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Second time's a charm
David N.30 July 1999
Warning: Spoilers
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 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.
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A Powerful Reminder
duffjerroldorg22 June 2017
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 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.
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seen this many times, never reviewed
blanche-217 June 2017
In today's world, "All the President's Men" is as timely as ever. And it's a great look at the importance of journalistic integrity at a time when it was important to be right, not first.

A meticulously made film, and Redford and Hoffman were at the heights of their careers and both so adorable! The cast was perfect, with Hal Holbrook as Deep Throat, Jason Robards as Ben Bradlee, Jack Warden - all brilliant.

The break-in, as we see, was a mess. In preparation for the break-in, someone had gone around the Democratic headquarters and put tape on all the doors so they wouldn't lock automatically. One of the first things you see is a guard finding one of the taped doors - that was the actual guard, and he was considered the hero of the night.

One of the Republican plans was that during the convention, a yacht with prostitutes would be nearby; the Republicans would lure delegates onto the yacht and then blackmail them later.

The interesting thing is how all of the people involved had no problem committing actual felonies - blackmail, embezzling, perjury, and one of the most powerful moments in the documentary is the TAPE of Nixon saying he knew where he could get a million in cash to pay people off. It was all like something out of The Sopranos, with John Mitchell threatening to put Katherine Graham's tit in a wringer if anything was published about him. Astonishing. And this was The White House.

Woodward and Bernstein were like dogs with a bone, beautifully shown here as they continually pursue a story originally thought of as a waste, later called a witch hunt, and finally above-the-title news.

I'm older now, obviously, than when Nixon resigned. It was hard for me to see him as a person then. Later on, transcribing his speeches and an interview - I realized that he was an amazing speaker, and his career had been absolutely brilliant. I pity him that he felt he had to do what he did. And then I remember his comments about Jews and artists on those tapes. A very complicated man who let his dark side take over.

The film doesn't dwell on that, but on what Redford wanted - the mechanics of the investigation itself, the grunt work that went into getting the story.

Some trivia: After this film, there was a large increase in the number of applicants to journalism schools. I'd like to point out that this took place after the movie - not the book.
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Required viewing.
MovieAddict201625 March 2004
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 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
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Breathlessly entertaining movie!
phoeniks-112 December 2005
This could very well be the best political thriller ever made - in any event it is certainly the best of 1976! The account follows the painstakingly search for the truth behind the Watergate-scandal and the two relentless journalists Bernstein and Woodwards efforts to uncover the mystery. It is top-excitement from the first to the last frame, and it is my opinion that both Hoffmann and Redford do their very best work in this movie! The supporting cast is exceptionally good, including such solid actors as Martin Balsam, Jason Robards (he is fantastic!) and Jack Warden. The film is without any doubt the best work ever from acclaimed director Alan J. Pakula! You can watch this fabulous film again and again. It does not seem to date a bit!
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Truth is stranger...
paul2001sw-110 April 2005
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 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.
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Ever Heard of Watergate?
calinchiriac25 June 2017
"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 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.
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" There is no greater weapon in a democracy, than a free press "
thinker169123 March 2009
On June 17th, 1972 a security guard (Frank Willis) discovered a small piece of tape covering the latch on the basement door of the Headquarters of the National Democratic Committee in Florida. Calling for the police, they quickly arrested five well dressed burglars, one with $800 in his wallet. What few people knew was that these individuals would become the foundation of a massive conspiracy which involved the entire Federal community including the F.B.I, C.I.A. and other agencies working for the President of the United States. Attending the burglars at their court arraignment, rookie reporter Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) is astounded to learn one of the burglar's previously worked for the C.I.A. in the White House. The senior reporter who is later paired with him is 14 year veteran Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman). What transpires in the next three years will illuminate the secret illegal activities, covert operations and deep paranoia of the Nixon Administration. In this movie, audiences are privy to the workings of The Washington Post and the enormous efforts of these two Pulitzer Prize winning journalists. Jack Warden plays Harry M. Rosenfeld the Metroploitan editor who despite his own doubts believes in the future of the promising investigative journalists. Martin Balsam is Howard Simons and Jason Robards plays stanch Ben Bradlee, the Executive Editor of the Post. Even though they realized the risks involved, they stood their ground and allow the citizens of America to see the importance of a free press. In retrospect, America also learns of the immense risk and hazardous undertaking assumed by Woodward's 'invisible' source by the then Assistant Director of the F.B.I. 'Mark Felt' who has come to be known as "Deep Throat." (Hal Holbrook) With his invaluable help, Americas' press reveals how even a man so powerful as a sitting President must not be allowed to believe he is above the law. The film is a great example and tribute to men of the Forth Estate. Today it stands as a Classic movie in it's own right. ****
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"It leads everywhere. Get out your notebook. There's more."
ackstasis16 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
To be completely honest, coming into this film, I knew extremely little about the Watergate scandal, beyond knowing that Forrest Gump was responsible for the burglaries being discovered, because the flashlights were "keeping him awake." On June 17 1972, a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C., by members of the Richard Nixon administration, resulted in a string of cover-ups and, ultimately, in Nixon's 1974 resignation. The two Washington Post journalists credited with uncovering the Watergate scandal are Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, later known collectively as "Woodstein." Their exploits are detailed in their 1974 non-fiction book, 'All The President's Men,' from which this film of the same name was adapted.

