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Plot: 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. Runtime: 138 mins Release Date: 08 Apr 1976
If you were to imagine yourself as a newspaper journalist, one of the best conspiracies you could ever find yourself stumbling upon would undoubtedly be the infamous Watergate Scandal. And reporters Bob Woodward Robert Redford and Carl Bernstein Dustin Hoffman were the two men who found themselves head-above-water in an elaborate cover-up that went all the way up the chain of command to the United States President himself.On June 17th, 1972, Watergate hotel security guard Frank Wills spotted a possible break-in at the Democratic Party's National Committee. Some apparent CIA agents <more>
were arrested for breaking and entering, and later held at a trial, where Bob Woodward first found out that they were more than mere intruders. They worked for the government.After researching into the matter, Woodward soon realized that one of the intruders had the name of a political figure scrawled in a notebook located within his shirt pocket. And with the help of Carl Bernstein, a fellow Washington Post reporter and a veteran of the field , Woodward followed the slight tracks, and the two men soon found themselves unearthing a shattering conspiracy that did indeed lead all the way up to President Richard Nixon, the 37th President of the United States of America, himself.Based on Woodward and Bernstein's own memoirs, William Goldman's Oscar-winning script makes for a brilliant subtle mystery; a true-life story as amazingly honest and forthright as it is entertaining and engaging. It would always remain the late Alan J. Pakula's greatest film, and its standing as one of the top films of all time on many various "great movies lists" is certainly merited. It's a shame that both Hoffman and Redford were snubbed by the Academy Awards for their performances here. As Woodward and Bernstein, the two are amazingly convincing and bounce dialogue off of each other with striking clarity and realistic quality. Hoffman, who is top billed, appears in the film less than Redford, but gives just a performance just as amazing. He would gain an Oscar twelve years later for his portrayal of Raymond Babbitt in "Rain Man," his finest performance to date, but his role in "All the President's Men" is of a different caliber. Woodward and Bernstein are two complete opposites, and at first they rub each other the wrong way -- Bernstein, a veteran reporter, takes one of Woodward's articles and starts making revisions. "I don't mind what you did," Woodward says, "I just mind how you did it." Even though it's not anything special, this if my favorite scene in the movie, and perhaps the best example of just how well these two actors are able to bring their characters to life.The movie is a mystery but not in the traditional sense. Almost all of us watching the film already know how the story is going to turn out, but the way it makes its dynamic revelations seem surprising and its story tense and exciting is one of the greatest examples of compelling filmmaking. For the film's opening sequence, in which Woodward and Bernstein's condemning news is written on a typewriter, Pakula used sounds of gunshots to clarify each separate key of the device striking downwards. The 37th President of the United States of America was sentenced to a sort of death with the publishing of that article, and the bold gunshots add an extra depth and meaning to this fact."All the President's Men" has no hidden morals, messages, meanings. It's just a true story about something that happened, brought to life on the big screen by a great director, an influential screenwriter and two of the best actors of all time. No, it's not going to have you thinking after it's over, but if anything, it's the type of movie that will generate a lot of talk instead. And more often than not, that's a good thing.5/5 stars.John Ulmer
We now know that it was the FBI's number two man and J Edger Hoover loyalist W Mark Felt who fingered Nixon!I'd recommend this movie, but with warnings attached to this! Firstly, Redford and Hoffman were at their best during the 1970's and their performances don't disappoint, I'm sure that they also depicted their respected characters Woodward and Bernstein very well too as they both come across as very believable as reporters or at least the stereotype version. The unkept tardy look, untidy apartments, smoking, corduroy trousers, fast food and neck ties hanging down with <more>
unbuttoned collar an shirt you get the picture!Also, For any foreigner who is interested in American political science, there are about six historical events that dominate US history. To most objective historians the declaration of independence, the US civil war and it's aftermath, the 'New Deal', the defeat of the axis powers in WWII, civil rights or even the collapse of the Soviet empire and the Berlin wall would be tops. However to the American baby-boomer generation, it is JFK's assassination, anti-Vietnam war movement, Woodstock, Richard Nixon's forced resignation and Bill Clinton's come from behind win against George Bush in 1992. Therefore 'All the president's men' is a nostalgic trip down memory lane!Although the movie is clearly dated, imagine being a journalist today without a desktop computer, a lap top computer, email, and a cell phone it does entertain and the pacing I think is effective as it portrays