Directed by Sidney Lumet
Produced by Howard Gottfried & Fred C. Caruso
Written by Paddy Chayefsky
Narrated by Lee Richardson
Starring Faye Dunaway
Music by Elliot Lawrence
Cinematography Owen Roizman
Editing by Alan Heim
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer & United Artists
Release date November 27, 1976
Running time 121 minutes
Country United States
Network is a great satirical film that is quite prophetic in that it tells about what could really go on behind the scenes on news TV if certain media moguls *cough Rupert Murdoch cough* get their way. It’s amazing that this film was made in 1976, a couple of decades before the rise of News Crop., Fox News, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, Jerry Springer and reality TV rubbish like Big Brother.
Peter Finch won a posthumous Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of newsreader Howard Beale who suffers an on-air breakdown after being fired but is then manipulated by his media bosses into becoming a ‘mad prophet of doom’. His performance is brilliant and almost steals the film.
“We’ll tell you anything you want to hear, we lie like hell.”
The rest of the cast is great too with great performances by Robert Duvalle, Faye Dunaway (Oscar winner for Best Actress), William Holden and Ned Beatty. Sidney Lumet won an Oscar for Best Director whilst Paddy Chayefsky won an Oscar for Best Screenplay. Beatrice Straight also won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress despite the fact that she was on-screen for less than ten minutes.
“Right now, there is a whole, an entire generation that never knew anything that didn’t come out of this tube. This tube is the gospel, the ultimate revelation; this tube can make or break presidents, popes, prime ministers; this tube is the most awesome goddamn propaganda force in the whole godless world, and woe is us if it ever falls into the hands of the wrong people, and that’s why woe is us that Edward George Ruddy died. Because this company is now in the hands of CCA, the Communications Corporation of America; there’s a new chairman of the board, a man called Frank Hackett, sitting in Mr. Ruddy’s office on the twentieth floor. And when the 12th largest company in the world controls the most awesome goddamn propaganda force in the whole godless world, who knows what shit will be peddled for truth on this network?”
This is a great film that is perhaps more true today than it was back in 1976.
* Only two actors have posthumously won an Oscar, Peter Finch and Heath Ledger. Both won for Best Supporting Actor and both are Australians.
- Ben Cohen: “Network” — A Precursor to Glenn Beck (huffingtonpost.com)
- Glenn Beck Channels Rage of Self-Indulgent Baby Boomers (alternet.org)
- 40 Days of Screenplays, Day 10: “Network” (gointothestory.com)
- Their Best Role: Robert Duvall (cinematical.com)
- A ‘Network’ for film gals (variety.com)
- Women We Love: Faye Dunaway (myitthings.com)
- Terry O’Neill: The East End boy who shot the stars (independent.co.uk)
- How They Write A Script: Paddy Chayefsky (gointothestory.com)
- 8 Crazy On-the-Job Movie Meltdowns (thedailybeast.com)
- New Glenn Beck Website,’The Blaze’ A Shot At Alex Jones? (nowpublic.com)
- Share Your ‘Last Straw’ Stories (cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Op-Ed Contributor: That ’70s Feeling (nytimes.com)