The scandal itself arose from humble beginnings. When a low-key court hearing for the five Watergate burglars piques the interest of Bob Woodward (Robert Redford), he and Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) are assigned to the story. At the time, it is deemed insignificant enough to involve these two secondary journalists, but Woodward and Bernstein soon discover that the scandal runs higher than they could ever have anticipated.

Redford and Hoffman are great in their respective roles, seamlessly stepping into the shoes of two reporters and never for a moment slipping up. Strong supporting roles also come from Jack Warden, Martin Balsam and Jason Robards as editors of the Washington Post, and they act their respective roles convincingly, as though they've been in the newspaper business their whole lives. Hal Holbrook is suitably mysterious as Deep Throat, Woodward's anonymous inside source, who arranges meetings in the eerie shadows of a deserted parking garage. Deep Throat's true identity was kept a secret until May 31 2005, when William Mark Felt, Sr stepped forward and publicly revealed the truth.

It would, no doubt, have been tempting for the filmmakers to exaggerate or overdramatise the two reporters' exploits, perhaps by "fleshing out" their characters by including their own troubling personal lives, or by throwing in a random car chase to get the adrenaline pumping. However, director Alan J. Pakula and screenwriter William Goldman have remained relatively loyal to the source material, and manage somehow keep a taut storytelling pace, despite the film consisting largely of inquiring phone calls and interviews with reluctant sources.

This is a stunning political thriller, the greatest triumph arising from the film's ability to keep the audience's attention, despite everybody already knowing how the story is going to end. Well, except for me…
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All the presidents crooks!
dgrahamwatson9 July 2005
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 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!
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Exciting Investigative Journalism
mikepwong28 May 2003
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 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.
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A True, Breathtaking Political Thriller
jfmvp19 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Alan J. Pakula's "All the President's Men" (1976) is the greatest journalism film in cinematic history. It's up there with the classics of the political realm, as well. "All the President's Men" is both chilling and exhilarating because of its performances, setting, pacing, and of course the fact that it's all true.

Isn't it mind-boggling that something like this really occurred? I think we're all a bit skeptical of the American government and what it hides at times, but a scandal involving politicians and officials at all levels, one leading all the way up to the President of the United States?

"Jesus" -- as John Mitchell says to Carl Bernstein (played wonderfully by Dustin Hoffman) when Carl tells him about the groundbreaking story he plans to run the following day. That's all I can say.

I've seen "All the President's Men" six or seven times, and I've been mesmerized each and every time. The performances are perfect, the truths are shocking, and the reality is one of the most incredible stories in American history.

Look closely at the cast. As I've already said, Hoffman is excellent as Bernstein. Robert Redford, in one of the most balanced and seamless performances of his illustrious career, is equally as good as the now-famous Bob Woodward. Jason Robards is a scene stealer as editor-in-chief Ben Bradlee, in a performance that I'm told IS a tee. Robards' fantastic work earned him the Academy Award in the Best Supporting Actor category.

Every other supporting role is precisely executed. Jane Alexander deserves special consideration as "The Bookkeeper" with all the dirty little secrets, and Alexander in fact received a nomination for Best Supporting Actress. The funny thing is, she's on screen for two scenes. That's it. And one of them is very short. That's how subtle her performance is, and how effective.

Hal Holbrook is particularly memorable as "Deep Throat," Woodward's oft-talked about background source for the series of Watergate stories. Within the past five years we've learned that Deep Throat was actually William Mark Felt Sr., a formerly prominent FBI agent. Holbrook's portrayal leaves a lasting impression, and director Pakula shoots his scenes with atmosphere and tension.

