8.1/10
126,063
342 user 158 critic

Network (1976)

A television network cynically exploits a deranged former anchor's ravings and revelations about the news media for its own profit.

Director:

Sidney Lumet

Writer:

Paddy Chayefsky
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Popularity
2,610 ( 233)

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Top Rated Movies #190 | Won 4 Oscars. Another 16 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Faye Dunaway ... Diana Christensen
William Holden ... Max Schumacher
Peter Finch ... Howard Beale
Robert Duvall ... Frank Hackett
Wesley Addy ... Nelson Chaney
Ned Beatty ... Arthur Jensen
Arthur Burghardt ... Great Ahmed Kahn
Bill Burrows Bill Burrows ... TV Director
John Carpenter John Carpenter ... George Bosch
Jordan Charney ... Harry Hunter
Kathy Cronkite Kathy Cronkite ... Mary Ann Gifford
Ed Crowley Ed Crowley ... Joe Donnelly
Jerome Dempsey ... Walter C. Amundsen
Conchata Ferrell ... Barbara Schlesinger
Gene Gross Gene Gross ... Milton K. Steinman
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Storyline

In the 1970s, terrorist violence is the stuff of networks' nightly news programming and the corporate structure of the UBS Television Network is changing. Meanwhile, Howard Beale, the aging UBS news anchor, has lost his once strong ratings share and so the network fires him. Beale reacts in an unexpected way. We then see how this affects the fortunes of Beale, his coworkers (Max Schumacher and Diana Christensen), and the network. Written by Bruce Janson <bruce@cs.su.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Prepare yourself for a perfectly outrageous motion picture! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 November 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Network See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the film, Max and Diana refer to their affair as "a many-splendored thing", an inside joke, since William Holden had starred in Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955). See more »

Goofs

Early in the film, after Howard Beale says that he's going to kill himself on-air, he's on the phone with Schumacher (Holden) angling to get his job back, and he mentions that he "has 11 years with this network." Later, following his on-air rant that "he ran out of BS," he's confronted by the press in the lobby of UBS where he says, "Every day, five days a week for 15 years, I've been sitting behind that desk..." See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: This story is about Howard Beale, who was the news anchorman on UBS TV. In his time, Howard Beale had been a mandarin of television, the grand old man of news, with a HUT rating of 16 and a 28 audience share. In 1969, however, his fortunes began to decline. He fell to a 22 share. The following year, his wife died, and he was left a childless widower with an 8 rating and a 12 share. He became morose and isolated, began to drink heavily, and on September 22, 1975, he was fired, ...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Better Call Saul: Uno (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!" - Howard Beale
25 August 2005 | by MichaelMargetisSee all my reviews

#1 Best Film of 1976

'Network' is Paddy Chafesky's riveting and grim tale of the sleaze surrounding the American television industry. Winner of the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, 'Network' is without a doubt one of the most powerful, influential and meaningful films ever made. One of the reasons 'Network' was so well received by both film critics and movie-going audiences was because it possessed a certain quality that most films unfortunately lack -- intricate and involving characters in realistic situations. 'Network' definitely makes my list of the top 10 films of the 70s, and it's an absolute shame it didn't pick up the well-deserved 'Best Picture' Oscar at the Academy Awards ceremony in 1976.

The film follows a low-rated television network trying to keep it's head above water. The network, UBS, has decided to fire an aging veteran news anchor, Howard Beale (Peter Finch), in an act of desperation to boost ratings. Beale is given a two-week notice, and instead of going out with his tale between his legs, Beale announces on live television he was fired and is going to kill himself. This raises panic and chaos at UBS, until they get the memo that Beale's crazed rant just bumped the ratings significantly. The UBS execs, Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway) and Frank Hackett (Robert Duvall) decide to give Beale his own show where he complains and screams bout the problems with the world, while Beale's best friend (William Holden) feels it's inappropriate for the network to take advantage of a mentally-ill man. Besides exploiting a mentally unstable man, the company execs also work out a weekly program with a anti-establishment African-American communist, Laureen Hobbs (Marlene Warfield) following political terrorists and their violent outbursts.The film also stars Beatrice Straight as Schumacher's boring wife, Conchetta Ferrell was an assistant working for the network and Ned Beatty who plays the sinister boss of the UBS television network who always gets what he wants.

'Network' boasts one of the finest and most intricate screenplays ever written that rightfully earned Paddy Chafesky the Oscar for Best Screenplay. Sidney Lumet's directing is absolutely incendiary and the movie has an incredibly strong cast. Faye Dunaway gives what is perhaps her very best screen performance as the cutthroat Network executive, while Robert Duvall is just as brilliant as the ruthless Frank Hackett (which should have earned him an Oscar nomination, period!) Beatrice Straight is solid in her role (not quite Oscar-worthy if you ask me, though) and Marlene Warfield is just as great as the sassy pinko sistah (excuse me for that phrasing). The two performers who really steal the show however are William Holden and Peter Finch. Both nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role at the Academy Awards in 1977, Peter Finch gives a startling and powerful performance as the 'mad-as-hell' (not to mention crazy-as-hell) Howard Beale, while William Holden gives a subtle but none-the-less outstanding performance as the conflicted Max Schumacher. It's hard to say who was better, but if I absolutely had to decide I'd choose Holden's non-Oscar-winning performance slightly over Finch's sympathy Oscar-winning performance (he still was extraordinary,m though). I honestly believe if Finch hadn't died just after the film, Holden would have taken home the Oscar gold for Best Leading Actor, both were still magnificent though. The only player in the cast that I felt wasn't that great was Ned Beatty. In a role far-deserving from an Oscar nomination (which he for some odd reason received), Beatty plays the angry little man role he always does. Besides Beatty's performance and marginal pacing problems towards the middle (you are gonna get that in any 70s film that isn't a Kubrick film), the movie is utterly perfect.

I can't recommend you seeing 'Network' highly enough. If you want a carefully made motion picture that makes you think and reflect on how cutthroat our society has become (especially TV broadcasting), 'Network' is a absolute must. What are you waiting for, go out and rent 'Network'! It might just alter your perspective on things. Grade: A-

MADE MY TOP 300 LIST AT #46


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