Born Again (film)
|Directed by||Irving Rapper|
|Produced by||Frank Capra Jr.|
|Written by||Walter Bloch|
|Based on||Born Again book by Charles W. Colson|
|Music by||Les Baxter|
|Cinematography||Harry Stradling Jr.|
|Edited by||Axel Hubert Sr.|
|Distributed by||Avco Embassy Pictures|
Born Again is a 1978 American biographical film depicting the involvement of Charles W. Colson in the Watergate scandal, his subsequent conversion to Christianity, and his prison term stemming from Watergate. It starred Dean Jones as Colson, Anne Francis as his wife, Dana Andrews as Tom Phillips, Harry Spillman as President Nixon, former Senator Harold Hughes as himself, and George Brent in his final film. The director was old Hollywood classic filmmaker Irving Rapper, and the film was released by Avco Embassy Pictures. The cinematography was by Harry Stradling Jr.
As President Richard Nixon's Special Counsel, Colson had his own office in the White House, power and prestige. After Watergate he had a prison record… and a strong faith. Colson, played by Dean Jones, pleads guilty to Watergate-related charges and is sent to prison. The experience leaves him radically changed, and he decides to establish Prison Fellowship – a ministry that now reaches around the world.
- Dean Jones - Charles W. Colson
- Anne Francis - Patty Colson
- Jay Robinson - David Shapiro
- Dana Andrews - Tom Phillips
- Raymond St. Jacques - Jimmy Newsom
- George Brent - Judge Gerhard Gesell
- Harold Hughes - Himself
- Billy Graham - Himself
- Harry Spillman - President Richard M. Nixon
- Scott Walker - Scanlon
- Robert Gray - Paul Kramer
- Arthur Roberts - Al Quie
- Ned Wilson - Douglas Coe
- Dean Brooks - Dick Howard
- Christopher Conrad - Christian 'Chris' Colson
- Peter Jurasik - Henry Kissinger
- Stuart Lee - Wendell Colson
- Richard Caine - H.R. Haldeman
- Brigid O'Brien - Holly Holm
- Robert Broyles - John Erlichman
- Anthony Canne - Burkhardt
- Corinne Michaels - Raquel Ramirez
Born Again was filmed from December 14, 1977 to February 8, 1978 at the following locations in Washington, D.C.: the Capitol Building, the White House, the Executive Office Building, the Justice Department, the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, St. John's Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square and the Watergate complex.
On location exteriors filmed in California included the following: the Los Angeles County Superior Court stood in for Judge Gesell's Washington courtroom and the Chino penitentiary known officially as the California Institution for Men doubled as the federal prison camp on Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, where Colson served his sentence. Soundstage interiors filmed at The Burbank Studios in Burbank, California included replicas of the offices for H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman and Colson, to which Colson donated several items.
At the time, Born Again had the highest budget for any religious film and was the first to be released by a major distributor.
The world premiere of Born Again was held at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. on September 24, 1978; in attendance at the premiere were Charles Colson, actors Dean Jones and Jay Robinson, associate producer Paul Temple and former senator Harold Hughes.
Two hundred prints of the film were released over a series of two-week periods in three successive regional waves:
- September 29 and October 6, 1978: Washington, D.C.; Chicago, Illinois; Dallas, Texas; Seattle, Washington; Cincinnati, Ohio; Portland, Oregon; and Atlanta, Georgia.
- November 3 to December 10, 1978: Charlotte, North Carolina; Los Angeles, California; Denver, Colorado; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
- Christmas and New Year's 1978-79: Minneapolis, Minnesota; Des Moines, Iowa; Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida; Indianapolis, Indiana; and New Orleans, Louisiana.
The film's producers partnered with a religious public relations expert to promote the film in the Christian community nationwide. The outreach campaign included premieres to benefit Colson’s charity, Prison Fellowship.
Jones's performance was well received.
From the TV Guide review: "In Born Again Colson (played by Jones) realizes the error of his ways and is born again. His faith sustains him through his prison term. In this sympathetic script Colson emerges as an innocent who is drawn into the devious machinations of Washington without his actually engaging in anything untoward."