"A nation of shoplifters...a sanctimonious society of hustlers." Gore Vidal says some harsh things about the United States in this stimulating American Masters profile. After reading aloud a typically iconoclastic passage from one of Vidal's essays, critic Adam Goodheart describes his reaction: "Gosh, did he just say that? Does he really think that?...Wait, it could be true!"
Novelist, dramatist and polemicist extraordinaire, the 77-year-old Vidal lives to provoke. Wherever he goes in this film—from his beloved Italian villa to Broadway for a revival of his political play The Best Man—Vidal flashes his subversive wit. As a bonus, Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and other stars read from his work.
BOTTOM LINE: Great Gore