeting with his staff are also fairly accurate (although the cartoonish depiction of William Casey is rather offensive; his debilitating strokes did not occur until later in the administration). Reagan, as he (Crenna) says, was not interested in the details. This is, IMHO, to his credit as a leader and as a president, although others would differ. It was, if nothing else, a sharp contrast to the Carter years, a reference Reagan makes in the movie.

    To my knowledge, there's never been any assertion of "conspiracy" in the Reagan shooting as there is with JFK. It's pretty obvious what happened, and that Hinckley acted alone. Lacking such a premise, the filmakers can only compensate by ratcheting up the drama, in which they stretch the truth, but not to the breaking point. Thus, it's an interesting movie to watch if you accept all this, but hardly something for the historical record.

    Finally, I wonder if Ronald Reagan and Richard Crenna knew each other when they were together in Hollywood in the 1960's. I'd be interested to know the answer to this. Sadly, I can't ask either of them, but maybe Nancy knows...
  • After having seen this film on Showtime the other day, I was interested in seeing what the other Users of had to say about it. And I have to admit, after reading all of the reviews here-in, I still don't know what they thought about the film. I know what they think of Reagan, Haige, Bush Sr, the "Hollywood Left", The "Hawkish Right", Oliver Stone, even Bill Clinton. But I don't really know anything about what people thought of the movie. This is because NOBODY FREEKIN' REVIEWED THE MOVIE! Everyone seems so intent on protecting and/or attacking one political view or another that everyone seems to have forgotten that this is a FREEKING MOVIE, People, not REAL LIFE. The events portrayed in the film are based on actual events, which means that this is NOT a documentary. If you don't like the way this film portrayed Reagan or Nancy or Haige or Cap or Bush, then here is the solution you are looking for; don't watch it. Simple, right? Likewise if you think this is a factual indictment of the Reagan Administration and/or the Republican Party, then I beg you to stop getting your news from Jon Stewart. Don't like Clinton? Then don't vote for him. Don't like the Republicans? Then don't vote for them. Frankly, I don't care. If I wanted to hear a political discussion, I would engage in one on one of the millions of political websites on the web. I am a very political person, but I can also understand the difference between a movie and real life. If you can not, then perhaps you should not be posting film reviews.

    And for the record, some technical errors/goofs aside, I thought that this was a taunt, well acted, enjoyable DRAMA about a day that almost changed the course of American History. It is DEFINITELY better than the 4-plus stars that have been afforded it. Check it out; just remember that is a movie, not a historical documentary. We CAN remember that, can't we?
  • To history buffs, no matter what they say, Oliver Stone movies are a guilty pleasure. It's got to be fun knowing real history, and I mean the arcane stuff, then watch someone take it, distort certain aspects out of it, and package it up into pop culture. The Oliver Stone product is essentially the best allohistory out there. (Ok, Ian McKellan in "Richard III" (1995), placing the Shakespeare story in an fascist pre-war England is still the best, but there has to be something said for quantity. JFK (1991), Nixon (1995), Path To War (aka LBJ) (2002), and this gem add up to a lot of entertainment.)

    Stone is only somewhat limited by the endpoint constraints of actual history (i.e., on the morning of March 30, 1981, Regan is shot, and by the evening, Vice President George H.W. Bush is back in Washington). But other than that, it's open season for counterfactuals. Yes, Haig was famous for his "Haig-isms", and was prone to make statements like the famous "I'm in charge here" gaff. He actually did take the lead in the control room. But I only wish he acted like the Dryefuss portrayal, which makes the attempted coup in the classic "Seven Days in May" (1964) look like an episode of "The West Wing". From the start, Dryefuss' Haig is clearly the villain, much more so than Hinkley, who appears relatively level-headed. Hinkley just wants to impress Jodie Foster. Haig wants to press the button.

