Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The 100 Best Movies: #45

45. All the President's Men (1976)

This was quite possibly my mother's favorite film of all-time. She loved the cast (especially Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman and Jason Robards). She loved the subject matter (she was a staunch Democrat who despised Former President Richard M. Nixon). So it is almost a given (at least in my family) that this movie would make it onto the list (and get a pretty high ranking). This movie is a dynamic film filled with political mystery, journalistic intrigue and superb performances. It begins with the infamous break-in at the Watergate building. Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward (Robert Redford in one of his finest performances) then tries to get at the root of the crime and researches his story. He is met with witnesses who will not go on record and with scoff from his editors, but his determination impresses editor-in-chief Ben Bradley (Jason Robards in an amazing Oscar-winning performance). Fellow reporter Carl Bernstein (the always great Dustin Hoffman) starts to aide him on the story and helps him find more witnesses (including a poignant cameo from Jane Alexander as a bookkeeper). All of their investigation culminates with finding one secretive, high-up informant nicknamed "Deep Throat" (portrayed by the brilliant character actor Hal Holbrook) and breaking the story that brought down an entire Presidential administration. It is a chilling fact-based drama directed by Alan J. Pakula (Klute, Sophie's Choice) that these days would be relegated to the realm of the television movie. But this film was remarkable with a stunning cast and an intelligent screenplay by William Goldman (Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, The Princess Bride) based on the book by the real Woodward and Bernstein. Every time I view this movie, I understand why my mother (as well as my father and grandmother) loved it so!

Next Post: #44

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