An anchorman has a nervous breakdown and promptly has his cynical
rantings and ravings exploited by the television network for financial gain.
Directed by Sidney Lumet
Written by Paddy Chayefsky
Starring Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, Robert Duvall, Wesley Addy, Ned Beatty, Beatrice Straight, Marlene Warfield
Oscar Wins - Best Actor (Peter Finch), Best Actress
(Faye Dunaway), Best Supporting Actress (Beatrice Straight),
Best Original Screenplay
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Actor (William Holden), Best Supporting Actor (Ned Beatty), Best Director,
Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing
Satire can mean a lot of different things. Sometimes it's subtle, and other times it can shoot out at you like shrapnel from a twelve gauge. Network is the latter, but the craziest thing about the film's satirical edge is that it's no longer satire. This film predicted the rise of reality television, ratings wars, sensationalism, and the Fox Network, among other things. In its foresight, this movie has no equal. It's a phenomenal watch, peppered with a host of fantastic performances from some of the most talented actors of the 20th century, notably Peter Finch in his last big screen performance before his death.
Welcome to the UBS Network, where the ratings suck and they're fresh out of idea. Then we have Howard Beale (Finch), who announces on live television that he's going to kill himself on air in the coming weeks. Despite a negative reaction from the network, who fire him immediately, the ratings have gone up. VP Diana Christensen (Dunaway) has the bright idea to make Howard's ranting and raving a brand new show. Beale becomes the voice of a generation, who are "mad as hell, and they're not gonna take it anymore." This film shows the manipulation and lack of humanity that goes on behind the closed doors of television networks, and they were so ahead of their time. Actors William Holden, Ned Beatty, Beatrice Straight, and Robert Duvall are not to be outshined. They all deliver incredible performances.
Network was directed by the great Sidney Lumet, who also directed classics like Dog Day Afternoon and 12 Angry Men. Network was one of his best, and that is truly saying something. It's a brilliant insight into the mind of people who worship ratings and are willing to sell their souls to have a winning show.