Stephen Collins (as Hugh Sloan) and Robert Walden (as Donald Segretti) are also deserving of mention.

When it comes down to it, what's memorable about this film is the way it unfolds. The trials and tribulations of "Woodstein's" reporting process. The real-feeling board meetings at the Washington Post. The eerie sense that Woodward is going to get whacked. The way Woodward and Bernstein work off one another, and the chemistry that Redford and Hoffman reflect on screen.

All things considered, this is a masterpiece. Now let's not give Pakula and the cast all of the credit for that...

Hell, we should thank President Nixon for the storyline.
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Political Scandal of the 20th Century that is Better than Fiction
classicalsteve13 August 2007
A break-in and bugging at the headquarters of a major political party gone awry. Two green reporters assigned to cover the story. A nameless informant willing only to meet in a parking garage and goes by the code name "Deep Throat". A hot-headed but fair editor of a major newspaper. And in the background looms the President of the United States. It's hard to believe that this is not the plot and characters of a fiction bestseller by the likes of John Grisham or James Patterson. Instead, this is the true story of one of the strangest moments in American political theater that almost reads like the latest suspense novel.

President Nixon consented to give his merry band of political operatives, aka Bob Haldeman, John Mitchell, John Erlichman, and Charles Colson, the go-ahead to engage in a systematic endeavor to either discredit and/or destroy not only the political futures of rivals but also any adversaries who propagated a point of view contrary to the president. Certainly there were previous moments in presidential history where this had occurred, such as FDR's confiscation of IRS records to cripple opponents. But the operatives, at first called "the plumbers" to plug leaks to the press, created a conspiratorial and secret infrastructure where campaign money financed preconceived tactics that included such diverse ploys as spreading false rumors about political candidates, stealing medical records, and blowing up an office building. Ironically, part of the operation became known as C.R.E.E.P. (the Committee for the Reelection of the President).

And it almost worked, until the conspirators became too arrogant and decided to break into and plant bugging devices in the National Democratic headquarters at the Watergate Office complex in Washington DC. The five men hired for the crime were caught by undercover agents before they could make their escape. The blunder of the five men at the Watergate headquarters was the first glimpse into the politically-motivated operations that garnered attention from the press and would later prove to be the so-called "tip of the iceberg".

"All the President's Men" chronicles how two relatively green Washington Post reporters, Carl Bernstien (Dustin Hoffman) and Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) covered the Watergate break-in story and began to uncover strange bits and pieces about the much larger conspiracy. A White House attorney is sent to the courthouse during the arraignment of the five burglars. The burglars appear to have had in their possession at the time of the break-in large sums of money that lead to campaign contributions in other states. And when Woodward confronts his secret informant code named "Deep Throat" he realizes he is onto something much larger than the break-in when the informant tells him to "Follow the money." which has become one of the most famous or infamous lines in political history.

The film is an absolute masterpiece of movie-making with top-notch performances by all, particularly with Jason Robards as the chief editor of the Post Ben Bradley and Hal Holbrook as Deep Throat. The pacing is right on the money, so-to-speak, with all the twists and turns you might find from the latest political thriller on the bestseller list. And yet you have to keep reminding yourself that this is not a fiction; this film chronicles the eventual exposure of shameful and appalling acts that took place upon our political landscape. These acts benefited absolutely no one and brought down a president.
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Remarkable film about two intrepid reporters , Bob Woodward and Carl Berstein , who investigate the Watergate conspiracy
ma-cortes30 April 2012
This inspired reenactment of the known political event concerns on two reporters from ¨Washington Post¨ who investigate the deeds that eventually led to the resignation of Richard Nixon, 37th President of the United States . At times it looked like it might cost them their jobs, their reputations, and maybe even their lives . Reporters Woodward (Robert Redford , also producer) and Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that leads to President Nixon's resignation. Both of whom persevere in their investigation of Watergate break-in who led to earthshaking scandal . Their perseverance and the support of their editors (Jack Warden) revealed that the break-in at the Watergate office complex was only one small part of a much larger network of intelligence gathering activities, many of which were illegal. The flick also focuses on the role of Woodward's now legendary secret source dubbed Deep Throat (Hal Holbrook ,since identified as FBI Deputy Director Mark Felt) . Through the process, they have the obstacles of the newspaper's editor-in-chief Ben Bradlee (Jason Robards) who needs their story to be confirmed by reliable source .

