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Robert and Elizabeth (Napoleon's World)

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Robert and Elizabeth is a 1999 American drama film directed by Luther Coyles and starring an all-star ensemble cast of Jim Ames, Lucy Cook, Peter Dempsey, Tom Wilkinson, Jack O'Neill, Jean-Luc Bastiane, James Cromwell, James Hadley, Ryan Sturgis, Kathleen Clark, and Stuart Callahan. The film is about the rivalry and later friendship between former US Presidents Elizabeth Shannon and Robert Redford and their relationship from their initial head-butting in the 1980 Presidential campaign, over the eight years of Shannon's Presidency and in Redford's own four-year term. The film won a slew of Academy Awards and was universally praised, but was upset for Best Picture by Sebastien, a similarly high-billed ensemble historical drama.

Plot

The film is told primarily through flashback from Robert Redford's (Jim Ames) final days in office, as he reflects back upon his life, Vice Presidency and Presidency, most notably of his initially contentious and eventually close relationship with his predecessor and one-time superior, Elizabeth Shannon (Lucy Cook).

The film focuses less on historical events during the last twelve years of the so-called "Shanford" Era and centers around the personal relationship between the two in the context of the Brazilian War, 1983 Covenant Race Riots, clashes with foreign leaders, the attempted assassination of Redford in 1984, and the Persian Gulf War in 1988, and embellishes upon the mentor-type role Shannon took during Redford's own Presidency. The film explores both characters as complex individuals, focusing on Shannon's struggles to earn respect from male colleagues in Washington, and the somewhat naive idealism of Redford, openly questioning whether or not he was competent while portraying him as a fluid, evolving character.

Cast

  • Jim Ames as Robert Redford, the Vice President of the United States from 1981-89 and President from 1989-93.
  • Lucy Cook as Elizabeth Shannon, the President of the United States from 1981-89.
  • James Cromwell as Roger Shannon, the only First Husband.
  • Kathleen Clark as Susan Redford.
  • Tom Wilkinson as George Steinbrenner, the Secretary of State from 1981-89.
  • Ryan Sturgis as Edward Dellacroix, the Secretary of Defense from 1989-93.
  • James Hadley as George Bush, Redford's Vice President.
  • James Spader as Al Spetowitz, Redford's confidant and chief advisor
  • Jean-Luc Bastiane as Albert II of France
  • Jack O'Neill as John Burwin, who defeats Redford during his reelection bid in 1992.
  • Peter Dempsey as Joseph Clausen, Shannon's opponent in the 1984 election campaign.
  • Stuart Callahan as Mike Sharper, Redford's Chief of Staff.
  • Frank Reed as Himself, playing a few scenes set during the 1988 election campaign.

Production

Reception

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