Directed by: Frances Morton
Running Time: 53:00
In 1978 Richard Nixon chose this small mountain jurisdiction for his first public appearance since resigning the Presidency. Priceless footage of his visit introduces this incisive and sometimes hilarious look at the engines that drive American politics. The film explores the machinations of party politics in this rural and staunchly Republican county: Hollow to hollow vote-hunting; family squabbles over candidates; patronage promises; speech-making on the courthouse steps; and the up-and- down career of the incumbent County Judge-Executive who sought re-election while under indictment for vote fraud conspiracy.
"Powerfully telling...thoroughly engrossing...a microcosm of U.S. political tactics--both legal and illicit." -Booklist
"An excellent addition for political science courses in high school or college." -Library Journal
"A fascinating and useful study of machine politics." -Dwight Billings, Department of Sociology, University of Kentucky
"The Big Lever is compelling political drama. A skillful presentation." -Noah Adams, host of National Public Radio’s "All Things Considered"
"Authentic down-home Americana and thoroughly entertaining." -Variety
"The best comment I have ever seen on Watergate. It explains how deeply corruption is engrained in the political life of America. A terrifyingly real film." -Irby Brown, Professor of English and Film, University of Richmond
Screenings & Festivals
American Film Festival--Finalist
Ann Arbor Film Festival--Award Winner
Athens International Film Festival--Golden Athena
Film Festival Rotterdam
Houston International Film Festival--Gold Award
San Francisco International Film Festival--Honorable Mention