The unveiling of Deep Throat as a government whistleblower upset about losing out on a promotion takes a lot of wind out of the sails of All the President’s Men nearly forty years after the fact. The history of Watergate, Deep Throat and the taking down of the Nixon presidency has inspired many people to become journalists over the years has made Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward icons in the field of journalism. “All the President’s Men” chronicled the tale of Woodward & Bernstein’s takedown of the Nixon presidency in one of the best films of the 1970s.
The film follows the book, following Woodward (Robert Redford) and Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) through their investigation of the Watergate scandal. Through the twists and turns, we follow the two as they weave their way from what appears to be an insignificant story about burglary into a scandal involving the highest office in the land.
There are two things the film does well that have made it still a classic: its devotion to detail and its cast.
Made in relatively the same time period the film happened, this was a film going for facts as opposed to dramatization. It’s what separates this film from a modern counterpart, like Fair Game, in that there’s a genuine attempt to film the truth as opposed to scoring political points by changing things up for “dramatic effect.” The film, which painstakingly replicated the Washington Post office down to details no one would’ve noticed en masse, takes the oral history of Woodward & Bernstein’s deep investigation and brings it to life. This isn’t a film of “Gotcha” type moments and cheap talking points that populate many modern films with newsrooms; this is a film devoted to a now dying art form of investigative journalism.
The film also has two actors that were in their career peak form. Hoffman and Redford were both right in the middle of their best years as actors and were perfectly cast for both roles. They also have terrific chemistry together, as well, which helps make the film. These were two mismatched partners on personality that worked so well together that they changed the course of American history. Watergate was a career-maker for both men and we get that sense from both Redford and Hoffman; they’re both longtime journalists of note on to something that would change their lives forever. Both journalists have had distinguished careers afterward but this case will forever link them. Hoffman and Redford feel like long time journalists; this isn’t a case of an actor just playing reporter.
Both men prepped and react like reporters from that era would. It’s not in the dialogue; it’s in how what they do is instinctual. The non verbal on both actors is fascinating because it’s not trained movements that were rehearsed right before the scene. There’s an authenticity to how they move, how they question people and even in things like how they take notes that can’t be faked.
When all is said and done 1976 might’ve been the most loaded year for Academy Award voters to vote. All the President’s Men sometimes gets forgotten in the discussions of Taxi Driver, Network and Rocky over the years. When all is said and done it might’ve been the best of the four, as well.
A new, fairly in-depth documentary about the film is included which gives you an amazing insight into the film and the time period, as well as the novel, from all the significant parties. Plus a handful of documentaries from the original Blu-ray release are included here, too.
Warner Bros. presents All the President’s Men . Directed by Alan Pakula. Written by William Goldman based off the novel “All the President’s Men” by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. Starring Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Warden. Running time: 138 minutes. Rated PG. Released: November 12, 2013.