Honest Man: The Life of R. Budd Dwyer
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Honest Man: The Life of R. Budd Dwyer

2010, Politics  -   30 Comments
Ratings: 8.16/10 from 87 users.

Across the internet, in university classrooms, and in small American towns like Meadville, the story of R. Budd Dwyer's political downfall and subsequent end is told; still there are many people today who wouldn't know him if asked to look at a picture and identify the man, and likely just as few who know him by name. It is the story of Dywer's very public and statement making suicide, and the fact that it was televised, that transcends.

Honest Man provides a deeper look into the story of former State Rep. and Pennsylvania Treasurer Budd Dwyer, his background, people who knew him in varying capacities, and the so called conspiracy that many who were closest to him, and some who were certainly not, point to as the true reason behind the former politician and family man's decision to end his life. It doesn't matter what your level of familiarity is with the story or the man.

Maybe you were around for and aware of the entire ordeal back in 1987, maybe you'll remember halfway through that his televised death was mentioned in a course you took as an example of where the arguments behind censorship and ethics in the media come from, maybe not, but either way it doesn't take long to get interested once you begin to view the film, and most will likely have a strong emotional reaction to the film.

The one negative in the film, has nothing to do with the shooting, graphics, or anything technical, but arguments made by Dywer's children that cut down the efforts to paint him as a good man, a man of the people who wanted nothing more than to serve his constituents and know that his family held the same values as he did.

Implications by Dwyer's son and daughter that the jury who found him guilty was either too uneducated or too poor (i.e. working jobs insignificant enough to be able to take eight days off to do their civic duty) is a show of their own personal opinions, but it reflects on Dywer of course, because that is who they are there to talk about, and the roughly half an hour that was just used to describe a man whose opinions are not made out to match those of his children is suddenly mired by statements that would strike most people as the type of thing you simply don't say.

Still, this is a message, and piece of American history that should be disused and shared and the director's cut of Honest Man handles the retelling of this story in a powerful way that seeks to supply us with objective facts and subjective accounts from people with some authority on the matter, and never seems to seek to sway the viewer's thoughts one way or the other.

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30 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Matt hayslett

    yeah evidence that convicted him?!!! what evidence, a dirtbag who took a plea deal, copped to a plea deal cuz he was dirty and wanted to Implicate everyone around him cuz he didnt want to go down alone. Budd was a great man, and a honest man. He did believe in the system and that was his only naivety. He was a republican!! Its not hard to see the forest through the trees. Late 80s is when the state of P.A. was first being taken over by moonbats and he was clearly in there way. Whats hilarious is politicians all over this country take bribes and money everyday and This "$300k" Is drop in the bucket compared to what these politicians are reaping. Its called "kickbacks", "lobbying" and "campaigning" Eric swallwell, head of Intelligence, slept with chinese spys , fang-fang, brought more spies In our country and has taken over 10 million dollars from the Chinese In "campaign" money. Yet hes living high on the hog. Maxine waters, salary was around $110,000, yet shes worth millions and has 50 million dollar homes and various mansions around the world. Pelosi, same thing, worth millions, owns estates all over the u.s. and beautiful homes around the world. Maura healey, my Attorney general of M.a. just got 3.3 million put into her account, shes going to be governor soon when charlie baker steps down. Yet these people are all living the high life. The list goes on and on and on and the money doesnt add up. How can someone making around $100,000 a year be worth millions and stupidly rich ?! Just honest government civil servant work here nothing to see. Yeah believe everything the news and tv tell you. Sheep. Do your own research before making comments about how he was guilty just because you heard it through the news..

  2. Louis

    this doco is really bad...I mean really bad. Totally one sided, and complete overlooks all the evidence that convicted this man. The main characters are...surprise surprise...Budd Dwyer's family who...surprise surprise...say he was a great guy and innocent. They said the jury were too dumb too know Dwyer was innocent! This pathetic little piece attempts to undermine the justice system....when in Dwyer's case it worked exactly as it should have. Wonder if you all know that because of this "innocent" man Dwyer, people lost their houses in Eerie county, and this "innocent man" already had one episode of corruption under his belt when he was a state senator. Use your brains guys, and don't accept this nonsense. This doco is as deceptive as Dwyer was.