    Dryefuss barely uses any restraint in the character, and at times reminded me of his comic performance as Jay Trotter in "Let It Ride". Anyway, he goes screaming for the nuclear football, tries to invoke the 25th Amendment, in-fights with Cap Weinberger, negotiates with the Soviets over the hotline about an ICBM launch, while holding NORAD on the line. Meanwhile, I thought Richard Crenna did a great job of looking kind of like Reagan. (Actually, Dryefuss looks a lot like Haig himself.) And I thought Michael Murphy as Michael Deaver was brilliant casting. Also, I have no problem with their unflattering portrayal of Nancy Reagan. But, they went a little too far in the scene where they try to prop up Reagan in the hospital bed for a picture (note the blurred camera POV, and the where-am-I smile on Regan). That was comedy straight out of Woody Allen's Sleeper (1973) where Allen is just unfrozen after 200 years and they're trying to get him past the security agents.

    It would have all been good fun, except then National Security Adviser Richard Allen made a tape of the whole affair, using a Sony recorder, and forgot about it for 20 years. It surfaced again just after the movie was filmed, but before it was released. The transcripts were published, and the cabinet secretaries had a reunion on the Larry King Show, to play back parts of the tape, and other media coverage of the day. Al Haig's behaviour that day was only a minor issue, and his old colleagues said nothing got out of control, and things went about as would be expected for that kind of crisis. Not exactly 13 days in October. Unless you're Oliver Stone.
  • One of the fundamental issues in social life is the difference between the real life we lead and the way we see ourselves behaving, the difference between substance and perception.

    The crisis here involved maintaining the perception that all was hunky dory.

    Well, there were clips of the shooting repeatedly shown on TV so the incident couldn't readily be denied outright. But Reagan was reported walking unaided into GWH and joking with the medical staff, so he was perfectly all right except maybe with an injured rib or something. Brady was clearly in bad shape but we heard much less about him, and even less about the other victims. Reagan was always in good shape, never in danger, and was seen waving from the hospital window with that marvelous grin, back at work in no time.

    That was the perception we were handed by governmental spokesmen and a media happy to oblige. The substance was that Reagan was quite seriously injured, with a bullet lodged between his collapsed lung and his heart. A seventy-year-old man, he didn't respond readily to treatment and took months to recover. During part of that time of course he was narcotized and no longer in control of the government or anything else. The "football" which could start a nuclear war was taken by the FBI, who refused to turn it over to anyone except Vice President Bush, who was incommunicado, and then only when so authorized by the AG. Alexander Haigue, Secretary of State, seems to have promptly taken over the reins but was challenged by a number of other members of the cabinet. (As a result, nobody knew who, if anyone, was "minding the store.") The code card that activated the football had been left in a wallet in Reagan's pants, which had been thrown into a hospital laundry hamper. The reason the Vice President was incommunicado was that the phones didn't work. Caspar Weinberger, Secretary of Defense, raised the defcom level on his own, leading the USSR to believe that perhaps we blamed them for the shooting and were about to strike back. There is an illuminating exchange between Hague and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs during these arguments. Hague: "Can the Soviet Union launch a first strike?" Chairman: "Yes, they can." Hague: "How do we stop it?" Chairman: "Launch a first strike." VP Bush wasn't much help in clarifying things, refusing to take over as Acting President partly because his doing so would look in the press as an admission that Reagan was incapacitated (which of course he was).

    That was the substance. But sometimes, through perfectly ordinary mistakes, the perception that was prepared for the public ("Everything's just fine") was contradicted. Alexander Hague got his line of succession wrong on TV in public. It had been changed in the late 1960s and he gave the earlier version. That statement shook up the press a bit, but as an error it was strictly minor league compared to what was going on behind the scenes.

