Best truth-is-stranger- than-fiction film "The Best Man." Released during 1964, the LBJ-Goldwater election year, Gore Vidal's savvy adaptation of his hit Broadway play pits Henry Fonda as the idealistic Democratic presidential nominee against Cliff Robertson's ultraconservative Republican candidate. The Republican likes to play dirty, especially when he begins to exploit the fact that Fonda has a history of mental illness. The film foreshadowed the George McGovern- Richard Nixon race eight years later, when mental illness played a pivotal role. McGovern's initial running mate, Sen. Thomas Eagleton, bowed out of the race when it came to light that he had received electric shock treatment and psychiatric care.
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