All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…
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…
This movie is awesome. It treats its leads, two reporters, like superheroes. They are the only ones up to this task. I was reminded of Spotlight and Zodiac a few times while watching this and can see how much this film influenced those.
I'm literally only going to use this review space to talk about how much I love Charles Robert Redford Jr. and his beautiful sea of windswept blonde hair.
I mean yeah, this movie is good, but ROBERT.
woodstein is my new OTP.
Taught, dark moods underpin killer performances of restraint and duty. Left greatly unsettled watching this at night alone, and the oppressive clanking of the typewriter serves well to beat those nasty Gaters into submission.
I feel like deep down I would absolutely love this movie but unfortunately I became too confused as it went on. Of course, that was the case with Zodiac too but now it's one of my favourites. So maybe I'll have to come back to this someday and pay more attention. It is excellently made however.
A star studded cast in this thriller.
Redford and Hoffman as Woodward and Bernstein are excellent.
For an investigative movie, where little really happens, the intensity and paranoia is ramped up to pretty good levels.
This is one of my only exposures to the Watergate scandal.
Jack Warden, Martin Balsam, Hal Holbrook, Stephen Collins, Ned Beatty, Meredith Baxter, Robert Walden are a few of the stars.
Jason Robards gives a phenomenal performance as the Editor of the Post.
I almost blinked and missed F. Murray Abraham as one fo the arresting cops at the beginning of the movie but his profile and voice are distinct.
After seeing Spotlight last year, I had to watch the original journalism thriller. And I was not disappointed. Journalism is tough work. It's not glamorous. But it's important. Redford and Hoffman as Woodward and Bernstein are both excellent. The story unfolds in such a way that keeps the audience on edge throughout. The nitty gritty of the politics behind the Watergate scandal is fascinating. I also love where it ends, right at the beginning of the uncovering of the truth, not hashing it all out. I didn't realize it would end so abruptly, but it leaves a lot to typewritten postscript. It perhaps shows the scope of the investigation and the amount of effort and dedication that the Washington Post put into this investigation. Solidly acted, interesting and important.
Excellently acted all around and brilliantly paced. Very invigorating to watch Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford go head-to-head, arm in arm. The direction of the film was a little too clinical in my view but perhaps that's for the best considering the subject matter the film deals with. Good movie that I hope will get better on subsequent viewings.
Them RGB colors and dual focus shots, tho. Thoroughly entertaining look at the journalistic side of the Watergate scandal.
This is what happens when your car breaks down on a Sunday morning and you have nothing else to do…
my favorite voices, inspired by andi