Redford and Hoffman play perfectly the real-life Washington Post journalists . This nice film is well developed , dealing with a docudrama in which is discovered the exposure of the Watergate conspiracy by journalists Woodward and Berstein . Best elements of newspaper movies such as intense investigation , thrills , detective story , intrigue rolled into an interesting movie . However , there are much telephonic conversation that hamper some moment the flick developing . Although we know how it eventually comes out , we're on the edge of our seats from start to finish . It won deservedly Academy Award for secondary actor , Jason Robards , for screenplay , William Goldman , and Art Direction and Sound . Furthermore , an atmospheric score by David Shire and appropriate cinematography by Gordon Willis .

This gripping movie-making was professionally directed by Alan J. Pakula . He achieved several hits (Devil's own , Pelican brief , Presumed innocent , Sophie's choice , Klute) and some flops (Starting over , Paralax view, See you in the morning). The movie belongs to sub-genre that abounded in the 80s about reporters covering polemic political conflicts , such as ¨The year of living dangerously¨ by Peter Weir with Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver , ¨Under fire¨ by Robert Spottswoode with Nick Nolte , Gene Hackman and Joanna Cassidy, ¨Salvador¨ by Oliver Stone with James Woods and James Belushi, and ¨Deadline¨ by Nathaliel Gutman with Christopher Walken and Hywel Bennett. These movies are very much in the vein of ¨All the President's men¨. Rating : Good , well worth watching .
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The Real Dynamic Duo
george.schmidt21 February 2003
ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN (1976) **** Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jason Robards, Jane Alexander, Martin Balsam, Jack Warden, Hal Holbrook, Ned Beatty. Superb adaptation of Washington Post's scathing historical expose by intrepid reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein (played with energetic paranoia by Golden Boy and Dusty to perfection) on the infamous Watergate break-in and the ultimate downfall of the Nixon presidency with cover ups, cloak-and-dagger informant `Deep Throat', conspiracies and Washington as a fixed metaphor as a quagmire sucking down America's freedoms with only the dynamic duo as our only hope! Robards won a richly deserved Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of crusty yet fair editor Ben Bradlee. Suspensefully directed by Alan J. Pakula. Look sharp for Polly Holliday (aka tv's `Flo') as a repellent secretary. Also won Oscars for Best Screenplay Adaptation by William Goldman, Art Direction and Sound. Alexander was nominated for Best Supporting Actress.
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The Watergate scandal from the reporters' perspective
DeeNine-230 September 2003
(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 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
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Sargebri7 March 2003
Whenever I look at this film I am always struck by it for several different reasons. One is the fact that this is a look into the recent history of the United States. Thirty years ago, Richard Nixon and his shadow government was just one step away from totally destroying the two party system in this country and if it weren't for the expose' of Woodward and Bernstein American politics would be a lot different today. Also, this is a great detective story. The digging that WoodStein did showed that they were willing to do anything to get to the truth about what was going on. But perhaps the thing that really made this film great was the fact that this was a true story. Too bad that it only won three Oscars (best supporting actor Jason Robards, best adapted screenplay and art direction). This film was certainly miles ahead of what beat it out, the original Rocky.
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a great history lesson and an even better movie
puttputtk24 June 2010
All the Presidents Men (1977)

5 word summary

Reporters help uncover Watergate scandal

This film is a history lesson put in a much more entertaining way than any teacher could. Really it doesn't seem like the film should be entertaining even while watching it, but it just flows so nicely. The pace never really slows, it just stays interesting, almost like it's a thriller more than a drama.

When you put 2 of the greatest actors in film history together with such a well written script and a director that can get such great emotion and performances out of scripts and actors such as in this or Sophie's Choice its not really a surprise

It won 4 Oscars that year, however I almost feel It was cheated. Personally, I think All the Presidents Men is a better film than Rocky and should have also taken best picture. Then again I like Network more than Rocky and Taxi Driver more than all of them, so really it wasn't a great year for the Osacars. I also feel it deserved Best Director over Rocky as well.

This is one of the few movies that are based on a true story that are better because its true. Anyone who wants a entertaining history lesson, and anyone who likes Dustin Hoffman or Robert Redford should watch this film. It is one of the best films ever made. It's very informative and very entertaining which isn't very common in the film world.