  3. Petra I. Hernandez

    One more F grade for the USA. What will it take to change that which needs to be changed? Another honest man, a dear friend of mine, was also found guilty for charges of child molestation when I and his other hundreds of friends, swore on the Bible that he is innocent. Too often, too often. too often, WE THE PEOPLE, who still believe in honesty and jobs well done are victims of a system which is up side down. What wil it take to change that which needs to be changed? RIP and PEACE for family and friends and for WE THE PEOPLE!

  4. jase

    this is a pathetic "documentary". they skim over all the evidence, conveniently leaving out the parts which show Dwyer was no doubt guilty.
    Dwyer was greedy and he got caught. And no amount of talking to his family and buddies can ever change that. Even Dwyer's own lawyer knew he was guilty and repeatedly asked Dwyer to admit to his crimes. But Dwyer couldn't accept it, and his public image was so important to him. So then he goes and blames everyone but himself and commits suicide in public like the self-absorbed and selfish man he was.

    1. Matthew

      What a disgusting comment. Jase is a pleb, do not listen to him. He blames the documentary for skimming over the evidence, and then conveniently does the same thing. Typical of his ilk. Anyone reading this - research for yourself. Don't believe the pro-fascist Hillary voters like Jase. The only reason Budd was found guilty was because a felon, taking a plea deal in another case, testified Budd took a bribe from - Budd being one of many. Let that sink in. Further more, Budd never accepted a bribe. The guilty verdict was that he verbally accepted a bribe that he later declined to take. FIFTY FIVE YEAR SENTENCE.

      He took his life so his wife and kids would have his pension, which was 1.3 million dollars. Had he resigned or been removed from office, which was happening later that evening, he'd be in prison FIFTY FIVE years and his wife and children would have nothing.

      FYI, just about every Democrat and half the Republicans in Congress and the Senate are guilty of this same crime - but they play for the right team.

    2. Louis

      100% true. Dwyer was guilty.

  5. frankie

    If you believe what a man tells as truth after he admits to offering a bribe to a politician your a fool and budd had access to millions of dollars that he could have taken from and more than likely have the know how to not get caught so why would anyone decide to take part in a bribery that involved other people knowing. He was targeted because he did his job as expected by the tax payers and certain officials of government were unhappy because they were using tax payers money for their own personal use which budd publicly spoke off and I take my hat of to mr. Dywer for doing so

  6. mike m

    lotta people get worse breaks and dont blow their head off
    nor do they all put on bombs and go in a crowd
    mental illness
    thats what the war should be against

  7. Shannon

    This man committed NO crime. And it's a horrible injustice that his family will never get the
    "closure" of his being exonerated. That could only occur if the "justice(oxymoron)system" admitted to its OWN corruption. We live in country where we convict people and ruin their lives without questioning the system. We (our government) murder, torture, gas-light and lie innocent people on a daily basis....yet we spend so much tax payers money on going after "terrorists". Wake up people....until everyone has the balls to back up our belief systems and moral code....as this man did...we will continue to live in this American Delusion. His suicide was simply a weak moment for a proud man. Being proud isn't the same thing as being arrogant. Only an arrogant person would believe that it was.

  8. Deegee

    @Anna - the liar that was exposed. Many people commit suicide when their ill deeds come out and there is no way to cover them up or smooth them over again. Some people compartmentalize things so they can think of themselves as decent people, but when worlds collide and the compartments fall apart, the cognitive dissonance becomes too much and they cannot deal with the reality of who they are, rather than how they like to think of themselves. And at the point, you can have a suicide happen.

  9. chris

    Seems like a lot of fluff to me. What inocent person kills themselves to prove a point. Seems like an arrogant self adsorbed person to me.

    1. Anna

      I rather think what liar would go to this length to support a lie? That to me seems much less probable.

  10. Cille in Norway

    This is a rosy whitewash poor-man-who-got-tricked-into-bribery tale, complete with sad acoustic guitar and piano, completely onesided and not worthy of being called a documentary. I sat through the whole thing waiting for at least one mention of an opposite view on this "Honest Man", but it never came. I'm disgusted at this 'product', which is all it is.