the painstaking work required for investigate journalism. Redford and particularly Hoffman are believable as reporters and the movie is supported by some of the finest character actors about at the time. Hal Holbrook and Jason Robards jockey for the third spot honors with Holbrook probably edging it as the mysterious deep throat. He steals the scenes in the garage. I think there are three times he and Woodward meet and they are some of the most compelling scenes of the whole movie. Alan Pakulas style of directing certainly hit the sweet spot here. Although it's well paced and it keeps your attention, the film flounders at various levels because the whole unraveling of events and the various connections between the burglars link to CREEP campaign to reelect the president and their link to members of Nixons inner circle is not clear. Consequently, the movie ends what appears to be in January of 1973 but Nixon resigned 18 months later? They should have jumped forward to that point before the movie finished. The viewer is left completely confused and frustrated. Although having Knowledge of the Watergate break in and the Nixon resignation it's impossible to keep up with what is going on. Names such as Liddy, Hunt, Mitchell, Magruder and Dean are banded about and come up all the time but often you don't know who they are? Some narration would have been very helpful! However, although Woodward and Bernstein deserve credit for keeping the story alive when nobody else was interested but it in reality was the tapes that finally buried Nixon. Once the special prosecutor and the public were able to hear is voice talking about the investigation his presidency was finished, without the tapes he probably would have survived.How much of the facts portrayed in the film are fiction I suppose nobody will ever know? If I ever run into Woodward and Bernstein I'll ask them! Also for anybody who's curious on who Woodwards 'deep throat' character is they will be disappointed, as it is not revealed in any way, although that is academic now. Check the movie out!
We're in June 2017 and "All The Presiden's Men" from 1976 reminds us that film, sometimes, is the strongest historical document we've got. The Washington Post raising alarm signs then and now. Alan J Pakula is one of the greatest directors of his generation. Jane Fonda during her AFI Lifetime Achievement Award told us that working with Alan J Pakula was like dancing with Fred Astaire. Here the chemistry between Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman is such that, at times, it feels like a romantic comedy, warts and all. Astonishing. Hal Holbrook as Deep Throat gives the <more>
feeling of "thriller" to this incredible story. We know how the story ends but that doesn't diminish our nervousness that it's perhaps a bit of impatience, just like now in 2017, to see justice be done.
The first time I saw this film, I was suitably impressed but found I couldn't enjoy it completely. In order to keep up with the relentless pace of the plot, I didn't pay as much attention to the writing and the performances as I should have. When it was over, I felt the breakneck pace of the story overshadowed the screenplay and acting, rendering the film an accomplished reprisal of fact but not much else.What a difference a second viewing made. My familiarity with the plot allowed me to appreciate all the finer details of the film. Watching Redford and Hoffman's disciplined <more>
performances as Woodward and Bernstein, for instance, is like watching two expert tennis players work in tandem with one another. When they act together, there is a delightful give-and-take, two masters working their way into a wonderful groove. While they appear steady and reserved on the surface, the two actors radiate a noticeable undercurrent of excitement and dread, as if underneath their stern countenances they're screaming, "Holy sh*t! I can't believe we're doing this!!" Redford, not the strongest dramatic actor, finds his normal-guy niche here and gives one of his best performances. Hoffman is equally strong, making even the simplest scene seem like a masterpiece the "count to 10" phone scene comes to mind .Throughout the film, Pakula communicates the idea of these two reporters being completely outnumbered by the people responsible for the Watergate break-in. I loved the numerous overhead shots of Woodward and Bernstein that pull up, up, up, until they're nothing more than specks in the dirty streets of DC. This technique is also used in the classic scene where the two guys are searching through old records and the camera pulls up to the ceiling and shows them seated along the edge of a circular series of desks. The film rockets right along, leaving the viewers as excited over the reporters' discoveries as they are. William Goldman's script helps in this regard, I think, sticking straight to the meat and cutting out any unnecessary roughage. The dialogue gets right down to business while working in realistic vocal habits and the like. Redford really captures this well listen to his stammering and self-corrections when he talks on the phone to sources - great stuff! .I can't recommend "All the President's Men" enough. It's tightly-structured, fiercely-paced, and captivating as all get-out. If necessary, watch it twice: once to find out who's who, the second time to savour the handiwork. If you want to talk more about it, leave a red flag on the potted plant on your balcony.
