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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2004
The enduring brilliance of the 1976 film "All the President's Men" is not due to the handful of great performances by legendary actors. It's not due to the shockingly true story it documents. What sets "All the President's Men" apart, making it one of the great suspense thrillers of all time, is its utter authenticity.
The film does not make a single misstep. Each low key scene after another, solidly crafted, realistically portrayed, slowly builds a growing sense of dread. Like reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, we discover each clue. With great apprehension, we begin to realize this peculiar Watergate burglary is leading to one of the great scandals in American history.
I have seen "All the President's Men" at least 10 times, and each time my respect for this film grows. I am amazed by the camaraderie during the editorial meetings, so realistically portrayed. Equally impressive is how two larger-than-life actors Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman (as Woodward and Bernstein) disappear into their roles. Rarely noted, these two superstars give what is arguably the finest performances of their storied careers. By film's end, they are no longer Redford and Hoffman but two young reporters, intensely on the trail about to break the story of the century.
One of the great supporting casts of all time is important to the success of this film. Jason Robards, Jack Warden and Martin Balsam as the Washington Post editors who grudgingly guide and support their young reporters, are nothing short of brilliant. And then of course, you have Hal Holbrook, Jane Alexander, Ned Beatty, Robert Walden, Stephen Collins and Lindsay Crouse in crucial, but memorable supporting cameos.
The late director Alan J. Pakula was the perfect choice for this film. An expert in paranoid thrillers ("Klute," "The Parallax View," "Presumed Innocent"), "All the President's Men" must be considered his crowning achievement. Hollywood has a history of changing true stories for dramatic embellishment, and Pakula should be applauded for sticking to the facts (as should William Goldman, who wrote the tight screenplay based on the Woodward/Bernstein novel of the same name) and creating an authentic recreation. It must have been an incredible challenge to make a film with so little action (no explosions, murder or gun fire).
In "All the President's Men," the pounding of the typewriter key is akin to the firing of a cannon. Eventually, as we see Woodward and Bernstein furiously typing away while on the television Richard Nixon is sworn in for his second term as President, we realize just how great a country the United States is. We are all accountable for crimes, even our highest elected leaders. This is a free country, perfectly personified by our free press. "All the President's Men" flawlessly documents this.
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92 of 101 people found the following review helpful
This Oscar winning 1976 film is about Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, the two Washington Post reporters who broke the biggest story of the 1970's - that of the Watergate scandal. It originally seemed like a small story, a break-in at the Democratic headquarters, but because of these two young men doggedly going after the facts, it brought down a president.
Starring Dustin Hoffman as the chain-smoking and quirky Bernstein, and Robert Redford as the more sophisticated Woodward, there is a chemistry between them which gave them the impetus to push way beyond the limits of what the story required, and as one discovery led to another, build on the accumulated details to go even further. Both the men were good at sizing up people, and the film shows how, in one interview after another, they got each interviewee to reveal those details that could fit into the king-size puzzle that they had taken on. Martin Balsam, cast as the managing editor, wanted to give the job to more senior reporters, but as Jack Warden, the metro editor, pointed out, the two young men had a passion for the story that was very special. Jason Robards, the executive editor, was quick to question all their facts, but generally supported them all the way.
Throughout, there are lots of shots of the massiveness of the tall buildings in contrast to the smallness of the men. And, when it came to the secret informer who they called "Deep Throat", those scenes were cast in shadow. The pacing was excellent and the there was tension throughout, which kept me fascinated even though I knew the eventual outcome. This story became an obsession with the two reporters and it seemed as if nothing would stop them. Occasionally, it got a bit repetitive, but that is the nature of good reporting, which can also be called good detective work.
The film brought back the reality of the 1970s, from the hairstyles to the manual typewriters. I found myself thinking about the cell phones and computers we take for granted today, as I watched them pour through phone directories as well as thousands of library take-out slips as they followed up on every clue. The acting, of course, was excellent as well the screenplay, which focused entirely on the news story, rather than becoming maudlin with the personal lives of the men. I give this film a high recommendation. It's definitely worth seeing.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 1999
The beauty of this film is it is a better watch today than it was in the 70's. Remember that this movie was made only a couple of years after the events it chronicled. My favourite moments were those that obviously inspired the X-Files television series, and the wonderful depiction of a 70's newsroom with its scruffy reporters (or at least its attempts to make pretty-boy Robert Redford look scruffy) and incessant clickety-clack of a multitude of typewriters. Those not familiar with the Watergate players (as I was not) may get lost in the names, but fortunately you don't have to understand it all to appreciate what a great film this is. I missed a lot the first time, and I'll probably miss a lot the next time, but it'll be worth watching again and again. It ranks up there with The Russia House as a political thriller, but is even more engrossing because it is true!
The DVD picture and sound was crisp, but any sort of extra would have been nice. Who can figure out Warner Bros? Some of their DVDs are excellent (Contact, L.A. Confidential), but this one is bare-bones. Still, it is priced to own.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2005
Don't bother purchasing the current dvd. See what is coming soon:

Warner Home Video have announced the Region 1 DVD release of All The President's Men (Two-Disc Special Edition for 21st February 2006 priced at $26.99 SRP. The Academy Award winning motion picture about the Watergate burglary investigation that ultimately brought down the administration of Richard Nixon will arrive from Warner in two-disc special edition form in the same week as President's Day.

Newly remastered, the DVD bonus materials include commentary by Robert Redford (a first in his distinguished career), vintage featurettes including a making of the film and an interview with Jason Robards from the Dinah Shore show, as well as a new featurette about "Deep Throat" Mark Felt, whose identity was only recently revealed.

Features include:

Commentary by Robert Redford

Telling the Truth About Lies: The Making of All the President's Men

Out of the Shadows: The Man Who Was Deep Throat

Woodward and Bernstein: Lighting the Fire

Vintage featurette Pressure and the Press: The Making of All the President's Men

Vintage Jason Robards interview excerpt from Dinah!, hosted by Dinah Shore

Alan J. Pakula thrillers trailer gallery
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2012
This great film was given a poor, unforgivable, JUNK Blu-Ray transfer. It has soft focus, bad colors, way too much black, and odd blacks in the wrong scenes. The worst blu-ray picture quality, along with THE GREAT ESCAPE, that I have ever seen (and I viewed it on a new hi-def 55" TV). And, actually, THE GREAT ESCAPE, a 13-years-older film, has a nicer blu-ray picture than this awful ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN blu-ray. The idiots who remastered this for blu-ray must have never done this job before, plus someone had the moronic idea to make every scene darker than ever shown before, thus everyone's faces range from mildly too dark to WAY TOO dark in virtually every scene of the film. WHO IN HELL APPROVED THIS JOB BEFORE THEY RELEASED IT TO THE COMPANY THAT PRESSED ALL THE BLU-RAYS FOR THEM?

Honestly, my two regular commercial DVDs of this film (the 2-disc Special Edition [enhanced for 16x9] AND my previous, non-Special-Edition full-screen-and wide-screen version [flip over the DVD to view the other]) look MUCH better on my 1999 JVC 32" tube TV than this blu-ray disc looks on my Hi-Def TV. MUCH better. In fact, I played the blu-ray disc on that old TV--which has a blu-ray player connected to it, which of course down-converts blu-ray discs for it (and they normally look great on my tube TV, by the way)--but here again, THIS blu-ray ALSO looks WORSE on the old tube TV than does the plain DVD versions on that TV. True.

Some stupidly way-too-dark scenes in the blu-ray:

1) Early in the film, when Woodward talks with attorney "Markum" in their last exchange, while standing together after Markum went to get a drink of water at a water fountain near the courtroom they had just left (Markum was the one Woodward had sat behind at the hearing for the 5 Watergate burglars, the guy who was slightly annoyed with him). While they are now standing and talking near the water fountain, they are in freaking near-darkness! This is INSIDE a lighted room! I assure you this was NOT originally filmed this way "for effect"-- this scene is much brighter in the far-superior Xfinity Streampix version discussed below.

2) All scenes inside Jack Warden's office at the Washington Post, and in fact many other scenes in other locations within the Post's large offices-- the light is at least a bit too dim, the focus is soft (ESPECIALLY the focus for the actors, it is more weak than the focus of the office walls or furnishings), the colors are slightly bland (again, worse for the humans) . . . oy, what crap. All of these interior scenes are MUCH better on the Xfinity Streampix version, being both much brighter and much sharper.

3) Other indoor scenes later in the movie when Woodward and Bernstein are working together, alone, and are physically close to each other; yet it freaking looks like they are working in the dark-- yet they are in rooms with lights on!! Yet again, these scenes are much brighter and better in the Xfinity Streampix version.