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The Story Of A Lifetime
bkoganbing5 March 2010
The United States Of America lost its political innocence with the Watergate scandals. The effects of what happened starting with those burglars caught breaking into the Democratic headquarters of the Watergate Apartment complex and what came afterward will damage the national psyche for the next few centuries.

What always got me about Watergate is that it was so unnecessary for Richard Nixon's re-election. And that was what it was all about. Nixon was at the peak of popularity, he would have won in 1972 without all the shenanigans pulled by his Committee to Re-Elect the President. But in the possessed mind of Richard Nixon who saw enemies everywhere, it wasn't enough to just beat the Democratic opponent.

It was also why the Watergate scandal took hold, the motives behind it were strictly political, to re-elect the incumbent president. Iran/Contra never got the traction that Watergate got because in the final analysis it was about foreign policy differences. The motives if not pure were not tainted with partisanship either.

Films like Nixon with Anthony Hopkins and Nixon/Frost with Frank Langella give you a view of the man at the center of it all. Another rather skewered view of Watergate can be gotten from the film Born Again about Chuck Colson, one of the key players in Watergate. But this film is from the outside looking in. It takes two fairly new reporters from the Washington Post, Robert Woodward and Carl Bernstein, covering the police beat of the Post who are in night court as the Watergate burglars are arraigned and slowly realize they could be sitting on the story of a lifetime.

Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman are Woodward and Bernstein. Editor Ben Bradlee played by Jason Robards realizes that in the final analysis this is a crime story first and foremost. So rather than give it to some top political reporter, he lets Woodward and Bernstein run with it. It made their reputations down to today.

Director Alan J. Pakula made clever use of the color newsreel footage and interspersed it with the dramatic story. Through the newsreels the well known names and faces actually do become actors in the proceedings.

In fact despite the fact that Jason Robards won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and Jane Alexander for playing the bookkeeper at the campaign headquarters got nominated for Best Supporting Actress, the key performance in the film in my opinion is that of Robert Walden who played Donald Segretti, a young attorney who became part of the White House plumbers dirty tricks squad. He's the only one of the Watergate principals who gets a full blown fictional portrayal here. He gives the Watergate scandal the face for the viewer and its not a pretty one.

All The President's Men missed the Best Picture Oscar and a Best Director for Alan J. Pakula. But it managed to win Oscars for Best Sound, Best Art&Set Direction and Best Adapted Screenplay besides the Oscar Robards won.

Both Redford and Hoffman who are a couple of name players as stars gave what would be subdued performances in the sense that they never allowed their star personas to interfere with the telling of the story. That's what makes All The President's Men such a lasting classic.
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On the trail of political crime and corruption
barryrd15 June 2016
This movie retells the role of two young reporters in the downfall of president Richard Milhous Nixon. It is now 40 years since this movie first appeared and it still strongly resonates with me. The reporters, played by Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, show the tenacity and courage it took to expose the crimes and misdemeanours of Nixon and the people in his administration that resulted in the ruin of lives and careers. The movie couldn't cover the range of misdeeds that marked this administration in its use of power, unprecedented in the history of the United States. However, once they smelled a rat, the government bloodhounds couldn't stop them in their mission. I was riveted by how they sought out the people they needed to question to get at the truth. The information they received was often volunteered unaware by those who revealed names and other information. At one point after interviewing a book-keeper, played superbly by Jane Alexander, Bernstein came back to the newsroom with notes scribbled on bits of paper, napkins etc. One lead followed another with personal contacts, phone calls, door knocking and combing through lists. Trying to be coy, they used the technique of raising "just one more thing" to elicit key bits of evidence without appearing too inquisitive. The two young men were supported, questioned relentlessly, and watched closely by older newsman and boss, played by Jack Warden. Jason Robards shined in the role as the iconic Ben Bradlee, the managing editor. This movie gives a real taste of the legwork, digging and intuitive journalism that led to one of the most dramatic stories in US. political history.
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An absolutely brilliant political thriller
GusF14 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Based on the 1974 book of the same name by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, this is an absolutely brilliant political thriller. I think that the film is a largely historically accurate depiction of the two "Washington Post" journalists' investigation into the Watergate scandal and the surrounding conspiracy. The film has a wonderful script by William Goldman, whose name is synonymous with quality in my book. It throws a great deal of information our way but it is such a taut, well-paced, well-thought-out script that it never runs the risk of overwhelming the audience with exposition. I also have to praise the sterling direction of Alan J. Pakula, who is able to maintain a high level of tension and suspense throughout the film. It is never less than gripping from beginning to end. I liked the fact that music is used sparingly as it added to the sheer sense of realism on display. The film was nominated for Best Picture but it lost to "Rocky". No comment.

