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Best of Enemies

The chilling origin story for entertainment-driven political punditry (Netflix)

William F. Buckley Jr. shouts at Gore Vidal during the 1968 debates. ABC Photo Archives
Alissa Wilkinson covers film and culture for Vox. Alissa is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics.

In 1968, William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal — famous for their strong opinions about both politics and each other — were recruited by ABC to participate in a series of on-air debates during the major political parties’ conventions. The debates were famously contentious, rocketing ABC to the top of the ratings and solidifying, as this documentary argues, the future of hyperpartisan politics and entertainment-driven, shouting-head TV news punditry. Best of Enemies recounts the debates and their fallout. It’s exciting but also chilling — an origin story for a long national nightmare.

”Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville’s masterful Best of Enemies leaves you with an overwhelming sense of despair. It’s not just a great documentary, it’s a vital one.” Bilge Ebiri, Vulture

Release date: July 31, 2015

Streaming on: Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu

Metacritic score: 77 out of 100

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