Worst blu-ray I've ever gotten, out of 300 bought, and it's too bad, because I love this riveting movie. (I recently bought Redford's 1975 film, "Three Days of the Condor" on blu ray, and it is BEAUTIFUL-- SHARP, GLOSSY, and NEW-LOOKING. Yet, the film is a year older than ATPM!! I should add that even the "Three Days of the Condor" DVD, which I already owned, is FAR better in picture quality on an HD TV than the ATPM blu ray!)

There is simply nothing good to say about this "All The President's Men" blu-ray release except perhaps that it has all of the same extras that the 2-disc Special Edition DVD version has.

UPDATE - May 24, 2014 - Recently, my cable TV provider, Comcast (now, "Xfinity") offered this movie in Hi-Definition for free via their "StreamPix" (it's playing for free through June 30, 2014 where I live). Well, their HD version is really nice, almost "beautiful"-- it is LIGHT YEARS better than this awful blu-ray! I actually compared them, side by side and scene by scene, and for this comparison, I also pulled out my 2-disc Special Edition (enhanced for 16x9 TVs) DVD, plus the very first DVD of this film ever issued (with full-screen and wide-screen versions on flip sides of the disc), also compared vs. the Amazon Instant Video HD version, which I rented, and ALSO, I compared with a blu-ray that a very "techie" friend of mind was able to record for me off of his satellite TV system (he has recorded numerous, BEAUTIFUL HD blu-rays for me off of TV, with zero Hi-Def quality-loss vs. watching those programs "live" on an HDTV oneself. Amazing stuff.)

Among these six options, I have to say that the obvious WORST of the group of six is THIS overpriced blu-ray being reviewed here by us all-- the commercial blu-ray offered by Warner Brothers. The MOST noticable, and stupid, thing, in this commercially-made blu-ray is that in several indoor scenes IN BRIGHT or at least NORMAL LIGHT, the faces of the Redford, Hoffman, and whoever else is in the scene, are DARK! WAY under-lighted. Second, the quality is grainy-- and not in ANY positive sense, as everything is STILL soft-focus. Third, the colors are just not colorful in any way-- BOTH of my earlier DVDs are way more colorful (which still isn't highly colorful), as is the Xfinity StreamPix version (which is BY FAR the best of all versions.)

To rate these versions of ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN when viewed on a HI-DEF TV, in order of best to worst, here goes:

1) Xfinity (Comcast) Streampix - By FAR the best, on ALL counts. Sharpest-focus HD picture, most vibrant colors, and SO MUCH brighter a picture. And no, friends, not "too" bright by any stretch; no, instead it's the ONLY one of the three Hi-Def versions I have that is merely SUFFICIENTLY bright, or normally bright. So that when you see these men in a meeting inside their fluorescent-bulbed office, you can see their faces normally and also see the detail on their faces (and on Jack Warden's bald head!). Again, this version is superior in EVERY WAY to all of the other choices! Even as to sound quality.

2) The WB Special Edition version (2-disc set), with the movie enhanced for 16x9 TVs - This DVD is darned good as to picture-quality, and beats out the blu-ray--YES-- EVEN on HD TV sets as well as on older tube TV sets. It has very nice colors, is sufficiently bright (though not quite as bright as the Xfinity Streampix version, but close in this regard), and is very sharp on an HD TV for merely a DVD!! Only slightly softer focus and slightly less bright than the above Xfinity Streampix version.

That "enhancing for 16x9 TVs" goes VERY far with many DVDs (UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT, THE PAPER CHASE, THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR, BLAME IT ON RIO, GLENGARRY, GLEN ROSS, and SHADE being SIX other personal favorites that are good examples of commercial (studio-issued) DVDs that ALSO look great on an HD TV, looking only a hair less than true High-Definition).

3) The first Warner Brothers studio-issued DVD (in full screen and flip over to wide-screen) - this might be the equal of #2 immediately above, as they sure look similar on my HD TV, but I ranked this version one notch below because it doesn't share the same disc with a full-screen version, and was issued later, so maybe SOMETHING was improved?! (Of course, the blu-ray is the newest of all, and YET is the worst of all, so who can ever tell!)

4) The Amazon Instant Video HD version. This one's picture quality is as sharp as the blu ray (big deal!), maybe a hair sharper, without the deep, deep blacks and without the graininess of the blu ray. But, still not sharp; nor bright enough. Hardly high-def-looking.