The film stars Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman in a pair of fantastic performances as Woodward and Bernstein respectively. Hoffman is marginally better than Redford but both men deserved Oscar nominations for Best Actor and it is a shame that the Academy was not forthcoming in either case. I wish that they made other films together as they have such great chemistry. Following the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters the Watergate complex on June 17, 1972, Woodward, a rookie reporter who has only been with "The Washington Post" for nine months, is assigned to cover the matter as it is not considered to be worth the attention of anyone higher up in the paper. He soon discovers that the five burglars have all had prior involvement with the CIA and is able to establish a link between them and former CIA agent E. Howard Hunt and Nixon's Special Counsel Charles Colson. The more experienced Bernstein, who has a tendency to ruffle people's feathers, inveigles himself into the investigation and the two reporters are assigned to together on the story together. Neither of them are particularly thrilled about it but they develop a strong, if occasionally a little combative, working relationship. They're not exactly best friends but they spark off each other and give each other ideas. Bernstein is depicted as being a little obnoxious and he has a "bull in a china shop" mentality when it comes to asking questions of reluctant interviewees, which is almost all of them. It serves as a very effective contrast to the more amiable Woodward's "softly, softly" approach. Bernstein tends to go with gut feelings far more than Woodward. However, they are able to procure many results working together than they not have been able to get alone.

Much of the investigation concerns the illegal and unconstitutional activities of the Committee to Re-elect the President, otherwise known as CREEP. If this film were pure fiction, I would mock the use of an organisation with the acronym "CREEP" as laughable since no one in their right mind would pick a name like that. It just goes to show that sometimes fact is stranger than fiction! While some of them are heard over the phone, none of the senior members of the conspiracy such as G. Gordon Liddy, the former Attorney General John N. Mitchell, the White House Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman (regularly referred to as being "the second most powerful man in the country") and Jeb Stuart Magruder are seen on screen. This was a brilliant move on Goldman's part as it served the emphasise the existence of a shadowy conspiracy which involved "the entire US intelligence community." Nixon himself is only seen in archive footage. One of the best illustrations of this is his renomination at the 1972 Republican Convention, which was announced by his eventual successor Gerald Ford. The events surrounding Ford's elevation to the presidency just shy of two years later could not have been predicted at the time so it was a merely stroke of good fortune for the filmmakers that it was Ford who chaired the Convention. Another very effective use of archive footage is the depiction of Nixon being sworn in for his second term in the final scene on January 20, 1973, in which he swears, as part of the oath of office, to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Jason Robards won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar but I don't think that his performance as the newspaper's executive editor Ben Bradlee was worthy of it. He was never a great actor and, in this film, he delivered most of his lines in a monotone and shouted the rest. More deserving of the award or at least a nomination were Jack Warden as the local editor Harry M. Rosenfeld, Martin Balsam as the managing editor Howard Simons or the suitably enigmatic Hal Holbrook as Deep Throat, who was revealed to be former FBI Associate Director W. Mark Felt in 2005. Conversely, Jane Alexander is excellent in the small role of the bookkeeper Judy Hoback Miller, who was vital in unravelling the conspiracy, and her Best Supporting Actress nomination was well deserved. She is really the closest thing that the film has a female lead. The film also feature nice small appearances from Ned Beatty, F. Murray Abraham, Lindsay Crouse and Meredith Baxter. In a great moment of art imitating life, Frank Wills, the security guard who secured a place in history for himself when he told the police about the break-in, plays himself at the beginning of the film.

Overall, this is a superb film which serves as a powerful reminder of the vital role that the Fourth Estate plays in society and as a damning indictment of the worst excesses of political corruption in a democratic state.
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Well-made, powerful, and one that will stick with you long after the credits roll.
Mr-Fusion1 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
It helps that the subject matter makes for one hell of a movie, but there's a level of craft brought forth by everyone involved that makes "All the President's Men" one of the honest-to-god great movies of the '70s.

