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474 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Media madness reigns supreme in screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky's scathing satire about the uses and abuses of network television. But while Chayefsky's and director Sidney Lumet's take on television may seem quaint in the age of "reality TV" and Jerry Sprin

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, Robert Duvall, Wesley Addy
  • Directors: Sidney Lumet
  • Writers: Paddy Chayefsky
  • Producers: Fred C. Caruso, Howard Gottfried
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: May 16, 2000
  • Run Time: 121 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (474 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004RF9I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,646 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Network" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

235 of 250 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on December 26, 2004
Format: DVD
Paddy Chayefsky's 1976 blockbuster hit "Network" is, I truly believe, the best film satire ever made. It might well be the best film regardless of genre ever made in the United States, better than "Citizen Kane," better than "The Godfather," better than any of the other numerous contenders. The first time I saw "Network" was on television about ten years ago, a supreme irony that became more and more amusing as the film progressed, and the powerhouse dialogue, performances, and set pieces captured my imagination unlike any other film. I have since watched this film so many times that at one point I could quote large chunks of dialogue verbatim with the greatest of ease. Over the past several years, however, I haven't seen Chayefsky's masterpiece as often as I would like. When I decided I would finally tackle the daunting prospect of writing a review for this movie, I rented the DVD version and resubmerged myself into the dark world of Howard Beale, Max Schumacher, Diana Christensen, and Frank Hackett. And I rediscovered something I always realize every time I watch this magnificent piece of cinema: "Network" is as great a movie as it was the first time I saw it, and it's prescience to our modern world continues to astonish.

"Network" takes the viewer inside of a major television network, UBS, during the 1970s. Their prime time newscaster, Howard Beale (Peter Finch), has just received word from his boss Max Schumacher (William Holden) that the network is terminating his contract due to low ratings. Perturbed about leaving his position, and with nothing else in life to live for, Beale breaks down on television and promises his audience that he will kill himself on live television the following evening.
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56 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Dawoud Kringle on May 13, 2005
Format: DVD
Mr. Chayevsky has made, easily, one of the greatest contributions to the art of cinema; one that transcends mere entertainment and holds court within the realm of the social, psychological, and political.
My fellow reviewers have been eloquent in pointing out the details, merits, and slight flaws within this movie.

With the exception of the brutal murder on the air, every single outrageous idea that the film is now, 30+ years later, part and parcel of standard TV programming. The most banal mediocrities, the most mindless sensationalism, the most blatant lies, are all so common on modern TV that it not only goes unnoticed, but is accepted as being good programming. Even people who know they're looking at mind destroying garbage continue to watch it!! All fo this was warned about in the movie; all of it has come to pass.

And still, we watch. We have no idea how the economy is controlled or who is making the decisions that will affect the lives of entire nations. We don't have a clue exactly why wars are fought, or even exactly what wars are being fought. We are blind to science, art, philosophy, and religion. we hardly bat an eye when we hear about industrial pollution on a biblical proportion, atrocities and genocide, or natural disasters wherein thousands of people die. But we know how things are going between Brad and Anjelina, who won last night's game, what soap star had sex with who, went into rehab, and what some loudmouth idiot with a talk show said that shocked and amused all of America the other day.

This is what we have become; and Network warned us, every step of the way.

But what I am impressed with is how the film exposes the horrifying economic and social realities of our time.
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81 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Jeffery Cotton on December 13, 2004
Format: DVD
I watched Network again last night, for the first time since the film first came out. I remembered that it was a good movie with a lot of good acting, but given that the things this film predicted about television have all come true - and been surpassed in spades - I was expecting that its indignation over the commercialization of television news would seem quaint and certainly dated.

Good heavens, was I wrong. This movie hasn't lost its edge a bit in 30 years. William Holden as Max Schumacher is the only real human being, and he wanders through this film looking slack-jawed, as if he'd landed in Toon Town and can't quite believe his eyes. As it turns out, he has: the cartoonish, conniving antics of Robert Duvall and Faye Dunaway leave all of us laughing guiltily.

The screenplay emphasizes the comic-strip nature of these characters by giving them dialog that no real human being could ever utter with a straight face. The one sex scene between Dunaway and Holden is one of the most horrifyingly hilarious moments I can remember from any film. Add Ned Beatty - who doesn't say much through most of the film, and then erupts like Lucky in "Waiting for Godot" with a single, five-minute monologue that will peel the paint off your walls - and this is one of the darkest, funniest films of the last 50 years.

They should re-release this film in theaters. Especially now.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By foghorn on January 18, 2005
Format: DVD
Perhaps this is more of an editorial comment than a review. I wonder if those viewers under 30 who watch Network will grasp the delicious irony of this film. A generation that has grown up on "Survivor", "Fear factor" and "American Idol" may not see anything unusual about "Sybil the Sooth-Sayer" as "news". (In fact, those of us who have watched the unfortunate evolution of "news programming" over the past 15 years might not see anything unusual about it either).

And that is why this movie is so depressing. If television, and news programming in particular, ever had any integrity, and had that integrity not slipped away, we could watch Network today and say "what a fabulous movie - what a dark comedy". But alas, we can now only say the former, because this movie has proven to be more than prophetic.

For an actual plot synopsis, read any of the other (many excellent) reviews here. The acting is superb as is the direction. Yes, we have some "wordy speeches" in the dialogue, but for some reason people seem more "touchy" about that with Network than other movies, and I'm not sure why.

William Holden is a fabulous actor, and this may be, from a "realism" perspective, his best. His haggard and worn out features only magnify his unique(in this case) "human-ness" - his is the only character that television does not somehow destroy (besides his wife). Ned Beatty, Robert Duvall and Fay Dunaway, Peter Finch and Beatrice Straight all give stellar performances as well.

Maybe the saddest thing of all is that the most infamous line from the movie, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore", did not turn out to be prophetic. And because of that, television has sunk to a low that perhaps even Chayefsky and Lumet could not have imagined.
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Topic From this Discussion
Network (1976) on blu-ray anytime soon?
Yep, pre-order it now!
Oct 29, 2010 by TheNilvarg |  See all 2 posts
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