BP Quick Hitter: All the President’s Men (1976)


Just get the byline right. The rest is automatic.

Director: Alan J. Pakula

Writers: William Goldman (and Bernstein and Woodward, naturally)

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jason Robards

Didn’t so much create the concept of investigative journalism but canonize it. Still, nice to revisit a time when reporters were considered to be heroes, as opposed to craven opportunists or self-promoting prospective franchises. What struck me while watching this film again, however, is how much has changed. Woodward and Bernstein operated the old-fashioned way, with phone calls and shoe leather, largely because they were more sophisticated–and more committed–in their methods than those they were pursuing. This was a time when you could call government officials and politicos on the phone and they’d talk to you, not hide behind spokesmen and talking points and counter-information. Watergate, in part, gave rise to the modern public relations state, where every action is focus-grouped, field tested and downscaled for easy consumption.

With the current popularity of Frost/Nixon, is it finally a time for NixonMania? The historical reassessment he always craved?


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