All the President’s Men (1976)

all the presidents men poster 1976 robert redford dustin hoffman
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

A study of journalism, luck, and political egotism


Movie Info

Movie Name:  All the President’s Men

Studio:  Wildwood Enterprises

Genre(s):  Drama

Release Date(s):  April 9, 1976

MPAA Rating:  PG

all the presidents men woodward bernstein dustin hoffman robert redford

We’re just a couple of guys out to bring down the President….

On June 17, 1972, a break-in occurs at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Building in Washington, D.C.  Fledgling Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) is assigned the story and is soon followed by another rookie named Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman).  As Woodward and Bernstein begin to explore the break-in, they discover they are finding more than they ever expected.  What appeared to be a simple crime turned out to be a crime that could change the United States forever.

Directed by Alan J. Pakula, All the President’s Men is a historical political thriller based on the book by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward.  The film was released to critical acclaim and won Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor (Jason Robards), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction—Set Decoration, and Best Sound with nominations for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Jane Alexander), Best Director, and Best Film Editing.  The movie was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2010.

It is ironic to look back at Watergate today and see how sloppy it was to begin with.  With computers, surveillance, and espionage techniques in the hands of everyday citizens and actual break-in and theft of information seems stupid…and my guess that even back then it was stupid.  All the President’s Men is a great look at how a stupid action brought down a presidency and changed the nation…and a warning for what could happen again.

all the presidents men deep throat hal holbrook garage scene

I was willing to meet in a nice lit mall…why did you pick this dingy back street garage?

Though they did the footwork, it always seemed that a lot of Woodward and Bernstein’s discovery came from luck.  They were lucky to be placed on the story and lucky to have been given the time to investigate it (something that would never happen now).  They were lucky to get Deepthroat and have that as a source to help the search.  Tracking down people willing to talk and corroborate is good reporting and that is on their side.  Rewatching All the President’s Men (from a person who works in the media side) shows how the media has fallen due to the need for quick news…it is a sad reflection on the conditions.

The movie is smartly cast and makes the most out of even the smallest actors.  Redford and Hoffman were at the peaks of their careers and work well together.  Jason Robards is good as Ben Bradlee who demands a thoroughly fact-checked story but Jack Warden is also good as the man who takes the chance on Bernstein and Woodward.  Hal Holbrook plays the shadowy Deep Throat (revealed in 2005 to be William Mark Felt, Sr.) and the movie also features appearances by Meredith Baxter, Ned Beatty, and F. Murray Abraham among others.

all the presidents men 1976 ben bradlee washington post jason robards

I’ll destroy you if you are wrong about this…

The movie has a gritty look that only seems to be captured in films from the period.  People like Quentin Tarantino try to replicate it, but it always feels too clean or two dirty.  In movies like this, the grit is just right…naturally.  Plus, it is nice to get to see the DC setting.

The Watergate Scandal is a black mark on the United States history that feels like it could be repeated (possibly soon).  It isn’t necessarily at the fault of the people who might commit it…we are moving too fast and too soon with technology that violating rights and laws is sometimes and afterthought once it has been done.  The hope is that there will be journalists to keep the checks and balances in place and “real news” and “fake news” won’t cloud, mix, or obscure the truth.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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