A central problem for all thrillers is that the need to find twist after clever twist means that stories escalate quickly into realms of implausibility; an apparently boring tale of low level corruption soon brings down the President of the United States. Which gives 'All the President's Men' a huge advantage over most thrillers, because this film based on the Watergate incident in 1972 can tell such a story and support it on the basis that all of it is true. Director Alan Pakula, something of a conspiracy thriller specialist, here does a great job in adapting the book written <more>
by the journalists who broke the story: the film is never overly melodramatic, but is always tense, and although it has pair of heroes, we're left in no doubt of their selfish motivations as they work potential witnesses any way they can in their bid to nail the truth. Unlike most clichéd detective thrillers, the true nature of the crime is unknown and arguably, remains unknown to this day , so even though we know what happened, there's an air of unpredictability to the story; reporters Woodward played by Robert Redford and Bernstein Dustin Hoffman don't know what they are looking for, even though they are certain that somewhere it is there. The plot is nicely paced, and even dares to skip lightly over the eventual vindication of the journalist's hunches, preferring to concentrate on how it felt for them, chasing this huge story, over a mere historical reconstruction of President Nixon's demise. Indeed, although Nixon appears in this film, it's only on television, and played by himself. This means that what we don't get is a wider analysis: a theory as to the true motive of Nixon's actions is hinted at but nothing more; nor does the film tell us whether it regards his behaviour as a disgrace to modern politics, or an mere symptom of them. In this respect, Oliver Stone's more fanciful 'Nixon' makes an interesting companion piece. But as a complex, gripping and understated thriller, 'All the President's Men' has few equals. Truth is stranger than fiction indeed.
Rating: 9 out of 10. Directed by Alan Pakula. Robert Redford does a great job playing the role of journalist Bob Woodward. The more talented Dustin Hoffman gives an excellent performance as Carl Bernstein. I once heard that this movie is a good guide for 'how-to' and 'how-not-to' conduct investigative journalism.The two journalists team up right after the Watergate burglars get arrested. They follow their own clues, but these tips only lead to dead ends, the puzzle is complicated. However, these Watergate burglars seem to be linked to the Republican Party and possibly to the <more>
White House.Alan Pakula does an incredible job of keeping the movie suspenseful and intriguing. As the story progresses, the viewer feels deeply involved in how these two journalists uncover the conspiracy. The contrast between the two main characters adds to the movie. Redford as Woodward has a relaxed and charming approach, while Hoffman as Bernstein is more persistent and sometimes daring.Woodward has a White House contact played by Hal Holbrook named 'Deep Throat' that he meets in 'Cloak and Dagger' style in a dark undercover parking lot, we never see his face clearly and he speaks in a rough rasping voice. 'Deep Throat' provides Woodward information in an indirect manner and keeps the journalists on the right track. This type of informant character has been replicated many times over in suspense movies and TV, especially on the TV series 'The X-Files'. Jason Robarbs as Bill Bradlee, editor of 'The Washington Post' performs remarkably as boss of the newspaper. Constantly reminding Woodward and Bernstein to find good solid evidence, but he also gets frustrated when none of the informants will go on the record with what they know. Robarbs won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for this role. I never get bored with watching this movie. If you have not seen it before, treat yourself to a viewing.
