8.1/10
129,591
348 user 163 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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2,072 ( 145)

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Top Rated Movies #194 | 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

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

Black radical Laureen Hobbs' character is loosely modelled after Communist activist Angela Davis. See more »

Goofs

Howard Beale is the lead segment of his eponymous show. No programmer as savvy as Diana would put the show's main draw as the opening segment, knowing that vast swaths of the audience would tune out after his segment, resulting in massive ratings drops after his appearance. 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

References Kojak (1973) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
"What sort of script do you think we can make out of this?"
23 May 2008 | by ackstasisSee all my reviews

Perhaps it was a poor idea, prior to watching the film, to mentally link 'Network (1976)' with Alan J. Pakula's true story of newspaper journalism, 'All the President's Men (1976).' Whereas the latter is an absorbing dissection of the go-getters behind the written media, Lumet's film would probably feel more at home alongside 'Dr. Strangelove (1964),' an intelligent satire that occasionally oversteps the line of credibility, but, because we've gone with it this far, we're quite willing to take those few extra steps. The film is a stern indictment of the unscrupulous executives behind television, and also society's own obsession with mindless entertainment. Diana Christensen and Frank Hackett may very well be miserly, immoral reptiles, but it is ultimately their viewers, us, who drive their crooked dealings. Lumet delicately places the blame on his audience; we are the "ratings" for which the networks hunger so fanatically, and it is the crumbling state of our own culture that fuels absurd endeavours like "The Howard Beale Show" {thirty years on, I think we can all agree that things have only gotten worse}.

A perfect example of the film's style of satire can be found early on, after veteran news anchorman Howard Beale (Peter Finch) learns that he is to be fired in two weeks' time, on account of poor ratings. The following evening, Beale calmly announces to millions of Americans his intentions to commit suicide on the air in a week's time. The show's technicians idly go about their duties, oblivious to what their star has just proclaimed, before one employee tentatively ventures, "uh, did you hear what Howard just said?" The network, in their ongoing quest for high ratings, was so blindly obsessed with perfecting all their technical aspects that the mental-derangement of their leading anchorman went almost completely unnoticed. At first, there is an attempt to yank Beale from the air, but one forward-thinking producer, Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway), proposes that the network could double their current ratings by keeping him in the spotlight.

Peter Finch, who was awarded a posthumous Best Actor Oscar for his performance, is simply explosive as the unhinged anchorman whose volatile outbursts of derangement are celebrated by a society which, in a better world, should be trying to help him. Beale's memorable catch-cry – "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" – symbolises his revulsion towards the crumbling values of today's society, and, as fanatical as he might be, most of his raves are worryingly close to the truth. William Holden is also excellent as Max Schumacher, Beale's long-time colleague, who resents the networks' treatment of his friend, but does little to interfere. Schumacher's adulterous relationship with the seductive but soulless Diana (Dunaway) consciously follows the conventional path of a television soap opera, ending with the realisation that his affair with the ratings-obsessed mistress is sapping him of any real emotion or humanity; in Schumacher's own words, "after living with you for six months, I'm turning into one of your scripts." Television corrupts life.


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