5) The blu-ray recorded by my near-genius friend for me from some satellite TV HD pay-per-view movie channel. Again, his blu-rays always looks gorgeous-- but just not THIS movie. The problem with this one is all about the satellite pay-movie network (I don't recall the name, but had never heard of it before) that he recorded it from, not his capabilities. Still, while this has soft focus, muted colors, and is too dark, with too much "black", it's still not as bad as #6, below.

6) Last and Worst: the commercial Warner Home Video blu-ray that we are reviewing here. Yuk! The worst on all counts except that its sound is better than #5, immediately above. They are actually offering this crap BD in a book version, too, which I'm sure is a nice add-on. But, this blu-ray is garbage, as to the movie, for all of the reasons enumerated above. Nearly all scenes are WAY too dark (such that faces are hard to see), colors are weak (they are muted plus there's way too much black), it needs to be A LOT brighter, the focus is SOFT, yet it is STILL the only one of the five that's grainy (and I rarely object to grain in an old movie when the picture is sharp as a result, but this is dull and soft-focus). The extras on the blu-ray, however, are all fine.

Stay away from this crap. The studio should be ashamed of itself for putting out such garbage.

By the way, as an owner of over 300 blu-rays, and many times that number of DVDs, I can say this is the first-ever blu-ray I have bought that was worse than the DVD. Think of that: how many of you own a studio-made DVD of a favorite film and look forward with great eagerness to getting the blu-ray, primarily for an improved, preferably much-improved, HD picture? (Yes, even in an old movie, a fine HD picture is still possible.) And we virtually always get a MUCH-better, nice HD picture when that blu-ray arrives! Well, not this blu-ray; it is worse than the DVD of this movie that you already may own.

I'm sorry to have to have written this. But I love this film, and also spent hours the other day comparing all six versions that I have against one another. This commercial blu-ray is simply the worst.

Can anyone here record a blu-ray of the Xfinity Streampix version????? My (out-of-state) buddy, unfortunately, cannot, since he doesn't have my cable TV company. And I know nobody else who knows how to do this, or has the equipment to do so (apparently, he tells me, what is needed primarily, besides knowledge of how to do it, is a computer with a huge hard drive of several Gb capacity.)

Hopefully, Warner will re-master this great film into at least a mediocre blu-ray. That would be nice . . . And, imagine how nice a truly good or great HD blu-ray would be!!!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 24, 2006
Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman deliver Oscar worthy performances,

while Jason Robards won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in this movie

which is (in my opinion) one of the best "political" films ever made. I'm not even sure if it was nominated for Best Picture, but I have to say...This movie

was better than "Rocky" OK. The movie won four Academy Awards;

The one I mentioned above, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction, and Best Sound. It's also rated PG, which is strange because they use the word f**k at least 8 times in this movie and nowadays, two uses can get you slapped with an R rating. But the movie opens as we witness four men breaking into the Watergate Building, which we all know was the setting for Democratic National Headquarters. The police show up and catch the men in the act of setting up survelliance/bugging the place and the story shows up

Bob Woodward's (Redford) desk. Woodward is a reporter at The Washington Post who reports the story and then begins to see oddities about it. Why would men break into the Democratic National Headquarters? Who sent them? Etc. Eventually joining in the act of helping him is Carl Bernstein (Hoffman) who begin a thorough investigation of the scandal that begins to turrn up names very high up in government and eventually even The President of the United States, Richard Nixon. Bernstein and Woodward worked their a$$es off to get this story, through apparent death threats and when people wouldn't talk to them, and they got it all right. Robards plays their boss, Ben Bradlee and deserved his Oscar. Another performance that was really good, although his face is almost entirely hidden in shadow is Hal Holbrook as the mysterious Deep Throat. Deep Throat was one of Woodward's informants who apparently worked high up in the government and seemed to know everything about the Watergate cover-up. Except he refused to just give up and information, only hints and could never be directly quoted or even referred to. Woodward, to this day has not given up the identity of Deep Throat or even gave the vaguest idea of who he might've been. Anyway, for a movie about reporters trying to unravel a cover-up, this movie was incredibly entertaining and exciting. It's never boring, it's never dull; both Hoffman & Redford play their parts extraordinarily well, which causes us to like the movie even more. And it's strange too, the movie doesn't end with Nixon resigning; but instead ends with Nixon taking his 2nd Oath of Office. We're given the remainder of the details as they're typed up on a Typewriter. I though the ending was abrupt, but perfect.