    You don't really need to be a conspiracy theorist to see with what condescension the public is treated by powerful political figures and, with some exceptions, by the press. As things fall apart and the center is in danger of not holding, as the formal norms fail to be observed, as the substance becomes rent with disagreement and disbelief, a perception is gradually agreed upon that will be handed to the public. It doesn't have to be true (it doesn't even have to be compellingly believable) but it has to be as soothing as a dose of Pepto-Bismol otherwise the great unwashed, whose intelligence is far too low to manage the complexities involved in understanding the substance, will panic.

    The movie is, as I say, pretty well done. Dreyfus is a much more commanding figure than Hague appeared to be in interviews, but he did miss one outstanding moment in this real-life drama. It had to do exclusively with perception, not substance. In trying to calm the TV audience by saying that everything is proceeding normally, and "I'm in charge now," the most dramatic impression wasn't so much that he'd gotten the line of succession wrong. (Hardly anybody in the audience recognized the mistake because they didn't know the line of succession themselves.) The most persistent memory of that announcement was that Hague was an absolute nervous wreck, sweaty, shaking, his voice quavering. It projected an image of anything BUT normality. Cap Weinberger comes across as a thoughtless and impulsive hawkishly-bent bureaucrat, which is pretty close to an accurate picture of the man. He hated "welfare" when he was at what was then called The Department of Health Education and "Welfare". (Now it's called The Department of Health and "Human Services". You see my point about substance and perception.)

    Small point. The "devastator bullets" that Hinckley used would never explode during removal. There was no question of their being dangerous after having been fired. The point this movie makes is a much larger one, going beyond even the question of the succession to the presidency.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This film was not a bad made for TV movie. It doesn't seem that all the facts are being put out during some scenes in the film. Richard Dryfuss is well placed as Al Haig. Same as Richard Crenna and Holland Taylor. And some of the side actors such as Beau Starr and Michael Murphy do fine as well. But the screenplay seems faulty at times, and you can tell it is a made for TV movie. You can also tell that Oliver Stone was involved in the project. The actors were right for this film, but the director and producers should have handled a different kind of film. Not an historical one. Don't buy it on DVD, either rent it or wait till it's back on the History Channel. HAs some f-bombs, that's the worst of the R rating.
  • This movie is a blatant attempt by the left in Hollywood to portray Reagan's administration as incompetent and bungling. Some mistakes may have been made at the time of the crisis, but I'm sure not to the extent portrayed in this lame movie. My first reaction was that this movie had to have been directed by Oliver Stone, but I was wrong this time. There are apparently many others.
  • Although the makers of the film used the usual disclaimer of part of the film being "fictionalized", it was apparent they were passing it off as factual. I was surprised and somewhat angered at the sloppiness in one key scene, where Haig is upbraided for misquoting the constitution. In the scene they give Haig a copy of the 25th amendment. However, nowhere in the amendment is reference made to the order of succession beyond the vice president. In fact, the Presidential Succession Act, passed in 1947, and not a part of the constitution, defines the order of succession. This is easily researched and shows a lack of apreciation of history on the part of the film makers. Come on, gentlemen, let's be more careful.
  • This one really has me confused. Almost every IMDb comment here - likes and dislikes - is based on people's political beliefs, or on their arguments about what is historically accurate, or how they perceive the Hollywood Left in general and Oliver Stone in particular. But, folks, this is a movie made for TV and all reviews should be based on its relevance or lack of same as a work of art. A TV movie a work of art? Okay, maybe not, but all films, plays, musicals, operas, etc. aspire to at least encompass the artistic impulse, and veracity is hardly even a consideration in such things. Only excellence is. We now know that Richard III wasn't the demented murderer Shakespeare painted him as, and that Boris Godunov did not murder his way to the Russian throne. But those facts in no way diminish Shakespeare's RICHARD III as one of the greatest plays ever written, or Mussorgsky's BORIS GODUNOV as the greatest of all Russian operas. So, let's let verisimilitude lie dormant for a minute and simply look at this TV movie as a minor work of art.