The Watergate scandal from the reporters' perspective (by DeeNine-2)
Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon. This dramatization of how it was discovered that the burglary of the Democratic Party headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D. C. was funded and directed by the Nixon White House is a lot better than it has any right to be. Given the tedious, non-glamorous and frankly boring leg- and phone-work that is often the lot of the investigative reporter, it is surprising that this is a very interesting movie even if you <more>
don't care two beans about the Watergate scandal. In fact, this is really more about how the story was put together than it is about the scandal itself. It is also a lot less political than might be expected. It stars Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as Washington Post reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, and they are good, with excellent support from Jason Robards Oscar as Best Supporting Actor playing Post Executive Editor Ben Bradlee, and Jane Alexander as an innocent caught up in the machinations. But what makes the movie work is the Oscar-winning script adapted from the Woodward and Bernstein best seller by that old Hollywood pro, William Goldman Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 1969, Misery 1990, etc. . What he does so very well, even though we know the outcome, is to establish and maintain the tension as Woodward and Bernstein run all over town chasing leads and misdirections. He accomplishes this by putting just enough varied obstacles in the path of our intrepid reporters, notably the Washington bureaucracy and the understandably cautious senior editors at the Post.The direction by Alan J. Pakula Comes a Horseman 1978, Sophie's Choice 1982, etc. focuses the scenes nicely, keeps the camera where it belongs, and highlights the story with a shadowy Deep Throat Hal Holbrook , skitterish sources, and a vivid recreation of a top American newspaper at work. I was especially enthralled to see the interactions among the reporters, the editors and the sources. I thought they all looked and sounded authentic, Redford's good looks having nothing to do with the story, which was right, and Hoffman's flair for the intense reigned in, which was necessary. The diffidence of Alexander's character and the soft pushiness of Woodward and Bernstein were tempered just right. Bradlee's stewardship of the story and his ability to take a calculated risk seemed true to life.Some details that stood out: Redford's hunt and peck typing contrasted with Hoffman's all fingers flying; the talking heads on the strategically placed TVs, reacting via actual video footage to the developing story--deny, deny, deny! of course. The thin reporter's spiral notebooks being pulled out and then later flipped through to find a quote. The bright lights of the newsroom looking expansive with all those desks as though there were mirrors on the walls extending an illusion. The seemingly silly tricks to get a source to confirm: just nod your head; I'll count to ten and if you're still on the line... And you know what I liked best? No annoying subplot!The rather abrupt resolution with the teletype banging out the leads to a sequence of stories that led to President Nixon's resignation had just the right feel to it, especially for those of us who have actually experienced the goosepimply sensation that comes with watching a breaking story come in over the teletype. The quick wrap-up surprised me, but delighted me at the same time. Bottom line: an excellent movie that wears well, a fine example of some of Hollywood's top professionals at work some thirty years ago. #30
"All the President's Men" 1976 follows the investigation led by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward Robert Redford and Carl Bernstein Dustin Hoffman on the Watergate scandal, running parallel with President Nixon's campaign for reelection. As the two lead characters see their investigation unfold, hardly, must I say, they get banged down by your usual, but not quite so, "newspaper" drama : missing sources, pettiness of the story, abstinence and denial by the witnesses, lack of hard evidence and, above all, threat to the survival of the Post itself.This <more>
is a gripping time piece. Almost half of the story is spent at the newspaper's offices, overshadowed by the permanent key-tapping of ardent typewriters and the constant chatter of young secretaries, which add a great sense of urgency and authenticity to a typical 1970s Washington workplace, where Woodward and Bernstein, sitting face-to-face in an odd, diagonal line that becomes a subtle symbol for a head-butting professional relationship, learn to first tolerate each other and each other's egos before uniting to unveil the truth. The interactions between Hoffman and Redford throughout the movie are as delightful to watch as they are crucial to making William Goldman's Academy Award-winning script reach its climax. We, as spectators, pay attention to these two very powerful actors' every word with such care and eagerness without even seeing through their banter and mistakes, breathing sighs of relief when catching a loose second and setting the alarm as the next one arrives. In the meantime, we get glimpses of written notes swinging in every direction from Woodward, mainly, creating a true journalistic feel, and enthralling conversations over the phone from both characters, desperately attempting to connect with not only the people behind the scandal, but also with the obscure situation on which they