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 1999
To the outsider, Washington DC may be the jewel of American cities -- our center of truth, justice, and the American way. Of course, we've learned over the decades since this film was made just how little truth comes out of DC, how little justice there is in the US, and that the American way has probably evolved into consumerism, violence and myriad hatreds. This film was made during more innocent times, when a President abusing his power was shocking and immoral, unable to be tolerated. It is about the traditional philosophy and mission of journalism -- to expose the truth and inform the people. The content of the film, when you watch it, is going to contrast sharply with our media today. Redford and Hoffman give strong performances as two somewhat quirkly characters, very human, with the ambition to serve journalism according to the ideals of the time. The controlled intensity of Redford's performance plays well against Hoffman's conniving style, as both team up to investigate one of the biggest stories of modern US history. This is no dramatized film either, although I didn't read the book on which it is based so I cannot say if the story wasn't altered to suit Hollywood. However, the style of the film borders on being a documentary. There are no extraneous scenes, no frivolous characters, and every actor in this film is so professional and talented that you do know that you are witnessing real life rather than watching a fictional, sensational story. The cinematography, mainly taking place in the news office, is creative. Whether or not you agree with the outcome of Nixon's presidency, this film is exciting, with a sort of non-stop build up to an energetic level of suspense. You know the ending, so the film instead relies on showing you the people involved and the effects on all their lives. There aren't any scenes in what we expect to be the true seats of power -- the great halls of politics in DC. Rather the action centers around the newsroom and in the places where people really live, their homes. When I saw this film in the theatre way-back-when, or even watching it now on video, the only problem I have with it is that it ends abruptly. I don't know if that was due to a limited budget or if the producers/directors/writer/actors/somebody felt that the gist of the story had been told. This type of film should not be forgotten -- a responsible film that exposes the underlying dangers of investing power in potentially corrupt or unethical men.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2003
This film could not and would not be made today. It was written for thinking adults, and its quiet introspective style no longer exists in our popular culture, if at all. It is that rare movie that grows better with repeated viewings.
Filmed only four years after the events it documents, All The President's Men accomplishes the impossible by adapting Woodward and Bernstein's book of the same title to a suspenseful, driving screenplay. It came at a time when Watergate wasn't dusty history, and a movie about it seemed audacious because everyone knew the end of the story. I first resisted seeing it, thinking it would be a glossy, shallow flick (neither Redford nor Hoffman were the heavyweights they are today).
After watching it again recently and then reading the book, I was struck by how closely the film follows the text. It manages to elegantly distill the essential moments of a complex chain of events; only departing from the book in a few minor details. First-time viewers today won't know the names (or even the context) but the gist will be clear.
Redford and Hoffman are submerged in the lead roles; you forget it's them. Both have brilliant, seemingly improvised sequences as they wrestle to get information from balking or unwilling sources. But every supporting actor is also superb: Balsam, Holbrook, Warden and Robards are all at peak form. It's hard to remember that you are watching an enactment and not the actual events (the security guard at the Watergate complex who discovered the break-in is played by the real one). The movie was made with the full cooperation of Woodward, Bernstein and the Washington Post, creating a heightened sense of realism.
The Post's newsroom really deserves credit as an extra: the large space was meticulously reconstructed and busily filled with background people doing exactly what they should be doing. Look at those sequences carefully and you'll be astonished at the fidelity to detail. There is a scene that shows how the paper chose its daily headlines, by having a bunch of editors in a room joking and yelling at each other; it's a vérité masterpiece.
What makes All The President's Men truly special are the tight editing and cinematography. It's a detective movie, and every second shows how a journalist builds a story from facts, denials, contradictions, and (sometimes) bluffing. It also shows the consequences of being wrong (Nixon's spokesman, Ron Ziegler, is shown in a famous press conference denouncing the Post). Not a moment is wasted on secondary information; there is nothing about Woodward and Bernstein personally except what can be seen in their actions, although that's plenty. Every cut is visually crisp and directly propels the story. There are many takes that still feel fresh, without benefit of any computerized effects: the title intro, a pull-back shot in the Library of Congress, a juxtaposition of a TV showing current events with the reporters in the background.
After rewatching the movie some years back, Bob Woodward commented about the end scene in the movie, where the reporters confront their editor, Ben Bradlee, with their ultimate realization. Woodward thought Bradlee's movie answer was incorrect, and he checked his notes. Bradlee's actual response was, "What the hell do we do now?"
