Release dateJanuary 10, 1982 (1982-01-10) (U.S.) WriterFrank Abatemarco, G. Gordon Liddy (book)
Will: G. Gordon Liddy is an American television film which first aired on NBC in January 1982. The film depicts the rise and fall of Watergate co-conspirator G. Gordon Liddy. Liddy was portrayed by two different actors: American actor Robert Conrad played Liddy as an adult and child-actor Danny Lloyd portrayed him in his youth. Other figures associated with the Watergate scandal and portrayed in this film include Jeb Magruder and John Dean. The movie was directed by Robert Lieberman and was based on Liddy's 1980 autobiography.
The film follows the rise and fall of convicted Watergate conspirator G. Gordon Liddy. Robert Conrad is cast as the adult Liddy, who is sentenced to 20 years in prison. The film follows the hero through the four and half years he spent behind bars. While in prison, the film portrays Liddy as capable and able to match up to any man in the prison. The film includes several famous details from Liddy's 1980 autobiography including the legendary "hand held over the burning flame," and Liddy's oath, "I will kill for you, Mr. President."
The movie was based on Liddy's 1980 bestselling autobiography, Will: The Autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy, and directed by Robert Lieberman. Courtroom scenes for the movie were shot in Illinois, at the 1905 DeKalb County Courthouse. The film was a personal project of lead actor Robert Conrad; his daughter was billed as executive producer.
John Byner as voice of Richard Nixon.
Robert Conrad as G. Gordon Liddy.
Katherine Cannon as Fran Liddy.
Gary Bayer as Jeb Magruder.
Danny Lloyd as young G. Gordon Liddy. Lloyd's first and only other role was in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining as Danny Torrance. His role as the young G. Gordon Liddy would be his last.
Peter Ratray as John Dean.
James Rebhorn as Peter Maroulis.
Red West as Kaworski. West was a frequent actor in Conrad's films, in Will he played a tough prison guard.
Maurice Woods as Copperhead.
The made-for-television film debuted in the United States on NBC on January 10, 1982. Copies of the film are held in the Nixon Presidential Materials collection of the U.S. National Archives.
Will was the subject of a review by John O'Connor of The New York Times. While O'Connor praised Lieberman, screenwriter Frank Abatemarco and Conrad, he questioned the overall purpose of the film. He rebuked Liddy, stating, "What purpose is ultimately served? The basic criterion seems to be that it sells, enabling various companies and individuals, including Mr. Liddy, to make some money" and comparing it with a CBS television movie about Charles Manson and the Manson Family murders. Noting that the source for the film was an autobiography, he went on to pan the producers as "ambivalent" toward the film's subject. O'Connor concluded his review by noting the film's attempt to gloss over the darker parts of Liddy's history: "After a while, it gets increasingly difficult to remember that this law-and-order fanatic is not beyond putting himself above the law, that he seems to exist in a world of absurd macho fantasy (his book refers to 'my best Effrem Zimbalist Jr. (sic) manner' or 'I gave him Broderick Crawford in Highway Patrol'), and that his basic social and political instincts are fascistic."
In the September/October 2004 issue of Washington Free Press Dr. John Ruhland included the film on a list of "Rad Videos" summarized as "Dirty Politics in the United States." He called the film a "campy and terribly acted account of the Watergate break-in." He noted the film's value as a tool for giving a view into the workings of the United States government.