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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457 ( 2,831)
Top Rated Movies #211 | 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 ... 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
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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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Beatrice Straight is only on-screen for five minutes and two seconds. Hers was the briefest performance ever to win an Oscar. 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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Crazy Credits

Paddy Chayefsky's credit in the opening credits says "by Paddy Chayefsky" (rather than "written by Paddy Chayefsky" or a variant thereof). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Fever (1977) See more »

User Reviews

 
A Prophet known as Paddy Chayefsky
20 January 2008 | by Andrea-Orsini-1See all my reviews

To think that this blackest of black comedies was made in 1976 could only means two things: 1) Nothing has changed or 2) Paddy Chayefsky was seeing the future with the most disturbing clarity. I endorse the later of the two because I believe things have changed since 1974 - I wasn't born yet, but I know because of my parents, the movies, literature, etc, etc, etc. Peter Finch as the mad prophet of the airwaves gives Chayefsky a riveting and powerful voice. The scenes between old chums Finch and William Holden are some of the best written scenes in any American movie until the Coen brothers emerged. Finch is superb, superb! and Holden, at the end of a legendary career, gives a performance of such ferocious sincerity that I rediscovered the man, the actor and felt the need to revisit some of his opus. From Golden Boy to Sunset Boulevard, Holden was a man who carried his own discomfort as a weapon. Extraordinary! However, the most alarming character in the whole thing is Faye Dunaway's. She is magnificent in her thin, nervous, bra-less attitude. She is a monster of commercial amorality. Everything in this incredible movie moves with the precision of an inspired clairvoyant's vision. Duvall's executive, Beatrice Straight's betrayed wife and Ned Beatty's god like big shot makes this one of the most frightening, entertaining, funniest, remarkable film from the 70's. Sidney Lumet proves once more that he's as good as his material. Here he is at his zenith.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 November 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,800,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$23,689,877

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$23,690,757
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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