Top 365 Films – #137 – All The Presidents Men (1976)


Top 365 Films - All The Presidents MenDIRECTED BY: Alan J. Pakula

STARRING: Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam, Hal Holbrook, Jason Robards, Jane Alexander, Meredith Baxter, Ned Beatty, Penny Fuller, Penny Peyser, Lindsay Crouse, Robert Walden, F. Murray Abraham, David Arkin, Richard Herd, Henry Calvert, Dominic Chianese, Ron Hale, Nate Esformes, Nicolas Coster, Joshua Shelley, Ralph Williams, Gene Lindsey, John McMartin, Frank Wills, Christopher Murray, Allyn Ann McLerie, Jess Osuna, Polly Holliday, Carol Trost, James Karen, Basil Hoffman, Stanley Bennett, John McMartin, John Devlin, Paul Lambert, Richard Venture, John Furlong and Valerie Curtin

BUDGET: $8.5m

EARNED (Worldwide): $70.6m

AWARDS: 4 Oscars (Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art/Set Direction and Best Sound)

 

SYNOPSIS

Reporters Woodward and Bernstein uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that leads to President Nixon’s resignation.

 

In the lead up to the 1972 elections, a reporter from the Washington Post named Bob Woodward is sent to cover what seems to be a minor break-in at the Democratic Party National headquarters, though is taken aback when he arrives to learn that top lawyers are already called in case for the defence. As he discovers that the accused had names and addresses of Republican funs organisers on them, the editor of the Post assigns Woodward and Carl Bernstein on the story, with the trail leading them on a path where it leads higher than imagined.

 

All The President’s Men is a well crafted and articulate film, with the screenplay based on the book of the same name by the two journalists covering the Watergate Scandal for The Washington Post, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. The film, for me, managed to focus a story on investigative journalist and made it riveting viewing from following the details of names, lucky breaks, denials, false leads and covering the truth, with the final one being the most difficult to achieve. It’s also intriguing that the film doesn’t develop much in the backstories of Woodward or Bernstein, but rather focus on the story and the facts and lies that fall upon them, it’s rather commendable really that Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman are stripped down two these journalism figures and yet feel credible as their respective reporter characters, with their feelings about the case soon become obsessive in regards to uncovering the truth, with Bernstein for example just letting a librarian dig a deeper hole for herself after changing her story over the phone within a few seconds and contradicting herself, Hoffman’s reaction in that moment is great as is Redford’s reaction to talking to someone on the phone and learning who one of the cheques found on the defence was handed to. The supporting cast is just as convincing in their roles as Redford and Hoffman are including Jason Robards as Benjamin Bradlee, the Executive Editor at the Washington Post and in particular Hal Halbrook as ‘Deep Throat’, the mysterious source within the Government that helps Woodward out when he’s stuck on the case. Alan J. Pakula brings to life a shadowy and paranoid capsule of Washington at the time of the scandal and I do wonder how younger film viewers now will appreciate this journalism film classic.

 

 

FAVOURITE SCENE: The introduction that Woodward and Bernstein make towards each other, due to Bernstein taking Woodward’s notes to ‘polish’ it.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: ‘If you’re gonna do it, do it right. If you’re gonna hype it, hype it with the facts. I don’t mind what you did. I mind the way you did it.’ – Bob Woodward 

DID YOU KNOW?: The two lead actors memorized each other’s lines so that they could both interrupt each other in character. This unsettled a lot of the actors they were playing opposite, leading to a greater sense of verisimilitude.

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