more trailers The Assassination of Richard Nixon

Still of Sean Penn in The Assassination of Richard NixonStill of Sean Penn in The Assassination of Richard NixonNaomi Campbell at event of The Assassination of Richard NixonStill of Sean Penn in The Assassination of Richard NixonStill of Sean Penn and Naomi Watts in The Assassination of Richard NixonSean Penn and Niels Müller in The Assassination of Richard Nixon

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.

Release Year: 2004

Rating: 7.1/10 (16,938 voted)

Critic's Score: 63/100

Director: Niels Mueller

Stars: Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, Don Cheadle

In 1974 Samuel Joseph Byck attempted to hijack a plane he intended to fly into the White House to kill Richard Nixon - possibly the first time an airliner was to be used as a flying bomb in a terrorist attack. Sam Bicke is a lonely, ineffectual incompetent who feels wronged by his family, friends, employers and the world in general, though his problems are largely of his own making and his petulant refusal to compromise what he sees as his 'values'. Thus he loses his job rather than 'lie' to customers about prices, while at the same time he continuously deceives his friends, and steals from his friend and his brother. Elaborate plans for success founder on equally avoidable issues. As his world falls apart, he fantasizes Richard Nixon (then under the shadow of Watergate and soon to leave office) as his ultimate enemy, and Leonard Bernstein (to whom he dictates endless self-exculpatory audio letters) as his only friend and equal...

Writers: Niels Mueller, Kevin Kennedy

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 - Joey Simmons

Taglines: The mad story of a true man.


Official Website: Metrodome [uk] | Metrodome [uk] teaser website |

Release Date: 22 October 2004

Filming Locations: Alameda, California, USA

Opening Weekend: $37,547 (USA) (2 January 2005) (5 Screens)

Gross: $697,759 (USA) (27 February 2005)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

This was originally conceived as a fictitious story but, whilst doing research, the writers discovered something very similar had occurred, so decided to let that influence their script.

Factual errors: Julius Bicke is shown wearing a wedding ring. He is a fervently Orthodox Jew, and such Orthodox males do not wear wedding rings as a matter of religious principle.

Samuel Bicke: Slavery never really ended in this country. It just gave it another name... Em-plo-yee.

User Review


Rating: 10/10

I was lucky enough to find myself at a small screening of this picture and having no expectations, was blown away by what I saw. I felt a knot growing in my chest with every passing minute and it didn't let go until the credits rolled, when I had to take a couple deep breaths and heard the girl next to me doing the same.

What first struck me was the fragility Penn brings to his character. He's a man I'm used to seeing as well, a man's man, and to see him timid and frustrated, swallowing so much emotion in ever bigger was remarkable to watch, his performance a credit to director Niels Mueller as well. Penn deserves another award, Noami Watts and Don Cheadle are also excellent, and Michael Wincott, as Penn's brother, makes his one scene memorable.

Niels and Kevin Kennedy have done a truly masterful job with the script, bringing unique voices and characters to life such as I rarely see on screen. Neils certainly doesn't look like a first timer behind the camera. Much of his framing feels emotionally

claustrophobic, while a few hand-held sequences made me think I was an unwilling, unwitting voyeur.

All in all this is a delicately crafted yet weighty and powerful film. I believe it gets released soon in New York and LA, but as Penn's Sam Bicke character might say "The system is unfair and everyone has a right to see this movie" so email ThinkFilm and tell them you want it in your city, too. Kudos to ThinkFIlm for getting behind this movie, they have another festival favorite of mine, "Kontroll" coming out in the spring.

I take my hat off to these filmmakers for their outstanding work.