All the President's Men

All the President's Men Study Guide

All the President's Men is a 1976 American political thriller film that follows Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward as they uncover the crimes committed by the Nixon Administration, in what would come to be known as the Watergate scandal. The movie is based on the non-fiction 1974 book of the same name penned by Bernstein and Woodward. The move has become an American cultural hallmark, and it serves as a reminder of the importance of the freedom of the press in preventing the government from becoming tyrannical. Though the Nixon administration doesn't come off well, All The President's Men is less a movie about politics than a movie about the role of the 1st Amendment in a democracy. A historical film, it not only captures an event, but also the broader spirit of the 1970s.

The film features Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as Woodward and Bernstein and was directed by Alan J. Pakula's as the third installment of his "paranoia trilogy," which includes Klute (1971) and The Parallax View (1974). The script was adapted from the original 1974 source material by William Goldman, and the filmed earned him an Academy Award for best adapted screenplay.

The film details the infamous Watergate Scandal and how it brought down the Nixon Administration. It puts emphasis on the perseverance of Woodward and Bernstein in the face of an unprecedented federal scandal. It is a tale that illustrates the importance of a free press in a democracy against difficult odds. Because of the pro-First Amendment message and its depiction the heroic and important work done by journalists, All The President's Men was deemed as a culturally significant film by the United States Film Registry. It is still viewed and enjoyed to this day.

The critical reception of All the President's Men was nearly unanimous it was a must-see, important movie. Not only was it released two years after the Nixon resignation which piqued the interest of a reeling public, it was considered an excellent film in its own right. It has been called a "victory lap for American journalism" by Entertainment Weekly and upon its release was given a sparkling review from the New York Times, which wrote that "the film, which opened yesterday at Loews Astor Plaza and Tower East Theaters, is an unequivocal smash-hit — the thinking man's Jaws." The film grossed $70.6 million at the box office, making it a financial success to boot.