there's a thing where you adds 'in my ass' to the end of a movie title, so here are some…
All the President's Men
At times it looked like it might cost them their jobs, their reputations, and maybe even their lives.
In the run-up to the 1972 elections, Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward covers what seems to be a minor break-in at the Democratic Party National headquarters. He is surprised to find top lawyers already on the defense case, and the discovery of names and addresses of Republican fund organizers on the accused further arouses his suspicions. The editor of the Post is prepared to run with the story and assigns Woodward and Carl Bernstein to it. They find the trail leading higher and higher in the Republican Party, and eventually into the White House itself.
All the President's Men is primarily a staggering display of a perfectly paranoid craftsman. Alan J. Pakula pulls tensity and fascinations out from an otherwise excruciating process - investigative journalism. He observes facts, meticulous dates, times and names, closer than facile characters or broadly stroked stakes. Yet so closely watched is each victory, processed step and intensity of two men's integrity in the face of uncovering a web of mystery that it is impossible to turn away. As each aspect of a seemingly simple burglary piece thickens into political intrigue, it's purely gripping.
The murky, shadowy and paranoid city scapes of Washington brighten the meticulous details of mapping out a potential giant-ranged political corruption case. Most will know the outcome,…
Allow me a moment of nerdery.
Back in the days when Empire magazine was good and I used to buy it, I used to pretty often snip bits out of their magazines and stick them on my wall. Usually they were just ads for films or maybe the occasional picture of Julia Ormond, Cameron Diaz or Winona Ryder. But sometimes I would snip out their Classic Scene section.
This was basically just the screenplay version of a classic scene from a great movie from years gone by. One of the ones I took out was a scene from All The President's Men, a film I had only just seen and loved a few months before. It was this scene:-
This is perhaps one of the best procedural films ever made and what I respect about it is that it approaches its subject matter without frills and added fictional distractors to spice up the story. It sticks to the task at hand and, much like the journalists featuring in the story, it is intent on presenting the account as close to the truth as possible.
Alan J. Pakula seems to understand one thing very well here and that is that if you want to tell a story as intricate as this one, you have to make sure that the audience will listen to those telling it. He does that brilliantly by allowing for a lot of dialogue, not forcing himself…
One thread that stood out on this watch: A quiet but brutal critique of television to rival the far louder satire of Network, which was released the same year. The film repeatedly shows televisions, mostly around the Washington Post newsroom, presenting a counterfactual narrative of the Nixon administration that stands in complete opposition to the one assembled by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. While they search for the facts, the Post TVs mostly regurgitate the Nixon party line and publicize their “non-denial denials” of the latest Post story, propagating an illusion of a moral, lawful President unfairly attacked by a politically motivated newspaper and its agenda-driven journalists. TV obscures the truth while newspapers expose it, an idea neatly encapsulated in the final scene where Nixon is inaugurated on television in the foreground, while Woodward and Bernstein pound away on their typewriters in the background.
Amazing what you can get away with when the subject is so recent and momentous that a general audience can be trusted to respond to minutiae. Zodiac actually seems concise by comparison (it also has a killer to cut away to for a while, whereas this is 100% investigation after the break-in), and Pakula continually makes choices that would be considered daft in almost any other Hollywood context: introducing his protagonists with zero fanfare, as if they were bit players; training the camera on notes and doodles in order to foreground a slow accumulation of bewildering detail; letting actors shout at each other over the sound of an airplane passing overhead, when neither the plane nor the shouting has…
I remember, during waning of the nineteen sixties, and the waxing of the seventies, that my American Aunt and Uncle, Republicans both, would refer to their leader as ‘Tricky Dick’.
Aside from my Aunt and Uncle, news of the Watergate scandal flowed across the border to my teenage self via Walter Cronkite, Harry Reasoner, and John Chancellor. While I wasn’t glued to the TV, it somehow was an interesting soap opera taking place south of the border. Like any news story, I expected it to die down … but it didn’t. I remember being shocked at how, at the endgame, it moved so quickly, and that Nixon resigned.
Despite seeing the real story unfold in real-time on TV, I remember…
Every time I see All the President's Men, and I have seen it many times since I first watched it with my parents when I was very young, I come away with a little more. The acting is brilliant. The tone is brilliant. Dustin Hoffman is amazing. Jason Robards is A-MAZ-ING. I might go watch it again right now.
Hello hi yes Mr. Tarantino this is how you do those shots.
Extra half star for the greatest long take I've seen in ages (and I saw Werckmeister Harmonies last year!).
this came out when i was a senior in high school although it has aged far better than myself
watched this as a part of my seminar in media & politics. pretty good movie. felt a whole lot like a detective sort of ordeal. this better get me a good grade
All The President's Men is a film that accurately documents the journalists who broke the Watergate scandal. Performaces are fantastic across the board from Redford to Hoffman. The direction with its medium shots puts the audience right into the film as if we were witnessing the events happen as they unfold. The script is fantastic in terms of dialogue and plot threads that cross wonderfully, but it lacks a certain storytelling aspect. This is a perfect account of the events so it lacks a little movieish drama and style. It name drops and jumps from point to point very quickly to stick to the formula of facts. This works in terms of describing the events but it brings the audience…
Meticulously crafted, I admit, despite the fact I really do not — and I am ashamed to say so — know enough about the whole Watergate scandal to experience the impact of those events though this film. Not being able to withstand the five-minute nap that befell me towards its end did not exactly help to advance my simple recognition of the quality presented to a sincere impression. Still very admirable.
A brilliant and outstanding movie investigating the Watergate scandal. Excellent acting and a great screenplay makes this film interesting for all fans of US history. A great drama/mystery flick from start to finish. 8/10
Always a slut for government conspiracies
A highly involving procedural drama about investigative journalism in the context of the Watergate scandal. Can typing be suspenseful? It turns out it can.
Redford and Hoffman are both really good here, especially Redford, who brings a smart earnestness to the role. Jason Robards is also excellent as the newspaper editor.
I sort of wish the film had been longer, because I felt that it still had a lot of story in it. But I guess it was already pretty long.
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