‘I can’t believe how relevant to today this footage is’.
Gordon and co-director Morgan Neville—whose Twenty Feet From Stardom won the 2014 Oscar for best documentary—skillfully weave archival footage together with interviews with the likes of Christopher Hitchens – Brooke Gladstone – Dick Cavett, and Buckley’s brother Neil.
The movie climaxes during one of the duo’s final debates at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago where while discussing Vietnam War protesters Vidal calls Buckley a ‘crypto-Nazi’.
The latter’s response – which could even make Donald Trump blush – was perhaps the first viral sound bite in modern media history.
‘Now listen – you queer’ Buckley retorted – twitching with anger.
‘Quit calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in the goddamn face and you’ll stay plastered’.
Indeed the televised verbal brawls between these two brilliant intellectuals anticipated the culture wars that would define for decades to come America’s political struggles—and how the media would cover them.