Watergate was about denial as much as any crime; the guilty wouldn't admit it and no one else would believe it -- until forced to. It violated a faith many people held in government and helped create the corrosive mistrust of politics (and the media) so widely held today. The issues raised in All the President's Men are as current as this morning's paper and as important as anything in it. Journalism is not simply about reporting facts, but the truth as well; our freedom lives and dies with it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Based on a book with the same title co-authored by Bernstein and Woodward and directed by Alan J. Pakula, this film focuses on two unlikely partners employed by the Washington Post whose investigative journalism eventually helped to reveal the nature and extent of President Nixon's involvement with a break-in at the national headquarters of the Democratic Party in 1972. It is indeed a credit to the collective talents of the film's director, cast, and crew that the film retains its dramatic edge throughout, given the fact that the break-in occurred years before. Those who saw the film when it was first released already knew a great deal about the burglars and subsequent efforts to cover up complicity "at the very highest levels of government." When seeing this film again recently, I was impressed by how compelling its narrative remains. Also, I was more aware than I had been before of the subtle humor which enlivens several of the conversations, especially between Bernstein (Hoffman) and Woodward (Redford). When the film begins, Bernstein and Woodward are relatively inexperienced reporters who (literally) stumble upon one of the most important political news stories of the 20th century. Their first challenge is to convince the Post's executive editor Ben Bradlee (Robards) and other senior executives that the story is worth pursuing. Then as their investigation lags, meanwhile enraging the Republican administration, Bernstein and Woodward fear that they will be pulled from the story. They desperately need a break. And then....
All of the performances are rock-solid. Robards was nominated for, received, and deserved an Academy Award for best supporting actor. William Goldman also received an Academy Award for his adaptation of Bernstein and Woodward's book. Of special interest to me, then and now, is the direct access the film permits to the daily operations of a major newspaper. In many respects, journalists such as Bernstein and Woodward share much in common with police detectives as they generate and evaluate leads, pursue those most promising, conduct interviews, assemble evidence, etc. It is exceptionally hard work, often boring and even frustrating. Jane Alexander provides one of the strongest performances as a bookkeeper who enables Bernstein and Woodward to "follow the money," both to those who received it and those who provided it. With regard to Deep Throat, his/her/their identity is known only to Bernstein and Woodward...and perhaps to a few others. For the purposes of the film, Hal Holbrook plays that role (as always) with appropriate style and grace.
In years to come, I think this film will continue to be enjoyed and appreciated less for the entertainment it provides and more for its value as a dramatic commentary on events but also on non-events. Yes, Bernstein and Woodward's efforts eventually led to the arrest, conviction, and imprisonment of several of the President's men...and then to the reluctant resignation of the President himself. But what if the Washington Post and other major news media organizations had lost interest in the Watergate break-in? What if Nixon and his administration continued? Of course, we will never know.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2000
All the Presidents's Men is a truly wonderful film.
Unfortunately, it was also one of the first films to be released on the DVD format. Because the format was experimental, the studios were not willing to spend lavish amounts of money to create a DVD when the format might not even sell to the public (see Sony's Mini-Disc). So in what was a sound business decision, but a horrible decision for fans of the film, All the President's Men was given the bare bones treatment. Why spend the money is nobody is going to buy the machine to play the disc? That means both no special features (which still plagues some new releases) as well as making the quality of the film transfer just plain bad. Is it better than VHS? Yes, but not by much. A couple of the other reviews have mentioned that the picture and sound quality is fine. I'm guessing that these folks either lack the technology to exploit the marvels of DVD, or simply have not viewed enough DVDs to know what is good from bad.
Unfortunately, this is simply bad. The report from Widescreen Review speaks for itself, but I think it important to restate that fact that the positive reviews about the DVD transfer are wrong. All the President's Men doesn't have the action-packed scenes that take full advantage of Dolby Digital sound. But the 2.0 Dolby that is used isn't good. There is too much background noise and there isn't much difference between using your home theatre system vs. the speakers from your television. And compared to the picture quality, the sound is great. As I watched the DVD, I couldn't believe how bad the picture quality is. I know that a 25 year old film isn't going to be as crisp and clear as a film made last summer. But film restoration projects have made films that were shot in the 30's look way better than this DVD does. The film is grainy, the colors are not sharp, and the images aren't always too clear.
Warner Brothers has started to re-release some of its early releases and has given them better handling. Nothing has been anounced about All the President's Men, but one would hope that it too will receive a make-over in the near future. I'd save my money until that happens -- this disc is such a small upgrade from VHS that it isn't worth it.
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