The writing in this movie is just a thing of beauty. Most of the first 30 minutes moves from one conversation to the next, but your attention is held fast by a cast-iron grip. That the filmmakers can make several minutes of Redford making call after call at his desk gripping is awe-inspiring. And the dialogue between the characters (not just lead, but supporting, also) carries an authenticity you don't often see. Men engaging in heated discussion, talking over one another that makes you forget these people are reciting lines; it rings true-to-life and these actors disappear into genuine newsmen.

And while "All the President's Men" makes heroes out of Woodward and Bernstein, it by no means glamorizes their job. It's because of the hours upon hours of work they put in, their dogged determination that the story breaks. Hoffman and Redford have a natural chemistry, and two newspapermen become classic movie characters for it.

This is a powerful movie; riveting, very well-made and for my money, the ultimate political thriller. From Pakula's direction, the all-around incredible performances and William Goldman's brilliant screenplay, it's a shining example of everyone at the top of their game.

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Running into dead ends with brick walls at every turn.
mark.waltz10 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
"Most people don't care about Watergate anymore", Washington Post boss Jason Robards tells his top two reporters, Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford, as this film begins its wrap up. But Hoffman and Redford, as Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, do care, and they persevere, especially after Robards tells them to take 15 minutes off to rest, then get back out there and finish the job. The infamous "Deep Throat" (Hal Holbrook, seen in shadows, that fabulous profile still obvious) gives them enough information at first to get them intrigued, but as the two fairly decent journalists persevere to get the scoop of the century, they find that a lot of people in Washington who worked for the Committee to re-elect the President (Nixon) are not willing to even have a cup of coffee with them let alone risk their lives or careers by spilling the beans. The two however refuse to leave well enough alone, and end up blowing the men working for "Tricky Dick" out of the water.

Only days after our most recent presidential election, I re-watched this amazing drama which at 2 hours and 20 minutes is never boring. In this now classic political expose on the ruthlessness of government, it is the screenplay (by William Goldman based upon Bernstein and Woodward's book) who is the star, even though the two leading men are great in it and Robards deservedly won an Academy Award. Every word spoken by each actor rings true, and every action rings of honesty. Robards, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam and John McMartin are Woodward and Bernstein's colleagues at the paper, while an ensemble of some of the best character performers around fill out the cast. Nicolas Coaster, Polly Holliday, Jane Alexander, Allyn Ann McLearie and Sloane Shelton are just among the "real people" they encounter while discussing such real life famous people as John Mitchell, G. Gordon Liddy and H. R. Haldeman as visuals of Nixon, Spirow Agnew and Gerald Ford are seen in real news clips.

It is ironic that Hollywood released this film during the Bicentennial year to show how honesty and integrity will always be the goals of the people who elect the officials who make the decisions that guide our great country. Almost forty years later, politics is as dirty, if a bit more sinister, and the recent campaign reiterated what movies like "Advise and Consent" and "The Best Man" have been warning us about for years. Throw in "All the King's Men", "The Manchurian Candidate", "The Candidate" and "Bullworth" as other films of interest in this category. Films and plays about Nixon have exposed more about the man we only see through newsreels here. As long as writers dare to stand up to expose truth, politicians will always live in fear that their secrets will end up being exposed, as they are here.
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A dynamic detective yarn, even though everyone already knows the ending.
khanbaliq28 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The film is a reconstruction of the discovery of the White House link with the Watergate affair by two young reporters (Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman) from the Washington Post, whose dogged investigations hastened the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

All The President's Men is an absorbing drama, which despite its many excellences would have been better with a more audible dialogue track, less murky photography and a cleaner introduction of the characters concerned. The acting, however, is a treat. Entertainment Weekly ranked the film as one of the 25 "Powerful Political Thrillers". According to Box Office, the film earned a "Domestic Total Gross" of $70,600,000.
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Once upon a time….
Neil-90016 January 2010 a land long, long ago there were a special breed of men known as journalists. These men worked tirelessly to discover truth and uncover lies and corruption. They spread the truth in the form of newspapers and the bad people would cower in fear of the news Then rose the great Murdock and he corrupted the "news" and made it "fair and balanced" the truth was no more, the journalists were slain.

My point is that these days of Woodward & Bernstein are gone forever. There is no such thing as journalism any longer and scandals like this will never be truly revealed.

This is a wonderful film, regardless of the Bushites that pretend it's all lies and propaganda this film tells the story of two highly dedicated, brave and committed journalists who believed in truth and informing the people whatever it costs them personally.

If you want to know what political corruption and true freedom of speech means then watch this film.

Brilliant 9/10
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