All the President's Men (1976)
Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Warden
To call All the President’s Men a movie about the Watergate scandal would be to miss its point entirely. Because while the downfall of a president is certainly part of the film’s resolution, the 137 minutes preceding that are about the nitty-gritty of the newspaper business. And viewers have Ben Bradlee, executive editor of The Washington Post (played by Jason Robards in the film) during the time of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s investigation into Richard Nixon’s clandestine dealings, to thank for that as much as they do star/producer Robert Redford.
Concerned about the light in which the film might paint his profession and the reporters and editors who inhabit it, Bradlee realized that the mere act of cooperation could help shape the film’s direction. “We’re all in the position that we didn’t have any choice about this movie—it would be made regardless—and I could see that,” Bradlee stated in a 1975 interview with his own paper. “Lacking that choice, it seemed to make more sense to try to influence it factually than to just stick our heads in the sand.” As a result, the filmmakers made sure every detail—from the mounds of research, articles and documents collected by Woodward and Bernstein to the desks their big-screen counterparts sat at—were perfectly replicated. The result is a painstakingly accurate recounting of two reporters’ bumpy path to uncovering an ugly truth.