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Network (1976)

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


Sidney Lumet


Paddy Chayefsky
1,011 ( 236)

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Top Rated Movies #195 | Won 4 Oscars. Another 16 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »


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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 ... TV Director
John Carpenter ... George Bosch
Jordan Charney ... Harry Hunter
Kathy Cronkite ... Mary Ann Gifford
Ed Crowley ... Joe Donnelly
Jerome Dempsey ... Walter C. Amundsen
Conchata Ferrell ... Barbara Schlesinger
Gene Gross Gene Gross ... Milton K. Steinman


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


Television will never be the same! See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

27 November 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Network See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Peter Finch's final feature film. His final screen appearance was in Raid on Entebbe (1976). See more »


The obituary for UBS Chairman of the Board Edward George Ruddy is shown with the character's information superimposed over the title area, with real January, 1975 obituaries for Revlon founder Charles Revson and screenwriter Sidney Buchman listed below. Additionally, the movie is set during fall 1975, months after Ruddy's death. See more »


[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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Referenced in Mike & Mike: Episode dated 24 December 2014 (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

Eerily prescient classic
9 February 2018 | by bankofmarquisSee all my reviews


One of the most famous lines in film history is as impactful today as it was when it was first uttered by fictitious news anchor Howard Beale in Paddy Chayefsky's (seemingly) parody of where TV and TV news is heading, 1976's NETWORK.

The astonishing thing about this terrific motion picture is how prescient it is. News is now entertainment. Appeal to the disaffected masses. Drive our message to the viewers. Be provocative. The 6:00 news had "less than 1 minute of hard news, the rest was sex, scandal, brutal crime sports, children with incurable diseases and lost puppies."

Sound familiar? This isn't from today, it came from this movie that was made 42 years ago as a cautionary tale of what might happen.

Besides the social ramifications, how does this film hold up? Quite well, indeed. A rare 10 star BankofMarquis film. Starting with the great Paddy Chayefsky's Oscar winning Screenplay. This was the capper on a brilliant career from Chayefsky - who also won Oscar's for his screenplay for 1972's THE HOSPITAL (I'll have to check that one out) and 1956's MARTY.

What does a terrific screenplay do? It attracts top-level talent clamoring to be in this - and they all deliver. Start with Faye Dunaway who won the Lead Actress Oscar for her role as Entertainment Head Diane Christensen - a driven, work hard, play hard individual who has the idea to make news "entertainment". Lost in the fog of time (and MOMMIE DEAREST) is the fact that in the mid-1970's, Dunaway was, perhaps, the greatest leading actress of the day and her skills are in sharp display in this film.

Joining Dunaway in terrific supporting turns are Robert Duvall, following his turns as Tom Hagen in GODFATHER I and II, as network head, Frank Hackett, Ned Beatty as Ned Jennings, President of the company that owns the network - he has a speech towards the tail end of this film that is as good - both in performance and in the way that it is shot - as anything put upon the screen - it was masterful. Speaking of masterful, Beatrice Straight won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in one of the shortest performances to ever win. She is in this film for about 6 minutes in total - but she won her Oscar for a 5 minute scene that is, most definately Oscar-worthy.

And then there are the leading men. William Holden gives one of the last great performances of his extraordinary career as the "voice of reason in this film". He is our everyman caught up in the bizarre, absurd circumstances that evolve around him. It is his effort to try to make sense of this insanity that jumps off the screen. Holden was, deservedly, nominated for a Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar, but lost (rightfully so) to Peter Finch's turn as crazed newsman turned prophet, Howard Beale. His maniacal (but not over the top) turn is one for the ages. If you do nothing else, see this film for his performance (but there is so, so much more to love here). Unfortunately, Finch passed away from a heart attack in between his Oscar nomination and win, and was the first posthumous winner in an acting role (sadly, Heath Ledger would join this "club" years later).

Finally, enough cannot be said about Sidney Lumet's direction. A movie like this would not succeed without a sure, steady and seasoned hand at the helm - and this is how I would describe Lumet's direction. He lets the camera roll and lets the actors and the screenplay take center stage, not drawing attention away, but adding to the themes of the film throughout - especially in Beatty's speech at the end.

NETWORK was nominated for (but did not win) the Oscar for Best Film of 1976. Did it lose out to other nominees ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN or TAXI DRIVER? Nope, it lost to ROCKY.

Let that sink in.

If you get a chance to watch (or rewatch) this film, I highly recommend you do so. For me, it was GREAT to watch this on the big screen with an audience, one of the reasons I love - and will continue to attend - the SECRET CINEMA series of films.

Letter Grade: A+

10 (out of 10) stars and you can take that to the Bank(OfMarquis)

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