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The Assassination of Richard Nixon (2004)


Average Rating: 6.7/10
Reviews Counted: 130
Fresh: 88
Rotten: 42

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Average Rating: 6.2/10
Reviews Counted: 35
Fresh: 17
Rotten: 18

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.


Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 13,182



Movie Info

The true story of a man who, on February 22, 1974, was thwarted from an ambitious plan for political assassination provides the basis for this striking psychological drama. Sam Bicke (Sean Penn) is a salesman for an office-supply company whose life is slowly beginning to unravel. Bicke's job is going nowhere, his wife, Marie (Naomi Watts), has left him, and his boss (Jack Thompson) keeps pushing self-help books on him that make a mockery of his state of mind. One of Bicke's few friends is Bonny … More

R (for language and a scene of graphic violence)
Mystery & Suspense , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
Niels Mueller , Kevin Kennedy
In Theaters:
Apr 26, 2005
Box Office:
ThinkFilm - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for The Assassination of Richard Nixon

All Critics (142) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (88) | Rotten (42) | DVD (25)

Sean Penn brings this obscure failure back to life in a vivid portrayal of a madman in the making, a madman who had a date with a gun and history.

Full Review… | February 11, 2005
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

It's not just Nixon's shadow that hangs like a cloud over Assassination, it's the shadow of the bummerific era of American movies his regime spawned.

Full Review… | February 4, 2005
Toronto Star
Top Critic

The idea that assassins are products of their times is intriguing, but The Assassination of Richard Nixon is betrayed by its ambitions and pretensions.

Full Review… | February 4, 2005
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

A well-made if relatively uninvolved character study with nothing noteworthy to say.

Full Review… | January 21, 2005
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

Features a bravura performance by Penn as a frustrated and deluded loser, but there isn't much else to recommend. The story is a one-note drag.

Full Review… | January 21, 2005
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

Assassination is an odd little movie. It's exceptionally well-done but doesn't attain the levels of meaning for which it seems to be striving.

January 21, 2005
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic

Debut writer/director Neils Mueller (co-writer on "Tadpole") stitches together an ambiguous meditation on the pervasive affects of government corruption during the Nixon Administration that led a Baltimore man to attempt to kill the President by hijacking

Full Review… | April 18, 2009

The film manages something quite remarkable, both a compassion for Bicke's wounded sense of life's betrayals, and stark revulsion for the personal logic of his bloody remedy.

Full Review… | May 28, 2007
Long Island Press

(...) Niels Mueller (...) conduce el relato con seguridad y tensión creciente hacia el inevitable estallido de violencia final.

Full Review… | December 28, 2005
Uruguay Total

There are good things about the movie, but it finally trips itself up on its two-fisted seriousness.

Full Review… | September 1, 2005
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Gets stuck using as its messenger such a wacko.

Full Review… | May 3, 2005
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

It's a small and quiet drama, but it's also one that sucks you in quite smoothly. Penn, as always, is fantastic.

Full Review… | April 26, 2005
DVD Clinic

This movie provides a lot of food for thought about true believers who don't mind killing people to achieve their goals.

Full Review… | April 25, 2005
Laramie Movie Scope

By the close you're convinced that there should have been more to the film than what ended up onscreen.

Full Review… | April 19, 2005

An engaging, thought-provoking drama that is frequently unbearably moving thanks to career best work from Sean Penn.

Full Review… | April 9, 2005

A forgotten chapter of history that exposes truths about the American dream worth remembering.

Full Review… | April 9, 2005

One of the most successful attempts to tell the tale of an, ultimately, criminal person without ever forcing us to condone his crimes.

Full Review… | April 2, 2005

It makes for a grim time at the movies, but also a sobering one because it seeks truth, not sensationalism, in ugliness.

Full Review… | March 30, 2005

Even with three top-flight actors, The Assassination of Richard Nixon never becomes much more than a character study of a footnote in American history.

Full Review… | March 11, 2005
Des Moines Register

A case study devoid of empathy, it's Taxi Driver from Cybill Shepherd's point of view.

March 5, 2005
Philadelphia Weekly

Penn delivers another of the incisive and riveting performances we've come to expect from one of our greatest actors.

Full Review… | March 4, 2005
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Penn's challenge was to create a distinct character, especially with the shadow of Travis Bickle looming ... he largely succeeds, although he doesn't achieve De Niro's pathos.

Full Review… | March 4, 2005

Penn's agonized performance in this under-the-radar drama is better than his Oscar-winning work in Mystic River.

February 28, 2005
Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)

You'll believe a worm can kvetch.

Full Review… | February 25, 2005
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

A starkly ambitious endeavor for such a fellow, and Mueller pulls it off well, if not perfectly.

Full Review… | February 20, 2005

The film should be seen for the performances alone.

Full Review… | February 17, 2005

Audience Reviews for The Assassination of Richard Nixon

The Assassination of Richard Nixon has everything you could hope for in a quality film. An engaging story full of interesting characters, great acting, score and all that jazz, a great piece of work. The film is set in the 1970s and revolves around it's central character, Sam Bick, a man who can't hold down a job, and has problems connecting with people socially. The film follows Sam on his unrelenting course of bad luck that will eventually prove to be too much for him to take. Compared by many to Taxi Driver, the film perhaps has more in common with Falling Down, Sam always complains about being held down by "the system" and how "the little man" is mistreated and such, the film does very well with this topic, leaving it open as to whether Sam is letting it get to him too much, or if he really is being mistreated, certainly different viewpoints and multiple viewings could generate many different views on the film. Sean Penn as usual is an acting tour de force, I've often criticised him privately for taking what I'd called "Gunning for Ocsars roles" a role that involves a mental breakdown or a disability or suchlike covered in a dramatic manner, that usually guarantees an Oscar nomination. An actor solely concerned with winning trophies, I do sometimes wish he'd take a few more risks rather than sticking to the "oscar" formula. He could be accused of that again here, but to be honest, whatever his intentions with making such a film, if he puts in a good performance there can be no complaints, and here he is exceptional, never going over the top, it's easily one of his best performances and certainly, the character of Sam Bicke is one that any actor would relish and provides good subject matter for a very good film. 4 Stars 9-29-13

Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Not an "entertaining" film to watch here, but Sean Penn's performance as a soul drowning in an avalanche of setbacks is as definite as the sound of a gunshot ... and as clearly recognizable. The rest of the cast compliments the drowning absolutely with apt portrayals of "please God, don't let it be me". Difficult to watch, as I said. Very true.

Apeneck Fletcher

Super Reviewer

Sean Penn puts in one of his best performances to date in this highly underrated thriller based on true life events.

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer


"I am but a grain of sand. The meek shall not inherit the earth. The earth belongs to the bullies who do not care how they get to the top."A film inspired by a true story about the life of an ordinary man who plotted to kill Nixon.Another one of those sad stories of a person channeling his lifes frustration and dissillusionment from the government and the country he loves, to a specific individual.Sean Penns acting is always something to see, the script was moderately smart, but I guess this just isnt my cup of tea. It just felt flat out, dreary and dry. I was waiting for a the big breakthrough in the pacing of the film but no big drama ever came out of it, it never happened, and Im left hangging. I never even cried throughout the movie!Seriously not recommended.If you want to see Sean Penn in a tear jerking drama you're better off watching I am Sam.Genre: Biography, Crime & DramaDirector: Niels MuellerRated R

Ginny  X

Super Reviewer

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