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The Assassination of Richard Nixon (2004)

2:32 | Trailer
Based on real life events, Assassination is set in 1974 and centers on a businessman who decides to take extreme measures to achieve his American dream.


Niels Mueller
2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Sean Penn ... Samuel J. Bicke
Naomi Watts ... Marie Andersen Bicke
Don Cheadle ... Bonny Simmons
Jack Thompson ... Jack Jones
Brad William Henke ... Martin Jones (as Brad Henke)
Nick Searcy ... Tom Ford
Michael Wincott ... Julius Bicke
Mykelti Williamson ... Harold Mann
April Grace ... Mae Simmons
Lily Knight ... Receptionist
Jared Dorrance ... Sammy Jr.
Jenna Milton ... Ellen
Mariah Massa ... Julie
Eileen Ryan ... Marie's Mother
Derek Greene Derek Greene ... Joey Simmons


Fact-based story about a disturbed office furniture salesman who in 1972 concocted a plot to kill then-President Nixon by hi-jacking a plane to fly over the White House to drop a gas bomb. At the start of the movie, the man is separated from his wife and stressed in his job where he is made the butt of jokes and is an under-performer. Attempts to get his brother's old tire business resurrected with a black partner is rejected by the banks. When he is officially served with divorce papers, everything comes apart and Richard Nixon's broken promises comes to represent all the evils that have come down on him. A news story about a pilot that landed a helicopter on the White House lawn gives him the idea for his attack. Bolting onto a Baltimore plane, he attempts the hi-jacking. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Power is a state of mind. See more »


16 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



USA | Mexico



Release Date:

12 May 2005 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

A Richard Nixon-merénylet See more »

Filming Locations:

Alameda, California, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$37,547, 2 January 2005, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$697,759, 27 February 2005
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


Black and White (archive footage)| Color (archive footage)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Second of three cinema movie collaborations of actor Sean Penn and actress Naomi Watts. The first one was 21 Grams (2003) and the third one was Fair Game (2010). See more »


A version of the film that was sent to festivals before the visual effects were complete, contains images of aircraft that are not from the story's time period. Shortly after, the visual effects team, digitally removed these logos and added ones from period appropriate airlines. See more »


[first lines]
Samuel Bicke: Testing. Testing. Testing. One, two, three. Mr. Maestro, Leonard Bernstein, tape number one.
See more »


Piano Concerto No. 5 in E Flat Major, Op. 73
Performed by the Studio Symphony Orchestra Prague
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
Produced by Steven Stern and Jack Smalley
See more »

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User Reviews

In short recommended.
15 December 2004 | by bart51285See all my reviews

Thanks to my keen eye, I (one of few, I believe) caught that free tickets to above movie were being given away, and would be followed by a Q & A with the director, producer (the guy behind Y Tu Mama Tambien) and Sean Penn, who is the lead of the movie, and takes a large majority of the screen time. The movie comes to select U.S. theaters on Dec. 29th, and the widens. I'll mention the questions later, but first the review.

A very good, yet flawed film. I use the term film not to be pretentious, but because it is primarily a film, not a movie in the blockbustery sense. It was produced independently, with the documenting the assassin, Sam Byck (Sean Penn.) It focuses on the year before he attempted (true story) to kill President Nixon in February, 1974 by flying a plane into the White House. However, the main thrust of the film was not politics, but character development.

Sean Penn is clearly one of the best actors today, very much in his prime. He once again proves it here. Byck is a man separated from his family, unsuccessful in his careers, and is marginalized from his life. We watch him obtain a sense of hopelessness, as he watches his dreams crumble away, as he blames the American system for his demise. Similar to Taxi Driver, in a lot of ways. Outstanding portrayal.

The only negative was the short span of the movie. It was 95 minutes, and left too little time for back story. There is not nearly enough exploration of how Byck got to the point where he could be pushed to kill. Another half hour of explaining his character would have made for a pantheon-level movie, instead of just a rather good one.

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