    I'd never heard of this film before, and watching it 16 years after it was made, I found myself absolutely mesmerized from beginning to end by the story it told. Was that story totally true? Probably not. Were the characters as portrayed absolutely true to the people involved? Probably not. Was what we were given in place of absolute truth and correct character delineation worth seeing? For me, it was ten stars worth seeing, so that obviates the need for further discussion, at least on my part. I thought every performance in the film was something of a standout, but especially those by Richard Dreyfuss as Al Haig and Holland Taylor (who, despite enjoying what I now find to be considerable fame as, in particular, a TV actress, I did not know) as Nancy Reagan, but also by Colm Feore as Caspar Weinberger. In fact, this is the best thing I have ever seen from Dreyfuss, who has wonderful memories for me in JAWS and MR. HOLLAND'S OPUS. The pure suspense of what has happened, is happening, and may yet happen is fantastic when you consider that everyone seeing this film already knows exactly what did or didn't happen. That is the mark of a good scriptwriter and a good director. Oliver Stone apparently produced this film, so that the Conservatives are jumping all over it as some kind of Leftist propaganda. I am a Conservative, and I got no such inkling from anything I saw here. It seemed to me that, for all practical purposes, Haig and Nancy Reagan were the two most admirable people to be seen in it. Mrs. Reagan's all-consuming love for "Ronnie" may be laughable to some, but not usually to people who grew up in Middle American Happy Households of the Reagans' life period. Haig, often portrayed (here and elsewhere) as a loose cannon, seems to me to be the only person in the story who has complete clarity of thought throughout (except for that one major "I am in charge" statement to the Press, a simple verbal faux pas to anyone who is not a conspiracy theorist). What surprises me most, and what not one reviewer here addresses, is that the film ultimately seems to come down on his side, when, as he leaves the Crisis Room for the last time and is asked what he will say to the Press the next day, he faces everyone down and quietly details every single thing he has found wrong in the way the crisis was responded to - from losing the President's nuclear access code card, to non-working telephones in a time of national emergency, to the near war engendered with Russia due to Weinberger's blunder, etc., etc. - and then says that, like a good soldier, he will fall on his sword before he makes these things public. In the end, and given the 'facts' as presented in this dramatization, any viewer taking the story at face value would have to agree that, if there was anything that had to be saved for the Nation during those first 24 hours after the assassination attempt, it was only Haig's overwhelming confidence and action that could be counted on to do so.

    Truth in reporting: Either shortly before or shortly after the Reagan Administration came into power, I met for dinner and a show with an old army buddy of mine from Tennessee and his family, this at the New York Hilton. As we entered the elevator to come down to ground level, who should be in that same elevator, all by himself, but General Alexander Haig, whom we took the liberty of speaking to for perhaps one minute. He was extremely friendly, but I cannot recall ever having been in the presence of anyone who exuded more charisma than General Haig, and that was almost 40 years ago, so however Richard Dreyfuss may have played him in this film, he hardly overdid that aspect of his personality.
  • thbryn1 December 2018
    Yes this was a good film. And I add that I was in no way expecting a documentary. I think the producer tried to combine information with entertainment.

    I thought all the actors were good. Holland Taylor was excellent as "Nancy" while not trying to do an impersonation of Mrs. Reagan. I think the players who were standouts in this ensemble were M.Murphy (Deaver), M. Greene (Bush) and of course R.Dreyfuss (Al Haig). R. Crenna was good as Reagan and J.Jessop was both funny and accurate as W.Casey (you have to know of him to understand why!).

    If I had to list one particular aspect that the film brought to those who didn't have much of a background to the real story it's that Reagan came very close to death. He was both brave and lucky (he got to the hospital quickly). Considering this may be the only info some people ever see of this terrible incident I'd say this was a not-too-shabby look at the day the 40th President almost lost his life.
  • It is clear that the low score average indicates that far too many votes were not on the film but on Reagan himself. This is an excellent film and a keeper in my library.

