Secret Honor


Secret Honor (1984)



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Movie Info

'Secret Honor' is a filmed version of Donald Freed and Arnold Stone's one-man play wherein the disgraced Richard M. Nixon ruminates over his failed career and suggests that he was really nothing more than the puppet of a sinister "committee" seeking global power.

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Philip Baker Hall
as Richard M. Nixon

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Critic Reviews for Secret Honor

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (3)

Rarely have I seen ninety more compelling minutes on the screen.

Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

One of the funniest, most unsettling, most imaginative and most surprisingly affecting movies of its very odd kind I've ever seen.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

The dramatic material, overheated to begin with, is hyped up by hysterical acting and further exaggerated by a busy mise-en-scene based on meaningless camera movements and space-destroying zooms.

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Altman's take on a fascinating one-man show, with Philip Baker Hall staggeringly good as the disgraced Richard Milhous Nixon.

Jan 17, 2016 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

The pic delivers a fascinating story in a fascinating way.

Apr 18, 2011 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

Does anyone have a clue what Altman was driving at with this intense glob of lunacy?

Nov 19, 2005

Audience Reviews for Secret Honor


The screenplay is undeniably compelling and Philip Baker Hall's performance is wonderfully manic.

Alec Barniskis
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

Altman returns to top form and delivers an amazing, tense and thrilling one man show. Phillip Baker Hall in his greatest role and Altman's camera does the rest.

Graham Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer


Robert Altman was a scientist. He was constantly exploring new ways to tell cinematic stories and "Secret Honor" was one of his most daring experiments. During the 1980s Altman was shunned from Hollywood due to his underperforming films. He spent the better part of the decade directing plays, teaching classes and recording theater. When he did make a film, it was usually with the same select few cast and crew he was repeatedly using. "Secret Honor," a one man film about a fictional hour and a half of Richard Nixon's life, was a result of one of these collaborations. "Secret Honor" was the final 'project,' so to speak, of one of his Chicago based film classes. Students filled in the positions of crew. Philip Baker Hall reprises his role from the play in the film. "Secret Honor" is a stream of conscious, fictional, portrayal of a historical figure in crisis. The structure can get tiresome, as with any single location film, but there are moments of brilliance. Baker Hall can be riveting and over the top in equal measure, much like Nixon himself. I also enjoyed that this, much like Oliver Stone's "W." was a balanced portrayal, both judgmental and sympathetic. "Secret Honor" is not a home run by any means. The film can drag due to the fact it's essentially an endless monologue but it's still well worth seeing. It's a claustrophobic, anxiety ridden experience that, love it or hate it, you will not likely forget.

Steven Carrier
Steven Carrier

Super Reviewer


[font=Century Gothic][color=indigo]"Secret Honor" is a one-man film directed by Robert Altman featuring Philip Baker Hall as a post-disgrace Richard Nixon in full drunken, venomous rage, dictating his memoirs. Therein, lies the problem with this movie - there is not a lot of subtletly and nuance here which does not allow for much insight into his character. Despite this negative portrayal, I felt this movie let Nixon off the hook somewhat. He comes off as somewhat tragic instead of the monster I imagine he was. It does not help matters that "Secret Honor" reminds me of a lesser Twilight Zone episode; you know one where the evil old man has to face the sins of his long life. Hall is excellent as Nixon but I still prefer Dan Hedaya's performance in "Dick."(Note: "Secret Honor" might make for an interesting but none too enjoyable double feature with "The Assassination of Richard Nixon.")[/color][/font] [font=Century Gothic][color=navy]"The Unfaithful Wife" is another straightforward piece of suspense from Claude Chabrol. This one is about a wealthy businessman(Michel Bouquet) who imagines that his beautiful wife(Stephane Audran) is having an affair. He hires an investigator for proof and goes to see the other man.(Like Chabrol's "L'Enfer", I am curious to know what makes the husband suspicious of his wife. And is it love or possessiveness that drives his actions?) This movie differs from some of Chabrol's other films in that it is a little trickier than most. Plus, there is much that is left unsaid and is left inferred.("The Unfaithful Wife" was remade a few years ago in English as "Unfaithful" starring Diane Lane and Richard Gere which I have not seen.) [/color][/font]

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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