Part of Weekend Classics: Fourth Estate.
United Broadcasting Systems (UBS) veteran news anchorman Howard Beale (Peter Finch) discovers he's being put out to pasture and he's none too happy about it. After threatening to take his own life on live television, he impulsively launches into a compelling and angry televised rant, instantly becoming a lurid and lucrative draw for the UBS network. Fueled by ratings gold, Howard’s desperate stunt allows ambitious producer Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway) to develop even more outrageous programming, a concept that she takes to unsettling extremes. Also starring William Holden and Robert Duvall, and featuring Wesley Addy, Ned Beatty and Beatrice Straight.
NETWORK garnered four Academy Awards (Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay). In 2000, it was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, and in 2005, the two Writers Guilds of America voted Paddy Chayefsky's script one of the 10 greatest screenplays in the history of cinema.
“The movie caused a sensation in 1976. It was nominated for 10 Oscars, won four, and stirred up much debate about the decaying values of television. Seen a quarter-century later, it is like prophecy.” —Roger Ebert, rogerebert.com (Oct 2000) “This tale of a failing network that feeds on the mental breakdown of one of its anchors, cannibalising itself for ratings, feels as savagely relevant now as it did when it was released nearly 40 years ago.” —Wendy Ide, Times (UK) “...Portrays a dark vision of an industry that has largely come to be. The dumbing-down of the news, from informative to entertaining...is prescient of the rise, in the late 20th century and early 21st, of infotainment.” —Greg Ng, Senses of Cinema “Conceived, written, produced and released during the ongoing Watergate crisis...NETWORK was [Paddy] Chayefsky’s meticulously researched, highly articulate attack on the demoralisation and dehumanisation of American life as exemplified by the crude commercialisation of television news.” —Phillip French, Guardian
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