    I remember this day and this incident vividly. Who could forget the obviously shaken Al Haig telling the country that he was "in control" in the White House while Vice-President Bush was still in the air. This is the story behind the story: the chaos and panic that can set in when a President is shot. There is a theme in this real-life incident that was touched upon in television's "The West Wing" when "President Bartlett" was shot: when your first priority is to get medical assistance for an injured President, there can be oversights in procedure. And there were oversights when Reagan was shot.

    Richard Crenna does a wonderful job as Reagan, far superior to James Brolin's wooden caricature in "The Reagans." Richard Dreyfuss as Al Haig was brilliant. There is poignancy in the anxiety of the surgeon who "didn't even vote for the guy" and has to be reassured that he should treat Reagan like any other senior citizen in similar condition.

    The rest of the cast was top notch as well. I really enjoyed this film, but then I love history and I love stories that tell us what really happened. I wonder if I will live long enough to find out what really happened the day JFK was shot.
  • geddyneilalex2811 December 2001
    I was in 4th grade when Reagan was shot. I remember all my teachers crying and we went home early. This film brought back a lot of memories. I liked it a lot. Things were added for drama but the 15 minute short afterwards explains all of that. This is a solid drama mixing fact with Hollywood. It is 20 times better than "Pearl Harbor" and 1,000 times better than "Titanic".
  • Great film in general, not just for a made for showtime movie. Dreyfuss is perfect as Haig. I'm 23, and I must admit, I know very little about the true history of the events or the characters, but if the movie is anywhere close to true, this movie was, in many way, very scary. If this is how the situation was truly handled, then it's clear that we have some true hacks running the government at any given time! As for the movie, it was entertaining, and tho I know Reagan lived and recovered and the country didn't go down the drain, I found myself on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen. As I said, Dreyfuss was good, and the other performances were at the same level. I'm glad the actor who played Reagan didn't try to imitate his voice. That was a nice touch. Not the most exciting material, but in the end- the subject was successfully turned into a nice 90 min film. Overall- 9/10
  • Warning: Spoilers

    This movie was so comical I couldn't help but wonder how true the preposterousness of all of the events were. VP George Bush scared to take control? Haig that cutthroat, and at the same time as bitchy as a little school girl? The Secret Service men THAT inept to let that 'failed medical student' THAT close to Reagan? The Secret Service men and the FBI getting into catfights about Reagan's clothes? The phones in the 'crisis control center' not working? Nancy Reagan & Co. trying to get a picture of Reagan smiling to ease the press/public? LOL!! I've NEVER seen the gov't bend over backwards in a movie for the press like they did here. If half of the stuff depicted in this movie is true, it just goes to show how pathetic the government was in handling all of this.

    As a movie it kept me entertained....its an interesting outlook on the events. The moviemakers have us by the jockstrap because no one really knows what went on in the White House & at George Washington hospital. But the events depicted just shows the US as a pretty pathetic institution, especially in times of crisis when its needed to be in total control. As I said, if half of the events that happened here are true, its just another blemish on the ever fading image of the US government.

    **1/2 out of **** stars.
  • The president of the USA is shot after a dinner speech in Washington and this throws the whole office of government in to chaos and confusion.

    Despite being based on a mix of history, dramatisation and speculation about an event that most non cave-dwellers know all about, credit the cast and crew for making a cracking little drama out of it.

    Really fascinating stuff and enough is framed on enough indisputable events for us to believe what goes on. The only fly-in-the-ointment is that the American/Russian military situation is played up far more than was really justified.

    Also interesting that despite its length, it never gets to grip with gunman Hinckley and why Reagan acted like he did on the day. Indeed he seemed to want to deny that he had been shot and indeed he seemed confused as to what had happened. Maybe evidence that mentally the man was slipping already?

    The gun used was made in West Germany and although Hinckley used dumb-dumb bullets (as accurately depicted) what we are not told is that the reason they didn't "explode on impact" was due to having no mussel velocity on the gun. Is this a state secret?

