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The Day Reagan Was Shot (2001)

The 30th of March, 1981, the delusional John Hinckley Jr. tries to kill president Ronald Reagan. His life hangs on a thin thread at the hospital, while the Soviet Union is ready to invade a... See full summary »

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4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Buddy Stein
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Leon Pownall ...
Robert Bockstael ...
Dick Allen
Beau Starr ...
Special Agent Cage
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Dr. Allard
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Dr. Gregorio
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John Hinckley
Sean McCann ...
Jack Jessop ...
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Storyline

The 30th of March, 1981, the delusional John Hinckley Jr. tries to kill president Ronald Reagan. His life hangs on a thin thread at the hospital, while the Soviet Union is ready to invade a Poland on the brink of a revolution. Based on actual events during the final stages of the cold war. Written by OJT

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Rated R for language | See all certifications »

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9 December 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A merénylet napja  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

First film of Christian Lloyd. See more »

Goofs

The notepaper which is given to the Deputy Press Secretary has been torn from a pad and we see the rough edges, but a subsequent close-up shows it cut cleanly. See more »

Quotes

Alexander Haig: I'm third in line!
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Connections

Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #22.82 (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Curiosity Piece
25 November 2003 | by (Pennsylvania) – See all my reviews

Cinemagraphically, this movie is absolutely dreadful. I've seen better sets and make-up in junior high productions. Particularly laughable is the national TV news anchor who appears to be reporting from a secretary's desk in the basement of the CBS building. The acting is marginal at best, with some good performances in places but overall simply average, and marred further by the fact that almost none of the actors bear any physical resemblance to the people they are playing.

Despite the fact that he lent his name to this (as "Executive Producer"), the film bears no Oliver Stone trademarks. Say what you will about Stone's political / social agenda, he knows how to make movies. I'm surprised he would allow himself to be associated with such an amateurish TV movie that bears none of his imprint (slick editing; flashbacks; tight plot).

Apart from accuracy (which I'll get to in a minute), the film is also marred by pointless dialogue and scenes. No self-respecting doctor would beg off emergency surgery simply because of political differences; anyone who even entertained that thought should lose his license. Likewise, there's no way they would have allowed such blatant contamination in the operating room (the secret service agent with the *machine gun* in the OR had me in stitches -- what's he going to DO with the gun, anyway? -- never mind the constant traffic in and out by government agents and officials).

I was 11 when Reagan was shot and I remember it vividly. I even have the TIME magazine from that week, not to mention a number of books on Reagan. So I'm fairly well qualified to speak to the film's accuracy. Funnily enough, allowing for some dramatic license, it's actually not that far-fetched. We don't know what went on behind the scenes at the White House or at the Hospital. It's doubtful that Haig was as aggressive as depicted, and the missile attack is entirely overwrought. The press was not as belligerent as depicted, and nobody insisted on taking a minicam up to the recovery room to verify that the president was still alive; nor did Nancy force him to sign anything or Deaver insist on taking pictures. What we do know is this:

  • There was a great deal of chaos and confusion within the government,
including retrieving the VP from his trip in Texas.

  • Haig did appear on national TV and try to convince the world (not all
that successfully) that he was "in control" at the White House pending the VP's return.

  • There was confusing information coming out of the Hospital, including
Brady's reported death and other items not even mentioned in the movie (Lyn Nofziger reported that Reagan was having "open-heart surgery" as opposed to "open-chest surgery" -- a big difference!)

  • Jack Paar (the secret service chief who pushed Reagan into the car) did,
in fact, save Reagan's life by taking him to the Hospital; and Reagan was a lot closer to death than people (outside the Hospital) realized at the time, due to many of the factors mentioned in the movie.

  • The opening scenes that depict Reagan meeting with his staff are also
fairly accurate (although the cartoonish depiction of William Casey is rather offensive; his debilitating strokes did not occur until later in the administration). Reagan, as he (Crenna) says, was not interested in the details. This is, IMHO, to his credit as a leader and as a president, although others would differ. It was, if nothing else, a sharp contrast to the Carter years, a reference Reagan makes in the movie.

To my knowledge, there's never been any assertion of "conspiracy" in the Reagan shooting as there is with JFK. It's pretty obvious what happened, and that Hinckley acted alone. Lacking such a premise, the filmakers can only compensate by ratcheting up the drama, in which they stretch the truth, but not to the breaking point. Thus, it's an interesting movie to watch if you accept all this, but hardly something for the historical record.

Finally, I wonder if Ronald Reagan and Richard Crenna knew each other when they were together in Hollywood in the 1960's. I'd be interested to know the answer to this. Sadly, I can't ask either of them, but maybe Nancy knows...


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