  11. ZamaZalotta

    I'm not OK with the fact that the honest man in this story said "...i would, that sounds pretty good to me" about a 300K contribution provided that someone gets a million dollar contract.

    But then again you can blame the jury for being high-school graduates, that sounds like a valid argument...

  12. Carl Berke

    Clearly you cannot comprehend the question that I raised. It seems that they raise the same dolts in England. There is no positive in this story. One can ask why its called a story about an honest man when he just as clearly accepts the idea of the bribe! White wash and hogwash.

  13. Carl Berke

    blu paws seems to be fawning . Watching some other video? Certainly unresponsive to the question and merely looking for dreadful irrelevant saccharine remarks.

  14. blu paws

    rip, what lovely kids you have, I am 32 from the uk, found this very sad, seemed a most decent father and person, liked tge fact he drove five hours to see daughter play

  15. Carl Berke

    Dwyer's guilt is extremely glossed in this film. When Smith tells Dwyer that Torquato wants to give him $300,00 there is a positive reaction quickly heard and never revisited. Torquato was and is a crook. Dwyer would have protected himself by revealing the offer at once.

    1. blu paws

      Positive reaction?..

    2. Kansas Devil

      A positive reaction as in a friendly "sure" but in reality jokingly.
      Depending on the state of the mind, one may think it a serious response.

    3. DDDDDuane

      Entrapment...ALL MEN are greedy and susceptible to vicious evil entrapment....I remember when they did this to John Delorean in the 80's...His car company was going under and they set him up to carry drugs...He was desperate, they knew he was...and he took the bait out of desperation to save his company....
      This is "law enforcements" job....Just last week the "terrorist" they caught in Cleveland was a 20 YO dumb lonely social outcast who they GAVE the money to buy the guns he supposedly going to use in the "terrorist assault"....
      It's incredible how SC U M B AGS will actually do this to other people who are of NO HARM....

  16. DDDDDuane

    I knew who this guy was immediately from his photo from the "Faces of Death" film...He looked like an honest great guy who was railroaded into ruin by psychopaths...I didn't watch this yet but from the description his kids sound like
    s c umb ags....

    1. blu paws

      Mabye dont comment until you have least watched it, ignorance at it's finest

    2. Kansas Devil

      Not psychopaths, sociopaths. Most corrupt people are sociopaths.

    3. DDDDDuane

      A psychopath and sociopath are the same exact thing (watch...this m*ron is going to give me an argument...)...Psychopaths gravitate towards jobs like politics, police...Could anyone who wasn't a psychopath projectile vomit what you heard last week at the "state of the union" address? And the other psychos who want it's job applaud all the 5hit that it vomits.,... EVERYTHING that comes out of that trashes mouth (and every other one of them) is a load of total 5hit....

  17. Filter

    Now you know where the song comes from.

  18. Filter

    Hey man, nice shot.

  19. dmxi

    Weird thing is I got my attention about this man via the band 'GWAR'... but still, he was acting out the symptoms of a corrupt and dying system... heartbreaking watch due to Dwyer's belief of the righteousness in a misused constitution!

    - broken but not corrupted... rip Dwyer, true courage always comes with great loss - suicide... the most sweetest of solutions in dire need!

  20. Mike

    Bud was a Honest human being and did not realize how corrupt the political machine was. When you tamper with the machine of politics to make a positive change, anything can come your way. There were many before Bud and there will be more to fall after Him. The federal side has many more skeletons in their closet than ever could be imagined. The two party system is nothing more than one big soap opera controlled by a few behind the curtains, taking the country and the people down their yellow brick road.


    1. ~Oliver B Koslik Esq

      I believe that the seeds of corruption are sown into our linguistic "flexibilities". As well the religious "sanctity" that prohibits pursuit of such issues.

      Although dealing with an intrinsically corrupt machine made so, by a fundamentally morally corrupted society. Is not an unfixable problem.

      The resolution comes from educating future generations on personality disorders that have moral and empathetic deficits/deficiencies.

      More importantly having strict mental health screening routines designed to prevent police officers/politicians from gaining power.

      +1 Budd!
      (Now thats white collar martyrdom!)