Picks and Pans Review: The Final Days

updated 10/30/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 10/30/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

ABC (Sun., Oct. 29, 8 P.M. ET)

A

Richard Nixon's strengths and weaknesses as President will be debating fodder for historians for a millennium or two. But everyone agrees that as a TV presence, the ex-President was as telegenic as a Cheese Curl. That's why it's a surprise that this three-hour film, based on the Bob Woodward-Carl Bernstein book about Nixon's final days in office, is so gripping. Credit a script that makes you think you're watching White House home movies. There is also fine acting all around. But give the major nod to veteran character actor Lane Smith as Nixon. He comes so close to recreating the Nixonian manner that at times you think you have the genuine article to kick around some more.

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