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Although undated key art included in the file on the film at the AMPAS Library listed it as "A Genesis Films Presentation," that company was not listed in any other source. While the Hollywood Reporter, Box Office and New York Times reviews in July and August 1972 listed the film's rating as G, the October 20, 1972 Los Angeles Times review listed a PG rating, which is the same as that listed on the MPAA website. Richard marked the only feature film for Bertrand Castelli, executive producer of the Broadway production of Hair. Co-writer and co-director Lorees Yerby was Castelli's wife. Some sources list Castelli as co-songwriter along with Galt MacDermot, while others list MacDermot and Nelson Lyon.
Richard mixes film clips and black-and-white newsreel footage of President Richard M. Nixon (1913-1994) into its otherwise fictional, satiric story. According to contemporary reviews, on occasion during the film, the actors ask a question of the fictional Nixon and are "answered" via edited footage of the real man. The film also utilizes parodies of various film genres. The president is played in the film by Nixon impersonator Richard M. Dixon.
The film was shot on location in New York. Although an August 1972 Variety article stated that Castelli was distributing the film personally, several distribution companies are listed in contemporary sources. Most critics referred to the 1971 film A Clockwork Orange as the inspiration for the sequence in which "Richard" is brainwashed. That sequence includes Nixon's famed "Checkers" speech, which most reviews cited as being more humorous than anything created for the film. In addition, many sources mentioned the 1971 Nixon documentary Millhouse as a less successful, equally critical portrait of the then current president.