With a standout performance by James Woods, Rudy: The Rudolph Giuliani Story
is a warts-and-all portrait of New York City's lame-duck mayor, who rose from political disfavor to unexpected heights of heroism and leadership in the wake of September 11, 2001. Originally broadcast on the USA Network and based on Wayne Barrett's muckraking biography, it's a condensed, Cliff's Notes rendition of Giuliani's political career, with each commercial break serving as a chapter stop, beginning on the eve of 9/11 and alternating past and present highlights from Giuliani's rise to power. The film offers an unflinching portrait of a devoted public servant who's as fallible as he is competent: his wife (Penelope Ann Miller) understandably suffers while extramarital affairs and political fearlessness are all seen as byproducts of Giuliani's compulsion to improve the city he loves. As Robert Dornhelm's clunky direction combines actual news footage with exacting recreations of 9/11 and its aftermath, Woods's charismatic performance wisely avoids mimicry to show us a flawed but noble man who, in the final analysis, deserves our conditional respect. --Jeff Shannon
When two hijacked planes crashed into New York's World Trade Center, one man rose to save the city. To his political opponents, Mayor Rudy Giuliani (James Woods) was a bully and a tyrant. To women, he was irresistible, but couldn't be faithful. Yet, on 9/11, he became an American hero. This is the inside story of the man who held a terrified city - and a shaken nation - together with sheer guts and heart as the skies rained fire on its citizens.
From his days as a tenacious D.A. to the mistresses who put him in the headlines, see how the events of his complicated life all led to one moment of extraordinary courage. Scandal may have rocked his personal life, ego may have dominated his professional life - but when it really mattered, Rudy stood tall even as the Twin Towers crumbled.
(c) 2003 Hamdon Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.
DVD Special Features: Bonus Documentary - The Day the Towers Fell Produced for The History Channel by Lou Reda Productions, West Easton, Pennsylvania (approx. 61 mins. col.), Rudolph Giuliani Timeline, Biographies, Selected Filmographies, Interactive Menus and Scene Selection.