Network (Two-Disc Special Edition)
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Newscaster Howard Beale has a message for those who package reports of cute puppies, movie premieres and fender benders as hard news: "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore." Sidney Lumet directs Paddy Chayefsky's satire (an Academy Award-winning* screenplay) about the things people do for love...and ratings. Three performers won Oscars.* Best Actress Faye Dunaway is the TV exec guarding ratings like a tigress protecting cubs. Best Actor Peter Finch is Beale, whose airwave rants become a phenomenon. And William Holden, Robert Duvall and Best Supporting Actress Beatrice Straight add to the fierce vitality.]]>
Top Customer Reviews
"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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Instead of going on about the film... which others have already done... I will just say that this film reminds me how different movies used to be... Read morePublished 10 hours ago by dd
I have read all these reviews and am surprised that no one knew this is based on a tragic true story: [...]Published 1 day ago by K. Striegel
Lots of great dialogue writing and delivery. Interesting and humorous satire. The romantic plot is a bore and added 30 extra minutes to the movie.Published 9 days ago by BGK
I saw this movie when it was first released and it was right on then. It is even more right on now. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Edwin Petzolt
A classic, and for good reason. If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor. Even if you don't care for it (for whatever bizarre reason that might be) you'll at least be able to... Read morePublished 12 days ago by Christine
This movie has so much value, I think it should be played on TV every day. Will really help people understand what viewing what goes on in the world over a long period of time does... Read morePublished 17 days ago by Hamlet R Bent
"There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Blu-Raid
I used to work in media and there are so many parts of this movie that ring true to my experiences. Very entertaining film.Published 18 days ago by DV
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