Movie #19 2021: All the Presidents Men (1976)

A movie about the Watergate Scandal that was released only two years after Nixon resigned? I don’t know about you, but that is fascinating to me. Maybe that’s just me being an absolute nerd, but that is amazing in my book.

You read correctly: All the President’s Men is the mostly true story about how a team of writers (led by the duo played by Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman in the film) at The Washington Post went out of their way to uncover the behind-the-scenes treachery that was going on within the reigning Republican Party at that time. We see here exactly the trouble that they went to in order to expose the truth, which even leads them to fear for their own lives at one point.

Firstly, I have to point out an observation that came to me during watching this. Robert Redford really was the Brad Pitt of the seventies, wasn’t he? Look at that hair! If Pitt didn’t base so much of his look – if not his acting style – around Redford’s iconic performance here, then I will eat my hat. The similarities are genuinely ridiculous. Of course this is nothing to do with the film itself, but it feels worth pointing out.

Moving swiftly on, as a huge nerd for American politics between 1945 and 1991, it’s a little bit criminal that I’d never seen this before. It provides such an interesting view of the Watergate Scandal, looking at it from the outside in, and is so useful in understanding the lies and secrecy surrounding that event that it comes as no surprise that it was submitted into the National Film Registry in 2010. Very well written indeed, and something you can appreciate in regards to script-writing even if you’re not all that drawn in by the subject matter.

Supporting the wonderful script are some wonderful actors. Hoffman and Redford are a brilliant duo, both of whom exude charisma out of every pore and provide us with some excellent – if not under-stated – performances. Their talent is what maintains interest when it comes down to it, even to the layman who knows nothing about the events it bears witness to.

At the end of the day, it’s just a lot of white men talking in office buildings… but it’s so fascinating to see it unfold and gain an insight into exactly how they unearthed so much deception. As a voyeur, you almost feel like you’re part of the investigation, and that’s what a good movie does: it makes you feel involved in the action.

I won’t pretend this is an easy watch: there’s a lot of jargon, a lot of information, and you’ll have to give it your undivided attention in order to truly grasp what’s going on. However, I was genuinely so enthralled by this film due to its multi-faceted performances and unparalleled true story.

Everyone interested in US politics should see it. And if you have seen it already, watch it again. It will make you feel hopeful for the future of political reporting in the US media.

All the President’s Men is available to rent on Amazon and the Sky Store for £3.49 in the UK.

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