AFI Docs to Open With Flick About Epic Gore Vidal-William F. Buckley Brawls

Jason Dick
Posted May 13, 2015 at 4:05pm  

People think cable television pundits are rough on each other now. They don’t know for rough.  

“Best of Enemies,” a documentary by Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville about the 1968 public debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley will open the AFI Docs film festival on June 17. Vidal, the pugilistic liberal, writer and cultural critic and Buckley, the pugnacious founder of National Review and conservative godfather, staged the intellectual equivalent of the Ali-Frazier fights.  

“As far as I’m concerned, the only sort of pro- or crypto-Nazi I can think of is yourself, ” Vidal said to Buckley on air on Aug. 28, 1968, during the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.  

“Stop calling me a crypto-Nazi. Stop or I’ll sock you in the goddamned face and you’ll stay plastered,” Buckley replied.  

“They were not frenemies. They were just enemies,” Neville told Beyond Cinema at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Anyone interested in some real intellectual firepower should be in for a good movie.  

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