vainly light their lamps on, to a point where the phone becomes a mere extension of the hand and the absence of voice on the other end of the wire provokes an expression of total indifference. The story hides behind this progressive and discreet line of events without ever declaring "right" or "wrong", and plays with the writers' heads, leading them to frustration, unaided by the pressure of their superiors, the Metro News' supervisor Harry Rosenfeld Jack Warden and the Post's Ben Bradlee Jason Robards, in a sublime performance .The remainder of the movie explores Woodward and Bernstein's or "Woodstein", as Bradlee once cries out, interrupting the high-pitched noise of the office for more than two seconds attempts to force the truth or, at least, parcels of it out of various mouths White House bookkeepers, attorneys, lawmen, you name it and shows with true excitement the abusive paraphrasing and deduction the two men make with a less-than-minimal amount of words or simple nods from the speakers or non-speakers . In fact, the two are so convinced of the story's credibility that they unequivocally trade sentences for common sense, really. This is where the movie falters; its will and urgency to depict these moments rapidly makes them seem trivial and forgettable. For instance, an "informant" of Woodward's "Deep Throat", as they call him only agrees to meet with him in a dark, underground parking, but the movie never truly gives his character the proper gravitas and importance that his name really bears, historically speaking.Nevertheless, "All the President's Men" is the prototype of a solid and honest depiction of a historical event or, in this case, a more or less extended period of time marked by historical events. Alan J. Pakula's camera is turning around America's capital with remarkable ease, giving us the feeling that we have already been there, with Woodward and Bernstein, and capturing the charm of residential homes, the cacophony of midnight streets and the peacefulness of everyday places, such as libraries and diners. As already mentioned, the dynamics of the characters and of their relationships elevate the movie way above average, but the thoroughness to get the story "just the right way" makes it even greater. At some points during the movie, we are projected with real-time speeches from Nixon and his entourage or with journalistic coverage from 1972 and 1973 on a small television set in the office, further down the road from Woodward's small cabinet. As we exchange glances from the coverage on TV to Woodward's continuous typing, we take a step back and contemplate the successful effort of converting the broadcasted story into a much more intimate one.
The movie for all journalists and would-be journalists. (by Pedro_H)
The true story of how two minor journalists opened up a can of worms that led to the downfall of the President of the United States. A story almost too strange for fiction.The fact that the outcome is known to everybody watching doesn't seem to matter - it is a how-done-it rather than a who-done-it.The only thing I think is bad about the film is that is exposes some of the tricks of the journalists' trade!Hoffman and Redford Carl Bernstien and Edward Woodward don't give showy performances and they are not fleshed out off-the-job. Woodward wasn't a natural writer and despite <more>
having the scoop of anyone's lifetime hasn't really gone on to do anything other than write a trust-breaking biography of John Belushi. Despite the overall achievement what they printed wasn't entirely right. But that is a history book judgement and not one that we should dwell on. What they did get right is the fact that the other papers seems frightened of the story. They hung back until they were told it was safe to go in the water. Now the internet is one with the bravery!I also find it hard to fathom out Redford Woodward who is a Republican so he says and yet doesn't question that what he is doing to his own side. Who could have predicated what might have happened at the end of this story - rioting on the streets, the breakdown of law and order? Stranger things have happened.Jason Robards is perfect as the editor Ben Bradlee. There is a gravitas about him that doesn't need lines or dialogue. He is what they call in France "the king actor" there is something about him that suggests that he is the main man without doing anything much to actually justify it. You either have it or you haven't. The expensive sets are brilliant too. The third part of a platonic love triangle. Just a big room with desks and people really. People hammering away. People laughing and joking. TV sets play to nobody or everybody. The lens stays sharp from front to back so as to get it all in. Newspaper offices are a place of constant distraction the writer has to block them out to in order to hammer out the story. This is the day of the typewriter so the noise must have been louder than it appears on film. The jigsaw doesn't come together quickly. Indeed they don't have a box cover to see what they are constructing. The Washington Post doesn't take them off the story as it gets bigger and bigger. Did others help? Surely they must have. Equally the lawyers of both sides must have been circling in real life. They are taking on government itself and that is something that everyone should be weary of. The end is a masterpiece. Probably the best ending in the entire history of cinema. It totally takes you off guard and runs against everything that you have been built up to expect. However the greatest ideas are often the simple ones.