Best of Enemies


YEAR 2015

SECTION U.S. Documentary Competition


RUN TIME 88 min

In the summer of 1968, television news changed forever. Dead last in the ratings, ABC hired two towering public intellectuals to debate each other during the Democratic and Republican national conventions. William F. Buckley, Jr. was a leading light of the new conservative movement. A Democrat and cousin to Jackie Onassis, Gore Vidal was a leftist novelist and polemicist. Armed with deep-seated distrust and enmity, Vidal and Buckley believed each other’s political ideologies were dangerous for America. Like rounds in a heavyweight battle, they pummeled out policy and personal insult—cementing their opposing political positions. Their explosive exchanges devolved into vitriolic name-calling. It was unlike anything TV had ever broadcast, and all the more shocking because it was live and unscripted. Viewers were riveted. ABC News' ratings skyrocketed. And a new era in public discourse was born.

Directed with consummate skill by filmmakers Robert Gordon and Academy Award-winning Sundance Film Festival alum Morgan Neville (Twenty Feet From Stardom), Best of Enemies unleashes a highbrow blood sport that marked the dawn of pundit television as we know it today. —D.C.


COMPANY Tremolo Productions


Co Producer
Executive Producer

Artist Bio

Morgan Neville is an award-winning filmmaker and cultural documentarian. In 2014, he won the Academy Award for Best Documentary for his most recent film, Twenty Feet From Stardom. Neville has been nominated for three Grammy Awards for his music films: Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story, Muddy Waters Can't Be Satisfied, and Johnny Cash’s America and won a Emmy for Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Blues. He also directed Shotgun Freeway: Drives Thru Lost L.A., Troubadours, and The Cool School.

Grammy Award-winning writer and filmmaker Robert Gordon has focused on the American South. He is the author of six books, including an award-winning biography of blues icon Muddy Waters. His most recent book, Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion, recently went into a fourth printing. His films include William Eggleston's Stranded in Canton, Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story, and the verité shocker Very Extremely Dangerous.