Release Date: April 4th, 1976 (Washington D.C. premiere)
Directed by: Alan J. Pakula
Written by: William Goldman
Based on: All the President’s Men by Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward
Music by: David Shire
Cast: Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam, Hal Holbrook, Jason Robards, Ned Beatty, Meredith Baxter, Penny Fuller, F. Murray Abraham, David Arkin, Richard Herd, Dominic Chianese, James Karen
Wildwood Enterprises, Warner Bros., 138 Minutes
“I never asked about Watergate. I simply asked what were Hunt’s duties at the White House. They volunteered he was innocent when nobody asked if he was guilty.” – Bob Woodward
I hadn’t seen this in years and I honestly didn’t remember a lot of the details about the film itself. Sure, we all know the story about Nixon and Watergate, especially in the year that this came out in, but knowing the ending doesn’t mean that this is a boring or even predictable movie.
Also, having forgot all the details of the story and this film, I found it interesting and compelling, as events and information painted a damning picture of corruption and conspiracy.
I also found it intriguing that this picture’s cast was stacked with so many top notch actors that I had either forgotten about or hadn’t grown to truly appreciate when I last watched this back in the ’90s.
Back then, I didn’t understand or recognize the greatness of Jack Warden, Hal Holbrook, Martin Balsam, Jason Robards, Ned Beatty, F. Murray Abraham or James Karen. I also really only knew Meredith Baxter from her successful sitcom Family Ties. Well, at least I always knew that Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman were f’n legends.
I also didn’t know that this was directed by the same guy that gave us the near perfect film adaptation of To Kill A Mockingbird, as well as Sophie’s Choice, The Parallax View and Klute.
So it should go without saying that the acting in this film is stupendous. In fact, it might really be a clinic, not that many modern actors care about their art anymore, where they seem to be mostly rewarded by cashing in virtue signal points, as opposed to making audiences believe them.
It’s also well directed except that I felt like the pacing could’ve used some work. Granted, this does a great job of building up suspense like a great thriller should, it just feels like it drags a bit in spots.
Still, this is an enthralling film that does its job well and if that’s the only negative, which is pretty minor, than I can’t really harp on it too hard.
All the President’s Men is deservedly a classic and every legend within this film brought their A-game and made this a much better picture than it would have been in less capable hands.
Pairs well with: other top notch dramatic political thrillers, such as JFK, Marathon Man and Nixon.