Secret Honor

Director: Robert Altman
Screenwriters: Donald Freed, Arnold M. Stone

Institute History

  • 1985 Sundance Film Festival


Just when you thought it was safe to go back into politics, Richard Nixon is back with a bizarre, hallucinogenic vengeance. Robert Altman continues his string of remarkable stage adaptations with Secret Honor, directing Phillip Baker Hall along a riveting, brilliant, crazed monologue into the labyrinth of the Nixon psyche at the moment following the President’s resignation.

Ranting and raving into a tape recorder while four closed-circuit video monitors display his image, Hall’s Nixon emerges in full splendor: a grotesque, tortured, sentimental and calculating man led to betrayal by the promise of absolute power. He slurs out a string of weird and barely fictionalized revelations: Kissinger was on the payroll of the Shah of Iran, Marilyn Monroe really was murdered by the CIA, his hatred of the Eastern establishment, envy of JFK’s hair, and that Watergate was staged to conceal even greater, more heinous crimes. Best of all he reveals the “secret honor” upheld behind his resignation. Written by ex-National Security Advisor Armond Stone and political historian Donald Freed, Secret Honor is preposterous on the surface but may achieve a deeper truth: Nixon as we’ve always suspected but never seen.

Screening Details


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