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NETWORK (1976)

When news anchor Howard Beale's (Finch) on-air breakdown causes a surge in the ratings of the hapless UBS network, cutthroat execs Robert Duvall and Faye Dunaway waste no time exploiting the spectacle, trashing journalistic standards in the process. Beale's best friend and TV news old-guardsman Max Schumacher (Holden) is also swept up in a satiric storm of escalating absurdities in author Paddy Chayefsky's Oscar-winning opus, which eerily foretold the cultural open sewer television would become. One of the great movies of the 20th century, it gave us the now-iconic phrase "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore." Peter Finch won a posthumous Best Actor Oscar.

The sparkling cast includes: William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Peter Finch, Robert Duvall, Ned Beatty, Beatrice Straight, Wesley Addy, Darryl Hickman, Ken Kercheval, William Prince, and Marlene Warfield.

#66 on the AFI Top 100.  

NETWORK was nominated for the Best Picture award. Peter Finch won the Oscar for Best Actor.

Director Sydney Lumet's "Network" is a wild, visionary comedy about television programming. Lumet received a nomination for best directing.

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Promotional Line: "Television will never be the same!"

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The basic story starts when the UBS TV network, that is suffering from low ratings, decides to gradually turn its news department over to the entertainment division, Communications Corporation of America (CCA). This results in the firing of the news anchor, Howard Beale (Peter Finch). He loses his cool and his mind on the air, becoming a media hero. His Network decides to make financial hay while the sun shines and exploits this crazed TV anchor, by letting him pontificate his ravings and revelations about the media, on his own show, "The Mad Prophet of the Airwaves." Through his wildly popular show, he reveals some truths about the CCA, that creates serious problems for the executives of the CCA.

My favorite scene involves Peter Finch as the crazy newsman, Howard Beale, giving his famous "I'm mad as hell" speech. Finch, who made numerous films, of varying popularity, is best known for this unforgettable scene. In this wonderfully "daffy rant and rave session," he urges his viewers to go to the window and yell this now famous phrase.

The film's screenplay, though a bit wordy, is truly brilliant. Paddy Chayefsky wrote the screenplay, which received an Oscar. Chayefsky's unusual writing credit "by Paddy Chayefsky," as opposed to "screenplay by" or "written by" was an example of Chayefsky's unusual clout, rare in a screenwriter. His screenplay offers a satirical look at the TV media as a frenzy-oriented entity that lives for ratings, as it strives to feed the public's obsession with their art form, often using mass-market sensationalism to make their goals.

Faye Dunaway burns up the screen as Diane Christensen, a driven, amoral TV programmer. A scene where she makes love to William Holden, while ranting about her job, packs much impact.

Ned Beatty does a fantastic job playing, Arthur Jensen, who is a powerful network executive, the owner of UBS.

Peter died right before the Academy Awards ceremony, receiving a posthumous Oscar. Other awards were won by Faye Dunaway and Beatrice Straight. Ned Beatty received a nomination for best supporting actor.

If you enjoyed NETWORK you may like BROADCAST NEWS, SOAPDISH, TOOTSIE, DR. STRANGELOVE, and/or BONNIE AND CLYDE.

network

Famous Quote: "I'm mad as hell, and
I'm not going to take it anymore."