The Day Reagan Was Shot

Year: 2001
Directed By: Cyrus Nowrasteh
Written By: Cyrus Nowrasteh

No Trailer Available


What I have never really understood about this movie is why it is a made for TV movie.  This is a fascinating story that deserved to be broadcast on a larger scale.  Everything from the totally psychotic killer to the behind the scenes problems to the fact that the president survived at all make this story more than interesting. I am a student of history so naturally I really enjoy this movie but I think it is a story we can all relate to.  This film was made on a limited budget with limited resources but made the most with what it had.  Oliver Stone served as an Executive Producer on the film. It was his role in the film that was what initially got my attention.  I think I saw it for five dollars at Wal-Mart and I bought without even having seen it.  I take chances like that occasionally and I am happy to say this time it worked out well.

John Hinckley Jr. shot the president in an attempt to get the attention of actress Jodie Foster.  Writers can’t even come up with things that crazy because no one would believe it. It’s crazy enough that this kind of nut job was even allowed close enough to the president to shoot him, but that he was successful was just pure insanity.  Hinckley is a good example of why the insane are not to be fooled with but to be taken seriously. He is also a good example of how our government’s inability to communicate efficiently has led to problems in the past, before 9/11. I don’t know specifically whether or not this film stays true to history, but I do know many of these things did in fact happen on the day that Ronald Reagan was shot. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if this “Dr. Strangelove scenario did in fact take place in a command center at the behest of Alexander Haig and other high-ranking military men.

I said it was surprising and interesting that Reagan survived the shooting for a number or reasons.  His age being the number one reason, and the actual wound being another.  The bullet narrowly missed his heart.  Another reason being the long-standing presidential death curse. There is an alleged ancient indian curse that has correlated with the deaths of U.S. presidents elected on years ending in 0. It began with William Henry Harrison, who was elected in 1840 at the age of 68.  Years earlier Harrison led a troop of soldiers that killed some indians, and it has been suggested that one of them cursed him.  Harrison is the 68-year-old president who wouldn’t wear a jacket during a downpour when giving a particularly long inauguration speech.  He died of pneumonia a month after taking office.  Abraham Lincoln, elected in 1860, was assassinated in 1865. James A. Garfield, elected in 1880, was shot in the back and died during surgery in 1881.  William McKinley was re-elected in 1900 and assassinated in 1901.  Warren G. Harding, elected in 1920 suddenly died in 1923. He was a notorious philanderer and it was rumored that his wife poisoned him. FDR, who was elected to his third term in 1940 died shortly after winning election for his fourth term in 1945.  JFK was elected in 1960 and then assassinated in 1963. I do not actually believe in curses but nevertheless it is an interesting coincidence found in history.  It stopped with Reagan though, who managed at his age to survive the assassination attempt by Hinckley. These kinds of coincidences can be found all throughout history, we live in a world where unusual things happen naturally all the time.

This movie does tell a very interesting story and tells it well.  The movie sports a good cast for its limited budget including Richard Dreyfuss, Richard Crenna, Colm Feore, and Michael Murphy. I think this movie is more than worth your time.  This will probably be a lost movie in the years to come, a made for tv film that everyone forgets about.  I couldn’t even find a trailer to post on YouTube.  That’s unfortunate, because it is a good movie.


I love Ryan; I love everything about him. Even his extreme nerdiness. When we started watching this movie, he told me to please pay attention because this movie was actually, incredibly interesting. I think I made it 20 minutes into the movie before I fell asleep. Then I woke up and tried to watch the rest and although I didn’t fall asleep again, I really wanted to. Ryan finds films like these interesting because he has a degree in history. And although I find historical events interesting, I have a hard time paying attention and thoroughly enjoying boring films about history. Ryan thinks all history is like a story, and while I think it’s amazing that he likes stuff like that and can look at it like that, I just want to know about it and move on.

If you find you are like Ryan and usually like movies about history, then go for and watch this movie. It is a made for tv movie by the way. But, if you are like me and just don’t see the interest, then skip this one over.

NEXT MOVIE: The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)

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