    Equally the surgeons in Washington are experts in dealing with shot gun wounds, would they really have not been able to trace a bullet by using a tube through the entrance wound? Is this not standard practise? Did they really have to head scratch before coming up with that?

    The last question is why this movie has such a low IMDB rating: Are Americans embarrassed about Reagan and want to forget about his presidency? It held my attention well enough and I thought that it had enough going for it to be considered above average, rather than below average as scored here.
  • Hollywood leans so far left it can't even comprehend what the center looks like. Yet it has the power to influence what future skulls full of mush, as Kingsfield would say, think about the past.

    A recent tv movie about the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings was simply a paranoiac extremist's fictional nightmare. If such a flick had been made about a person of color on the left, the makers would've been tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail as "racists" ("racist" being what is used by the pc crowd rather than the McCarthyists' "communist", though to the same effect).

    The cheapjack rush job "The Contender" was supposed to parallel the Clinton impeachment, but in trying to preach to us that a public person's private life is none of our business, Hollywood sets up an ingenious double standard: if you're Clarence Thomas, your private life must be public record (so far, no movie has been made about the Robert Bork nomination; perhaps Hollywood hasn't quite been able to skate around the liberal senators getting Bork's "Blockbuster" tape rental record in a vain attempt to try to smear him -- and don't forget bringing up Oliver North's purchase at a lingerie store (which was for ballet costumes for his daughters!). A public figure's private life is no one's business to Hollywood . . . if that person is left of center. Otherwise, the public has a right to know, and Hollywood and the media have a duty to blurt out every detail.

    Movies about Richard Nixon invariably portray him as a psychopath, whereas movies about JFK invariably portray him as messianic. When we finally forget the disgrace that was Clinton, who committed worse crimes involving the FBI and IRS etc. than Nixon, no doubt Clinton movies of the future will portray him as truly messianic, whereas Clinton his a political Jimmy Swaggart (only more sanctimonious).

    The Tom Clancy book "The Sum of all Fears" is about middle-eastern terrorists; despite the timeliness of that material, the movie "SoAF" is about right-wing terrorists. We mustn't offend the Taliban or the PLO. But right-wingers don't need to be understood but shot on sight.

    Which segues us into "The Day Reagan Was Shot", Richard Crenna's Reagan isn't bad, considering the number of Reagan-haters who must exist in Hollywood, but he isn't that important, either. But Alexander Haig, the Secretary of State, and one of the most experienced and savvy men in Washington at that time, is portrayed as an out-and-out nut case, simply on the basis of one erroneous statement. The whole weight of the film, in fact, seems to be, not that the chief executive was gunned down by a movie fan, but the fact that the Republican secretary of state spoke out of turn. The Crisis of the movie is not that a Republican president was shot, but that a secretary of state, who was the highest ranking official in Washington on the spot, had a slip of the tongue. The antagonist if the drama wasn't a true nut case who tried to eliminate an overwhelmingly popular chief executive, but a made-up nut case in the administration.

    The Hollywood double standard continues in real life and in the movies. When Jerry Falwell said American deserved 9/11, he was castigated; when Clinton said America deserved 9/11, his vapid outspokenness was praised as "courageous". If Hollywood ever makes a movie about the war on Terror the Taliban and Osama can rest easy: the antagonist will be Condi Rice or Colin Powell.
  • Probably there are some lapses from strictly factual reporting, I think we get the general picture pretty well. There was confusion, conflict of personalities, power grabbing, and a powerful drama going on in emergency surgery at George Washington Hospital. All this is played out convincingly with excellent direction and editing. There is even room for a bit of love interest as we see Nancy at the hospital. Even if you were not a great fan of Reagan, as I was not, one could hardly help empathizing with the man in his plight all through this film. His cohorts, well that might be another matter. Mostly, they don't come off too well. You won't be disappointed in the acting. It's fine across the board, even to minor players.
  • Just saw this. It's a great movie. Yup, movie. Definitely worth seeing, especially when followed by an actually documentary about the day. It's also nice to see a film about a potential tragedy that doesn't focus on the tragedy - or the unusual man who caused it. Not sensational at all. Instead, it's a film about the political animal that is the United States and somehow manages to keep the film interesting throughout. Compelling, interesting, poignant and at times touching and sad. Regardless of how you may feel about the persons politically, it is a great film. I don't normally like Richard D. - but he's worth the price of admission on this one.

    SEE IT!
  • Before I saw this movie, I didn't know any details about the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan. I just knew that he was shot sometime early in the 80's. The fact that he was somewhat struggling for his life came as a surprise for me when I was watching this. The movie isn't only about Reagan's life and death-fight at the hospital. Half of the movie tells the story of the power struggle that took place in The White House at the same time. This was totally new information for me. The reason why it became a mess, was the fact that Vice President George Bush sat in plane bound for Texas at the moment. The big question then was: Who's next in line? This is no documentary, but still I think I got the picture very well, in addition to being entertained.
  • This made-for-TV movie, produced by the liberal's liberal, Oliver Stone is a compelling, exiting and watcheable portrayal of events which were pretty forgettable in real time. One wonders if the White House was this dysfunctional at the time....everbody behaves badly. One might expect tight-lipped shrillness (an oxymoron) from Nancy Reagan, but poor Sarah Brady, wife of wounded press secretary James Brady fares not much better as she wails "what have THEY (who?) done to you!?!?". After relentless mean spirited badgering of Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger by Secretary of State Alexander Haig, someone finally says "show some tact, Al." I think the deck gets stacked against this Republican Administration most especially in the wimpy portrayal of Bush'41, who is both clueless and deferential to a fault throuout the movie. The Gipper fares not much better. Still, its great storytelling.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Just saw this film and It had my attention from beginning to end. Richard Dreyfuss's performance of Alexander Haig is a masterpiece. A fine portrayal of Nancy Reagan also. The turmoil and power plays as depicted makes one really wonder if in fact contingencies are ever truly practiced. At times this film in a strange way is funny.The scene where Nancy Reagan is trying get her critically injured husband to sign a bill to show the country he's not incapacitated could cause a few unintended nervous laughs but propping him up for the hospital bed photos made for a very sad scene. The hunt for the "briefcase man" caused a chuckle when he was finally found in a toilet stall. Not ending this particular piece of chaos, the presidents wallet containing the all important key couldn't be found for a long period of time. If the director was trying to create a sense of complete turmoil he certainly succeeded. This has to be one of the best made for TV movies I've ever seen. I recommend it highly.
  • mm-394 May 2004
    The Left leaning can really ruin a film, and I was expecting the worse. I was surprised with this film, except for the dramatizations of Haig, this film is somewhat accurate. Panic, disorganization, big time mistakes (ie the ex midterm) do happen. Agency in-fighting, phones not working is part of our imperfect world. The devil takes advantage of us when we are at our weakest. Maybe, someone can answer this question, but I do believe Weinberger, and Haig did not get along? How much of this is overdramatized I do not know. What I did like is they showed at the end, Haig loves his country, and did his best to help and lead in a time of crisis. What I really hate is that they left out that the US had to show that Reagan was strong, for the cold war sake, Bush and the rest knew this. This is part of the art of war. Did they really ask the secret service to leave the operating room, some many facts I did forget. I could imagine the stress the oval office has and what could be done in a time of crisis, like 9/11.

    6 out of 10 Mike
  • bvote20 December 2001
    I really enjoyed this movie. It was 10 times better than Costner's bomb 13 days. Richard Dreyfuss' portrayal of Alex Haig was marvelous. The thing I liked most was that even though you knew the outcome, the movie still kept you on the edge of your seat.
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